Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Political Digest for February 21, 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.

Book Recommendation: Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson
A wonderful book you should add to your reading pile. Ferguson is a Scots historian now at Harvard. This is a terrifically researched exploration of why a few petty squabbling states in Europe, against all odds, came to dominate the world. The author has a great ability to pull the illuminating fact or pertinent quote from the morass of history. He also explores why South America, which was by far the richer set of colonies, is now far poorer than North America. (Hint: widespread property ownership and property rights.) Fergusson says Western Civilization had six “killer apps” that led them to dominate the world: competition, science, property rights, medicine, the consumer society and the work ethic. He makes a solid case that these six factors not only led to western dominance, but the high standard of living in western society, pursued today by the rest of the world.

Some of the bits were worth the price of the book. Martin Luther’s defense of publishing the Koran in order that Christians could see “how entirely cursed, abominable and desperate a book it is.” John Locke’s attempt to ban lawyers in Carolina. The author proclaiming the US Constitution “the most impressive piece of political institution building in all of history.” His note that Tocqueville identified the essential difference between the American and French revolutions, a preference for liberty in ours and equality in theirs (a warning to us today). His insight that the threat to the west comes not from radical Islam, “but from our own lack of understanding of, and faith in, our own cultural heritage.” He points out that Asians now work far more hours than Americans, and we more than Europeans.

That the Chinese Communists party had a report “specifying three requirements for sustainable economic growth: property rights as a foundation, the law as a safeguard and morality as a support” is telling. And Ferguson’s comment that, “mass immigration is not necessarily the solvent of a civilization, if the migrants embrace, and are encouraged to embrace, the values of the civilization to which they are moving” should inform our immigration debate.

And this: “”It is important to remember that most cases of civilizational collapse are associated with fiscal crisis as well as wars. All of the examples discussed above were preceded by sharp imbalances between revenues and expenditures, as well as by difficulties with financing public debt.” Are you listening, Washington? (No, alas.)

Ferguson asks if we can maintain western civilization and western dominance. That’s an open question. I read the hard copy, but my wife listened to it on disk in the car. Ferguson reads the book himself, but adds in wonderful accents on the quotes. Do yourself a favor and read this book.

Collapse request
Please send me a pdf of your book The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. I live in South Africa and see something similar happening in the US, the UK and Europe in the not so far future. Thanks and regards –Chris.

Voodoo Environomics
Excerpt: At the very heart of Voodoo Environomics is, of course, the much-hyped theory linking man-made CO2 and climate change. Without the world’s policy focus on CO2 emissions, climate change alarmists would be robbed of the ammunition they need to change and control human behavior via draconian energy policies. They’d also be robbed of the substantial financial support needed to continue their biased research.

Worth Reading: How Taxing the Rich Harms the Middle Class
Excerpt: In a recent paper that I co-authored with Kevin Hassett, we explored the effect of high corporate taxes on worker wages. The motivation for the paper came from the international tax literature (summarized by Roger Gordon and Jim Hines in a 2002 paper1) that suggested that mobile capital flows from high tax to low tax jurisdictions. In other words, in any set of competing countries, investment flows are determined by relative rates of taxation. The current U.S. headline rate of corporate tax is 35 percent. The combined federal and state statutory rate of 39 percent is second only to Japan in the OECD.

Poll: Small-business owners fear economic situation
Excerpt: Most small businesses that aren’t hiring say they don’t want to bring on new employees at this time because of concerns about the economy, as well as fears about the cost of health care, according to a new poll Wednesday. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said revenues/sales wouldn’t justify hiring additional workers, while 66 percent expressed worries about the overall economic situation, Gallup found.

ObamaCare Tax Will Hurt Patients And Destroy Jobs
Excerpt: Richard Foster, Medicare's chief actuary, estimates that the tax, along with fees on prescription drugs and insurance plans, will push national health care costs higher by $18.2 billion in 2018 and $17.8 billion in 2019. The increased costs will force some patients to forgo medical devices and lose the benefits of instruments that save lives and improve health.

The Folly of Supporting the Syrian Rebels
Excerpt: Well meaning but flawed resolutions like Rubio’s fail to take into account many important issues, including the extreme disorganization of the opposition — both political and military — as well as the almost total lack of respect for Syrian exiles. Here are some of the major obstacles to making US aid to the opposition serve American interests, and not the interests of the Islamists and our enemies:

Obama’s Open-Borders Triumph
Excerpt: Mitt Romney was ridiculed recently for proposing “self-deportation” as a way to reduce illegal immigration, but at least he was trying to address the problem. The same cannot be said for the Obama administration, which has seen a Bush-era trend toward declining illegal immigration come to an abrupt halt on its watch.

The People of Blood and Jihad
Excerpt: Our people is the people of blood and our school is the school of Jihad.” Despite the graphic proof of Khomeini’s words in the carnage of 9/11, many in the media, politics, and foreign policy establishment still refuse to comprehend the enemy we are facing. Even as Islamists have come to power in the countries hastily celebrated last year as cradles of democracy, “Arab Spring” fever continues to addle the thinking of many.

Obama’s Enviro-Fat Cat Welfare Program
Excerpt: Last week Al Gore called capitalism “unsustainable.” It was a silly pronouncement, but considering the way that the Obama administration is manipulating the economy to benefit its “green energy” buddies, the ex-vice president may have stumbled across a greater truth: Obama’s crony-capitalism is clearly unsustainable. In a blockbuster story published last week, Washington Post reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens outlined more of the details of the incestuous relationship that the administration and green energy companies share.

Cleric’s Call for Shariah Law and Islamic Destruction of Hindu Idols
Muslims are PC, must be protected. Hindus are not PC, thus expendable. Get over it. ~Bob. Excerpt: Implementing Sharia law, Islamizing India, destroying idols of Hindu deities, Fatwa against Indian political parties, and axing Bollywood: the agenda on shariah4hind.com is clear. The website calls for the implementation of these aspects on a gathering scheduled on 3 March, 2012.

Muslims stone Christians on Temple Mount
Didn't get the "Islam is a religion of peace" memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: A mob of some 50 Palestinian Muslims stoned a group of Christian tourists atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Sunday morning. Three of the Israeli police officers who acted to protect the Christian group were wounded by the stone-throwers. Police arrested 11 Palestinians, several of them minors, for their role in the attack.

Pakistani politician: "The world over women are considered equals in every sense. Unfortunately and sadly in Pakistan they continue to be treated worse than animals"
Excerpt: If any Muslim spokesman in the U.S. takes any notice of this at all, it will only be to ascribe it to "culture" and insist that it has nothing to do with Islam. But Pakistan is am Islamic Republic, and Islamic law, as those spokesmen well know, covers every aspect of life down to the minutest detail. If the abuses that Hussain notes really have no Islamic derivation or justification, why haven't Muslim groups been fighting to stamp them out?

Bomb blast kills nine in Khyber Agency
Attacking a "Peace Camp"? Guess they didn't get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: At least nine persons were killed and several others injured when a bomb exploded in a camp here in Landikotal on Sunday. According to details, armed men of banned outfit Lashkar-e-Islam had attacked and occupied the camp of Zakhakhel national organization, a peace supporters group of tribesmen, located in Shankhel Narai Baba area of Landikotal, Khyber Agency.

Excerpt: Less than three months after Saudi Arabia said it would permit women to participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games, it has reportedly reneged on their agreement, barring women from entering the Games. The move will also threaten the country’s overall participation in the Olympics, with the International Olympic Committee saying that all countries must field female athletes as part of their teams.

The Week That Was: 2012-02-18 (February 18, 2012)
Excerpt: Anti-nuclear groups are suing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to stop withholding what is called critical information concerning the $8.3 Billion loan guarantee for the nuclear plant with 2 third generation AP 1000 reactors that the NRC approved last week. Contrary to statements in the article linked below, the reported costs of the facility at $14 Billion are far greater than the loan guarantee. However, since taxpayers eventually must bear the burden of a default, there should be transparency as to the conditions of the loan. This principle should not only apply to the nuclear industry, but also to other subsidized industries. (TWTW devotes a lot of space in its introduction this week to coverage of the Fake and Stolen Heartland Documents that have been touted in the MSM as “proof that deniers have been bought.” Even if every word of the falsified papers was true, the amount divided among the three scientists comes to about $67,000 per year, each. That might be enough to keep someone working at something they already agreed with and might have done on their own for free, but it isn’t enough to change anyone’s mind or bribe them to the dark side. And, why shouldn’t they be paid? Do YOU work for free? And, how come there’s no mention of all that supposed “oil money,” just a paltry $200,000 annual grant from the Koch brother’s foundation? Surely, with all their money, the Koch’s could’ve bought better scientists and paid them more! Then, compare that $200K to the hundreds of millions in research grants that have so far failed to prove a causal relationship between CO2 and climate, or the literally billions of dollars in grants and loan guarantees that’ve been made to industry to produce products that are uneconomical and generally unwanted because most work poorly, if at all. Ron P.)

California Rules
Excerpt: California, long a leader on clean air and other environmental issues, is doing good things again. The state’s powerful Air Resources Board has issued new rules that, when finally approved, will lead to many fewer smog-causing pollutants, fewer greenhouse gases and, in time, encourage the auto industry to build millions more emissions-free cars and trucks, including a new generation of all-electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles. (Any time the NYT gushes, quickly look over your shoulder to be sure the new victim isn’t you. The “two new rules” NYT is gushing about both rely on technologies that are neither proven nor economical. Since the EPA tends to follow where California leads, a little caution might be in order before we are all ordered to stop exhaling that yucky CO2. Ron P.)

Excerpt: Viet Khang, a songwriter currently detained by the public security police without charges, has quickly become the symbol and voice of conscience of the post-war generation of Vietnamese. His arrest has prompted a movement among Vietnamese artists and intellectuals in Vietnam and overseas calling for his immediate and unconditional release. (Once again, we see that the Hanoi bunch of communist-gangsters will tolerate no dissent, no criticism, no freedom of expression. They are leeches on the body of the people, sucking out blood and returning nothing but damage. –Del I still feel bad about the million Communists we killed in Vietnam—I feel bad we didn’t kill them all. ~Bob.)

Washington, the Indispensable Man of the Revolution
Excerpt: Poor George Washington. His birthday, spontaneously celebrated since the Revolution and formally declared a holiday in 1879, has slowly morphed into the insipid Presidents Day you'll hear about today. George Washington, the "indispensable man" of the Revolution who was rightly extolled for being "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," has now been lumped together with the likes of James Buchanan, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Pierce and John Tyler. It gets worse. Washington's good name and great legacy are now shamelessly invoked to justify positions that he would never have envisaged. (He had the Army and could have been King, but gave us a free Republic. Unfortunately, there are no permanent victories, and we are losing it. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: If you think our quiet lives of desperation can sometimes become a bit much, relax. Here are some guidelines to soothe your frustration — a few commandments that make sense out of today’s nonsense. (It will make your heart weep. ~Bob.)

Satire. Sort of. Obama Temporarily Steps Down; Will Campaign Full Time by Keith Koffler
Excerpt: “Let’s just forget it,” Obama said in an interview with Barbara Walters. “Nobody’s buying this. I’m already mainly campaigning. This just formalizes the arrangement.” … Obama blamed Republicans for the deficit. “They’re making me do this. They upset me, and when I’m stressed, I spend. I’m working on it.” (Too funny. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Reasons to Like (and Honor) Ike By George Will
Excerpt: Fortunately, on Tuesday comes Jean Edward Smith's biography "Eisenhower in War and Peace," which demonstrates why the man's achievements merit a memorial better than the proposed one. (In June of 1944, Ike made perhaps the toughest decision of the 20th century, with tens of thousands of lives at stake, and made the right call. That, alone, merits respect. He was prepared to take full responsibility if it went wrong, a lesson for today’s politicians. As a kid in 1956, I remember wearing an “I like Ike” button to school. I still like Ike. ~Bob.)

A Nation of Takers By Edwin J. Feulner
Excerpt: Americans pride themselves on being a self-reliant people. We know that the freedom to make our own fortune sets us apart from many other nations. It's what has drawn generations of immigrants to our shores -- men and women risking their lives to live a life in which they, not the government, are in charge. But with each passing year, that portrait flies more and more in the face of reality. The numbers plainly show that we are becoming a people dependent not on ourselves, but on government. We are evolving into a nation of takers, not givers. (Alas, we may have already passed the tipping point. As Edward Gibbon wrote: “In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.” ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Three years ago today, President Obama signed his infamous stimulus package into law. In exchange for $1.2 trillion (including interest), liberals said their plan would bring the unemployment rate down to about 6% today. It hasn’t fallen below 8% at any point in the last 36 months. There has been a recent drop, though, which some Democrats claim as proof that their stimulus plan finally worked. But if that’s true, then where are the jobs? As more and more people have learned recently, the official unemployment rate doesn’t actually count unemployed people who have given up looking for work. The above chart offers another look at the jobs data. It shows the “labor force participation rate,” which represents the share of working-age Americans who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work.

When a seven year-old is branded a bigot
Excerpt: And yet, in pursuance of these aims, we have witnessed the rise of the widespread state-sponsored bullying of children. The latest example was the experience of a seven-year-old boy from Hull, whose mother was astounded to be told by his primary school to sign a form admitting he was racist. So what was the heinous act this child had committed to cause him to be branded in this way? Why, merely to have asked a five-year-old boy in the playground whether he was 'brown because he was from Africa'
Excerpt: It is hard to remember a more tense time in the last 20 years. Tiny Israel may be poised to preempt the nuclear capabilities of Iran (an Iran that itself once attempted, unsuccessfully, to take out the Iraqi reactor at Osirak before Israel finished the job), whose terrorist appendages and missiles have the ability to do it a great deal of damage in return. How such a war would escalate or end, no one knows.

Marines from Bravo Company just returned from Afghanistan and visit some of their brothers who were wounded and are now recovering at Walter Reed. http://www.onemarinesview.com/one_marines_view/2012/02/if-i-have-to-explain-it-you-wont-understand.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+onemarinesview%2FYGTZ+%28One+Marine%27s+View%29
Cpl Brown is a local Marine, went to the same high school as my grandson. –MasterGuns

Progressives: Dedicated apostles of the “lowest common denominator
Excerpt: A piece in Friday’s New York Times, “For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage” highlights that fact. So what does the article call this societal scourge? The “new normal.” In fact, illegitimacy is neither new or normal. The only thing new is the greater number of people who worship at the altars of rationalization and moral relativity progressives have championed for the last half-century.

Iran’s rope a dope: Why talks are worse than futile by Amir Taheri
Excerpt: The ritual started in 1982, when then-Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher of West Germany coined the phrase “critical dialogue.” Initially, the talks aimed at changing Iran’s behavior on human rights and exporting terror. Genscher achieved nothing, but his “critical dialogue” found other champions in France and Britain. In 2006, the exercise grew to include the United States, Russia and China Under President Obama, a sucker for multilateralism, the agenda was compressed into a single issue: persuading Iran to accept a temporary freeze of uranium enrichment.

Looking for Jihad in all the right places
Excerpt: There’s a reason New York City has not been hit by radical Muslim terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001, and its name is the New York City Police Department. … But try to tell that to the Associated Press, which for months now has been waging a journalistic jihad against the NYPD and its counterterrorism tactics in the name of “civil rights.”

Obama nears his nuclear moment
Excerpt: At the start of Barack Obama’s term, few moments better crystallised America’s change of face than his “New Day” video address to the Iranian people. Ending with a salutation in Farsi, Mr Obama offered Iran a new era of “co-operation”. It followed from the promise in his inaugural address to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”. Unhappily, Tehran has ignored Mr Obama’s overtures. (Anyone who is surprised that Iran ignored Obama shouldn’t be allowed out in the real world without a minder. ~Bob.)

GE Steps Up Support for GM Chevy Volt Folly
Excerpt: Last week, Greencarreports.com reported that crony corporation, General Electric, will be purchasing only Chevy Volts for employee use. The move will help General Motors proclaim that the Volt is a success (and help ensure that GE sells more charging stations) as thousands of orders for the vehicle hit the books, conveniently timed to coincide with the run up to the 2012 presidential election. (Will the CEO be driving one next time he comes to DC to beg for tax dollars? ~Bob.)

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