Friday, February 3, 2012

Political Digest for February 3, 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.

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Even at 14%, Romney Pays a Higher Rate than 97% of His Fellow Americans by Scott A. Hodge
Excerpt: The release of Mitt Romney's tax returns, which indicate that he paid an average tax rate of 14 percent after deductions, has once again prompted a great deal of confusion over marginal and average tax rates. For a moment, let's set aside the issue that most of Mr. Romney's income is in the form of capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at 15 percent rather than at the highest marginal rate of 35 percent, and look at the difference between marginal and average (or effective) tax rates.

Mark Berndt Arrest: District Responds To Teacher Who Spoon-Fed Semen To Students
Excerpt: Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy confirmed with Fox 11 News that he has seen some of the more than 400 photos of teacher Mark Berndt allegedly spoonfeeding his semen to blindfolded and gagged students, some with cockroaches on their faces. … However, according to KTLA, although the school did take steps to fire Berndt, somehow he was allowed to resign before termination, which meant that he was able to retain all of his (retirement) benefits. (Unbelievable. If a parent shot him and I was on the jury, I’d vote not to convict. Frankly, I’d be perfectly willing to shoot him myself, and think I’d sleep soundly that night. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Pope Benedict XVI warned a group of Catholic bishops from the United States in a speech at the Vatican last week that some cultural trends in the U.S. are “a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself.” … The U.S. Catholic bishops have been in an escalating conflict with President Barack Obama and his administration over a number of administration efforts that curtail religious freedom in the United States.

Excerpt: The House on Wednesday evening handily approved a GOP proposal to extend the pay freeze for federal workers through 2013, despite the high hurdle for passage set by Republican leaders. The House voted 309-117 in favor of the bill, easily clearing the two-thirds majority required for passage under a suspension of House rules. Republicans needed about 50 Democrats for passage, and the bill, H.R. 3835, was supported by 72 Democrats. (The Senate is still controlled by pro-public union Democrats, so going no where. ~Bob.)

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords could flip Arizona in presidential race
Excerpt: President Obama is eyeing Arizona as one of the few Republican states he might flip in November, but to do that he might need the help of its brightest star: former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D).Whether Giffords will lend her considerable clout to the president’s reelection campaign remains an open — and exceedingly delicate — question. (Well, she owes him, after he saved her life when Sarah Palin shot her. Or so I gather from the unbiased media. ~Bob.)

Minimum Wage Myths
Excerpt: The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, but some states and cities have minimum wages that are significantly higher. Furthermore, eight states raised their minimum wage, effective January 1, 2012, says Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. … Proponents also claim that higher pay means low-wage workers will have more to spend on goods and services, thus boosting the economy. But if employers cannot absorb an increase in the cost of labor, they will hire fewer workers, hire more productive (educated) workers, lay off workers, or pass the costs on to consumers. Thus, the stimulative effect on demand may be offset by reduced employment among potential consumers. 

Excerpt: Trying to save money on a university and still get a good education? Forget the local community college -- send your kid to school overseas.

For Romney campaign, race unfolding almost precisely as predicted
Excerpt: They may not have known which of Romney’s many rivals would become his principal opponent. On that they were no smarter than anyone else. But they understood their candidate and the political geography of the early states — the perils and opportunities. They built a strategy with the goal of putting Romney in command of the race by the beginning of this month and equipped for a potentially long fight. Which is where he is today.

Panetta: U.S., NATO will seek to end Afghan combat mission next year
Excerpt: The United States hopes to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, more than a year earlier than scheduled, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Wednesday. His remarks reflected a growing sentiment within the Obama administration that its approach to Iraq, where the official end of U.S. combat operations came 16 months before the final U.S. troop withdrawal in December, may provide a useful model for winding down operations in Afghanistan. (Great idea. We could have ended WWII earlier if we had told Germany and Japan we were ending combat operations in 1944. ~Bob.)

DOJ prosecutors took bribes from financial execs, still working at DOJ
Excerpt: A U.S. Justice Department source has told The Daily Caller that at least two DOJ prosecutors accepted cash bribes from allegedly corrupt finance executives who were indicted under court seal within the past 13 months, but never arrested or prosecuted. (I’m fast losing my ability to be surprised or shocked. ~Bob.)

Eric Holder's 'Fast and Furious' woe
Excerpt: But even if some attributes are similar -- tough problem, edgy solution, inherent complexity, great secrecy, high operational and political risk -- it was definitely not a covert action since those are clearly defined in an executive order as the province of the Central Intelligence Agency Beyond that, if it had been a true covert action, the attorney general would have had to give his opinion as to its lawfulness beforehand; the implementing agency would have been required to exhaustively articulate risk; the National Security Council would have had to judge it favorably; President Barack Obama would have had to authorize it; and the Congress would have had to have been briefed before its implementation. (Authored by Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence, previously head of NSA. Hayden may have the strength of character to hide a smirk at seeing the biter bitten, but I bet plenty of CIA operatives have no such hesitation. Ron P.)

In Rediscovered Letter From 1865, Former Slave Tells Old Master To Shove It
Great letter. ~Bob.

Michigan GOP Primary: Romney 38%, Gingrich 23%, Santorum 17%, Paul 14%
Excerpt: Mitt Romney, coming off his big win in the Florida Primary on Tuesday, is the clear front-runner in the first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Republican presidential race in his home state of Michigan. Voters in this hard hit state see Romney as the much better choice to manage the economy. The Michigan Republican Primary is on February 28.

Excerpt: Today, the parents of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The lawsuit seeks $25 million dollars in compensation for Terry's death. Terry was gunned down Dec. 14, 2010 in Arizona near the Mexico border, in an attack by illegal aliens armed with AK-47-type rifles.

Pakistan Court
to Charge Prime Minister With Contempt
Excerpt: If convicted, Mr. Gilani would face up to six months in jail and possible disqualification from public office. The court order was a significant escalation of long-simmering tensions between the judiciary and the government and threatened to plunge the country into fresh political turmoil as its leaders debate the contours of a new strategic relationship with the United States. (Like virtually all news from central Asia, the only question is: how bad is this, really? Bear in mind Pakistan has more nuclear weapons than Great Britain. Won’t it be fun to watch their government disintegrate? Damn, it’s hard to get that Genie back inside that bottle. Ron P.)

New York Times Laments the loss of income for Afghan businesses!
Excerpt: After ten years of nearly constant derisiveness and complacency toward force protection and convenient ignorance of policies that have caused the severe wounding and killing of thousands of American Servicemen, The New York Times took the time to write about the loss of income for Afghan businesses in Afghanistan. The businesses they were lamenting have been thriving for most of these past ten years on what they declared to be 54 billion dollars in aid skimmed largely from US government coffers at the expense of the American Taxpayer; taxpayers, President Obama and his “port side” colleagues feel aren’t paying enough to support government ventures as it is now.

Iran and Hezbollah Working with Mexican Drug Cartels to Smuggle Nuclear Materials into the US
Excerpt: Israel is reporting on an Iranian long-range missile program that would be capable of reaching the United States. A separate report from their Intelligence chief says Iran can make nuclear bomb within a year. This missile program underwent a setback in December when an explosion occurred at the facility but no estimates were presented on when this missile will be mass produced. With Ahmadinejad’s request yesterday for a 127% increase in Iran’s defense budget, I don’t believe they are funding internal border security. However, they may need part of this increase to build a new line of drones.

Fast & Furious Info-graphic-Key Players by Darryl Issa
Bet you won’t see it in the NYT. ~Bob.

A failed ‘Fast and Furious’ whitewash
Excerpt: Today’s Capitol Hill hearing on the “Fast and Furious” mess promises drama that may well rival the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings or gangland chieftain Frank Costello’s memorable 1951 testimony in front of Sen. Estes Kefauver’s hearings on organized crime. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee insist there’s nothing left to learn about the murderous federal “gunwalking” operation: We already know who’s to blame, they report: low-level agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix, and staffers at the US Attorney’s Office there, headed by Dennis Burke, who has since resigned.

Sugar Should Be Regulated As Toxin, Researchers Say
Excerpt: A spoonful of sugar might make the medicine go down. But it also makes blood pressure and cholesterol go up, along with your risk for liver failure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Sugar and other sweeteners are, in fact, so toxic to the human body that they should be regulated as strictly as alcohol by governments worldwide, according to a commentary in the current issue of the journal Nature by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). (Pssttt. Wanna buy a $5 baggie of Domino Sugar? Good luck with this. The US Government has been supporting sugar producers at consumers’ expense for a long time. ~Bob.)

New Argument for Regulating Sugar: What Could be Bad? - by Howard Portnoy,
Excerpt: The article, by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), states: There is nothing empty about these calories [from sugar]. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills—slowly. [Wow! If the University of CALIFORNIA says so, it must be TRUE! Kate]

Banking giant accused of laundering billions
Excerpt: A former employee of HSBC in New York has 1,000 pages of customer account records he claims are evidence of an international money-laundering scheme involving hundreds of billions of dollars by the global banking giant, which reportedly is under investigation by a U.S. Senate committee.

Philippine military 'kills three wanted militants'
The Philippine military says it has killed three senior militants from al-Qaeda-linked groups in a raid in the south of the country. The air raid took place on Thursday in an area known as a militant stronghold. Officials said two Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leaders and one Abu Sayyaf leader were among a total of 15 people killed.

Zulkifli Bin Hir, Southeast Asia's Most Wanted Terrorist, Reportedly Killed
Excerpt: The dawn strike targeting a militant camp on a southern Philippine island killed Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, a top leader of the regional, al Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, said military spokesman Col. Marcelo Burgos. Also killed were the leader of the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf militants, Umbra Jumdail, and a Singaporean leader in Jemaah Islamiyah, Abdullah Ali, who used the guerrilla name Muawiyah, Burgos said.

Chile: Man arrested over glacier ice theft
Doesn’t he know about Global Warming? ~Bob.

Nancy Pelosi & R. Allen Stanford: Socialist Banking Cabalist Indicted On $7 Billion Fraud Scheme!
Excerpt: Brash Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford was indicted Friday on charges his international banking empire was really just a Ponzi scheme built on lies, bluster, and bribery. The Justice Department announced charges against Stanford and six others who allegedly helped the tycoon run a $7 billion swindle. Among those charged were executives of Stanford Financial Group and a former Antiguan bank regulator who prosecutors say should have caught the fraud but instead took bribes to let the scheme continue. (The story doesn’t, but the blog suggests further down there is a Pelosi connection. ~Bob.)

Why Obama should be worried
Excerpt: To hear Democrats (and much of the media) tell it, President Barack Obama is a man on the rebound. The president turned in a strong State of the Union speech, picked a smart political fight over taxing the rich and authorized another heroic Navy SEAL mission in terrorist territory. Sounds like a recipe for reelection, they say. There is a big problem with this Pollyanna punditry: There are a bunch of real-time numbers coming in that tell a much a different tale.

Intervention in Syria? Don’t Count on it
Excerpt: You want him out of his palace? Then shoot him out of it. (…) Barack Obama’s default position is one of confrontation avoidance. That doesn’t mean he’ll refuse to use force in all circumstances—see Libya—but he is less likely to pull the trigger than his predecessor, and he’s probably less likely to pull the trigger than whoever will turn out to be his replacement.

Excerpt: Barack Obama's favorability in the polls falls when he is himself -- overexposed, hard left in his press conferences, and boastful about legislative achievements like Obamacare and a stimulus of more than $1 trillion. Then a strange thing happened. Obama largely went quiet. Often he was out of sight, vacationing in Hawaii or golfing. It was almost as if he learned that the less he was seen or heard, the more Americans liked the idea of Obama as president rather the reality of his constant "Make no mistake about it" and "Let me be perfectly clear" sermonizing.

Democrats Love Taxes -- They Just Don't Want to Pay Them by Larry Elder
Excerpt: 2001, Massachusetts lowered it state income tax rate. But the legislature showed mercy for the Bay State's guilt-ridden, tax-hike-supporting liberals. The tax form allowed the filer to check a special box -- and pay the old, higher rate. Out of more than 3 million tax filers in 2004, a tiny fraction of 1 percent -- 930 taxpayers -- volunteered to pay the higher rate.

Allen West to seek reelection in new district
Excerpt: First-term, Tea Party Republican Allen West will seek re-election in a new district, he announced Tuesday. The move improves West's chances for re-election, since his current, competitive Florida district recently became even more competitive under a newly-drawn political map.

Nine Years Of Space Policy Disaster
Excerpt: So, to summarize, we retired the Shuttle with no good plan to replace it, and made ourselves dependent on an unreliable foreign supplier for the support of a space station in which we have invested decades and many tens of billions of dollars. And Congress continues to fiddle while NASA burns….

Prediction: Someone Else will Swoop in, Nab GOP Nomination
Excerpt: Mitt Romney will not be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. Neither will Newt Gingrich. And certainly not Ron Paul or Rick Santorum. No, the Republican candidate for president will be someone who isn’t even a candidate for president right now. It will be someone who will swoop in and snatch the nomination away, much to the delight of Republican voters who won’t much like the person who emerges with the most delegates from the primaries. (And I may win the lotto, but equally doubtful. Though I’m holding out hope for Mitch Daniels. ~Bob.)

Holder should require Cook County to follow immigration law
Excerpt: Whatever else one thinks about the many immigration issues facing this country, reasonable Americans of good can agree that illegal immigrants who commit crimes within the United States should be deported as soon as possible after they complete serving their jail sentences. There are more than enough Americans who make war on our society by committing crimes -- the last thing we need is to make more room here for criminals from other nations as well.

Jonathan Chait seems to be ‘Coming Apart’ over income inequality By James Pethokoukis
Excerpt: New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait doesn’t much like Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. In particular, he doesn’t like that Murray links the increasing social polarization of America to the abandonment by poor and working-class whites of the “Founding Virtues” of industriousness, honesty, marriage and religion.

Content warning. If Obama wouldn’t bring these people into power, we wouldn’t need such warnings. ~Bob. Excerpt: Despite the controversy, Barack Obama’s Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings and his GLSEN organization did nothing to clean up their act. In fact in 2001 activists handed out “fisting kits” to the children and teachers who attended the GLSEN conference.

Komen for the Cure Web Site Hacked by Pro-Abortion Activists
Turns out that supporting abortion is more PC than fighting breast cancer. Who knew? ~Bob. Excerpt: Following its decision by Komen for the Cure to withdraw funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business, the breast cancer organization has been deluged by pro-abortion criticism led by the abortion business itself. Pro-abortion activists have flooded its email account and Facebook and Twitter accounts with hate mail, but one pro-abortion zealot unhappy the organization is renewing its focus on protecting and helping women hacked its web site and changed a message on its front page.

President Obama hits Romney with subliminal messaging attack
Excerpt: President Obama is taking subliminal shots at Mitt Romney, over and over again. The White House insists the president isn’t in campaign mode. And in the tradition of most incumbents, Obama never mentions Romney by name. But he hasn’t missed an opportunity, from his State of the Union address to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, to jab at his probable opponent.

Slain border agent's family alleges lies over ATF gun program
Excerpt: The family of slain U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry charged Wednesday that the top federal prosecutor in Phoenix lied to them about the guns found at the crime scene in an attempt to hide the weapons' connection to the ATF's failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.

Actually, I AM concerned about the very poor
Excerpt: [Romney] is not committed to political principles, but to management. The two things are different, and one of the worst mistakes Republicans make is to imagine that management trumps political principle. In fact, the management focus knuckles under repeatedly to political pressure (see Romney in Massachusetts, Schwarzenegger in California, and generations of big businesses facing political activists). Only philosophical commitment, based on irreducible and non-negotiable ideas, can stand – or prevail – against the assault of demagogic-statist political themes.

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