Saturday, April 21, 2012

Political Digest for April 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.

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.

A few items left before I get on the plane Friday about noon. Hope this posts--Blogspot has been hiccuping on delayed posts lately. ~Bob.

New Culture Of Irresponsibility
Excerpt: Leadership: What do the GSA spending scandal, the Secret Service sex scandal and Leon Panetta's expensive weekend trips home have in common? They stem from a culture of irresponsibility set by the man in the White House. When President Obama came to Washington, he promised to usher in a "new era of responsibility," one where everyone would recognize "duties to ourselves, our nation and the world." But Obama has delivered the opposite.

Cops, feds raid Bay State businesses, charge 32 in EBT card probe
Excerpt: Boston police have charged 31 welfare recipients with larceny for “illegally selling” their taxpayer-funded benefits, and a Quincy store owner was ordered held on $100,000 bail on fraud charges after cops and federal agents conducted a statewide sweep to crack down on EBT card abuse. Dozens of Boston police officers and federal agents raided businesses in Chinatown and across the Bay State this morning as part of the investigation into possible EBT card misuses. (Please pardon what will be a long comment, but almost no one understands the EBT process. Even many EBT recipients aren’t clear about it. EBT benefits can come in two different forms on the same card, namely “food stamps” that can only be spent on any unprepared—so, restaurants can't accept EBT payment unless they also have a "deli" that sells food raw—non-taxable food stuffs, and “cash” that be legally spent on ANYTHING that can be legally purchased for US money. Only a minority (35% to 40%) of EBT recipients get "cash" benefits. If a customer presents taxable or non-food items—which may legally include items that some other customers find repugnant such as alcohol, tobacco, or even lottery tickets—the clerk is required to take the payment only from the “cash” portion of EBT, not the “food stamp” portion. So long as the customer’s available cash balance covers the transaction, all is legal. This can lead to some unhappy customers farther back in the line who couldn’t hear the clerk ask “Cash benefits?” and the customer reply “Yes, cash.” Problems arise when clerks are improperly trained (or just clumsy) and hit the wrong button; even if noticed, what clerk wants to re-do the transaction with a long line of waiting and impatient customers looking on? Customers are supposed to review the transaction, approve the amount and the portion of benefits being used, but they never do, many just entering their PINs and never even looking at the total or wanting a receipt. And, if the “food” portion of their benefit gets spent on a non-food item, the customer actually gains in flexibility to use the “cash portion” more to their advantage, so they have no real incentive to “keep the clerk accurate.” (Furthermore, cash benefits cannot usually be carried over from one month to the next; if not spent, the "saved" or "excess" money is simply lost.)Mistakes of this type are almost never prosecuted, and by their nature are isolated and few, at worst confined to one or two clerks within a store. However, the system is set up in a way that not only encourages customer fraud, but makes it very difficult for merchants or others to detect. Although most EBT cards now have the photo of the recipient it is issued to on it, the card may be legally used by ANYONE who knows—or can guess—the PIN. This is supposed to allow shut-ins to have a friend or neighbor get their groceries for them. In practice, it means relatives, friends, et cetera can—and do—“borrow” each other’s cards from time to time, occasionally without permission. Merchants have no recourse in such a case, but the transactions are seldom challenged or reversed, so only the true recipient is harmed (and they can sometimes get “additional help” for the month by reporting the “theft”). Fraud by the merchant, on the other hand, requires malice aforethought. First, you have to become an authorized EBT merchant, arranging banking, and having products that can be legally purchased with the “food stamp” portion of benefits .Second, you have to knowingly sell ineligible items for those “food stamp” benefits—which almost always requires that a “pattern of criminal behavior” be able to be proven. (Selling an otherwise illegal item—such as illegal drugs—is already a different crime, and EBT fraud would simply be “bonus points” for the arresting authorities.) Further, if the item could be legally purchased with the “cash benefit,” the merchant can provide an ATM for the customer’s use and even earn a perfectly legal ATM use fee by having the customer draw the benefits that way. In other words, the merchant has to work at it to be arrested for EBT fraud. In this case, it is alleged the merchant "bought" the food stamp benefits, presumably at a steep discount, from recipients willing to sell them. The real question is why are we giving out “cash” assistance in the first place? I’ve heard all the arguments and find none convincing. Because of the restrictions, it doesn’t even reduce the expense of handling. No good can come of the government handing out “free money.” Ron P.)

10 Things You Need To Know About Obama's Second Term
Excerpt: Now for something really terrifying: a list of what Obama has in store for America in a second term if he can fool independents into voting for him again.

Analysis: Attorney General Holder may cost Obama re-election, say critics
Excerpt: As the 2012 presidential election quickly approaches, more and more Americans are discovering that the Obama Administration's definition of transparency is more Clintonian and semantic than honest and encouraging especially his Attorney General, Eric Holder, according to a political strategist and attorney. On Tuesday, Michigan's Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican, added his name to the growing list of lawmakers demanding Attorney General Eric Holder resign over such "outrages as the handling of the Black Panther voter intimidation case, the attacks against Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and Operation Fast & Furious that's responsible for many deaths including that of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry."

Hemorrhage of hatred By Caroline B. Glick
Excerpt: Hatred of Jews is the central animating feature of the political and strategic reality of the Middle East. It is hatred of Jews that dictates the legal regimes, foreign policies, military aspirations, cultural mores, educational themes and even public health policies of our neighbors from Ramallah to Teheran. Despite the centrality of Jew hatred in all aspects of public life in the Arab and Muslim world, our neighbors' unrelenting and irrational abhorrence for Israel and the Jewish people remains a dirty secret that you aren't supposed to mention in polite company.

Democrats expressing buyers’ remorse on Obama's healthcare law
Excerpt: An increasing number of Democrats are taking potshots at President Obama’s healthcare law ahead of a Supreme Court decision that could overturn it. The public grievances have come from centrists and liberals and reflect rising anxiety ahead of November’s elections. 

New District Maps Toughen Democrats’ Race for House
Excerpt: Congressional redistricting, a decennial process that generally allows the party in legislative power in each state to draw new lines, has not created many opportunities for new seats for Republicans, as the party’s leaders once expected. But it has forced multiple House Democrats, viewing their odds in new districts as slim, into retirement. Many of those districts are now either in play or solidly Republican, making the climb for Democrats all that more onerous.

Yemen: Sharia Supporters Behead ‘Sorceress’
The real “War on Women” the left is too cowardly to discuss. ~Bob. Excerpt: According to the Arabic website Al Shorfa, an al-Qaeda affiliated group in Yemen, called Ansar al-Sharia (or the “Supporters of Sharia Law") beheaded a woman on April 11 for “practicing magic and sorcery.” Members of the group broke into the home of Sharifa Amr—a local healer who used natural herbs to treat sick people—“beheaded her, and then hung her severed head in front of the home of another popular healer in the region, as a warning that he might share her fate.”

New York: Would-be jihad mass murderers misunderstood Islam, thought killing Infidel women and children justified in "jihad"
Excerpt: In a sane world, reporters would be approaching "moderate" Muslim leaders and asking them to explain how Zazi is wrong on Islamic grounds, and asking them what programs they have implemented to make sure no one in the mosques or Islamic schools misunderstands Islam in the same way he did. But this is not a sane world.

Iranian cartoons mock Holocaust: Tehran marks Holocaust Remembrance Day by running cartoons denying the crimes
Excerpt: The cartoons show Jews fabricating stories about the Nazis’ atrocities and 6 million Jewish deaths, and then exploiting the Holocaust to enrich themselves and displace the Arabs from Palestine. (Will this lead to riots and murder? No, only if cartoonists mock Islam, the Religion of Peace. ~Bob.)

(Muslim) Sudan President Declares War On (Christian) South Sudan
Excerpt: Sudan and South Sudan are embroiled in the worst clashes along their poorly defined border since the secession of the South last summer. The United Nations Security Council is considering sanctions on both countries in an attempt to end the violence, and demanded South Sudanese forces withdraw from their occupation of the 60,000-barrels-a-day oil field Heglig oil field. Both countries continue to ignore calls to end the fighting.

Turkish minorities: We want a constitution that embraces us all
Excerpt: “All of us expressed our views as to how to resolve the problems of all religious groups. Our biggest problem is the issue of receiving acknowledgment. Other Catholic churches carry out their services with the help of associations; but we, Roman Catholics, cannot even repair our churches. We can’t properly administer our properties. (Good luck. Shari’a Law forbids allowing infidels to repair churches. ~Bob.)

Homosexuals are inferior to dogs and pigs, says Iranian cleric: Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli has blamed homosexuals for spread of Aids and says pro-gay politicians are lower than animals
Excerpt: An influential Iranian cleric who is entitled to issue juristic rulings according to the Sharia law, has condemned western lawmakers involved in the decriminalisation of homosexuality, saying those politicians are lower than animals. Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, an Islamic scholar based in Iran's holy city of Qom, said in a speech among his followers that homosexuals are inferior to dogs and pigs, according to the news website Khabaronline. (So, I guess we can’t put him down as “undecided” on gay marriage? Site has a photo of two gays, one only 16, being hanged. ~Bob.)

Pakistani women's lives destroyed by acid attacks
The real “War on Women.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Campaigners in Pakistan say cases of acid attacks are increasing in most areas, even though tougher penalties were introduced last year. An Oscar-winning Pakistani documentary has put the crime under the spotlight, but it is estimated that more than 150 women have acid thrown on them every year - usually by husbands or in-laws - and many never get justice.

Light sentence for honor killing in Switzerland: Muslim gets 17 years for brutally murdering daughter with axe
The real “War on Women.” ~Bob. Excerpt: It is no accident or coincidence that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.

Ousted Secret Service supervisor joked about Palin
Excerpt: Sarah Palin says the joke's on the ousted Secret Service supervisor who wrote on Facebook that he was "checking her out" while protecting the former Republican vice presidential candidate during the 2008 campaign. "Well, check this out, buddy _ you're fired!" Palin said Thursday in a Fox News interview. David Chaney, one of two supervisors forced out of the Secret Service this week in fallout from an embarrassing prostitution scandal, posted at least two photographs of himself with Palin, along with another in which a woman in a revealing bikini top stood in the background, looking at Chaney.

No More "Mr. Obama Is a Nice Guy" by Michelle Malkin
Excerpt: There is a reflexive desire among a certain species of moderate Republicans to be perceived as "civil" by liberal opponents who believe that the mere existence of free-market, limited-government conservatism is an indecent affront to humankind. All aboard the U.S.S. Lost Cause. This disastrous, bend-over bipartisanship is a hard habit to break.

Analysis: Obama's "green jobs" have been slow to sprout
Excerpt: But the millions of "green jobs" Obama promised have been slow to sprout, disappointing many who had hoped that the $90 billion earmarked for clean-energy efforts in the recession-fighting federal stimulus package would ease unemployment - still above 8 percent in March. Supporters say the administration over-promised on the jobs front and worry that a backlash could undermine support for clean-energy policies in general.

Earth Day's environmental 'religion'
Excerpt: Environmentalism has, indeed, become an article of religious faith. As Joel Garreau, a former Washington Post editor, wrote in 2010, "faith-based environmentalism increasingly sports saints, sins, prophets, predictions, heretics, sacraments and rituals." Some argue that a religion must have a G0d, disqualifying environmentalism. Yet, as the great American psychologist and philosopher William James observed in his 1902 classic, "The Varieties of Religious Experience," it is not necessary to "positively assume a G0d" in order to have a religion.

Virginia's McDonnell weighs veto of voter ID bill
Excerpt: The future of a controversial voter ID bill is in serious doubt after a bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers rejected Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposed changes, daring McDonnell to accept their version of the legislation or veto it. In its current form, the bill requires anyone who forgets to bring proper identification to the polls to fill out a provisional ballot, which would not be counted unless the voter returns with proper ID or sends an electronic copy.

An Evel Knievel debt solution by Frank J. Fleming
Excerpt: No, there’s another, bolder way to deal with the cliff ahead: Floor it and try to jump it like Evel Knievel. That’s right. We don’t stop, and we don’t slow down. Instead, we build up speed by raising spending on stimulus packages and health care and flee limited government so fast we take flight over the cliff and land in unlimited government.

Pelosi: Amend the First Amendment
Excerpt: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday endorsed a movement announced by other congressional Democrats on Wednesday to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow Congress to regulate political speech when it is engaged in by corporations as opposed to individuals. (“Shut up!” she explained. ~Bob.)

New photo shows Zimmerman's bloody head
Excerpt: A new photograph of George Zimmerman, taken just three minutes after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shows blood trickling down the back of his head, adding credence to Zimmerman's claim that Martin bashed his head against the ground. The photo, obtained by ABC News, shows blood dripping down from two cuts and a possible contusion forming on Zimmerman's crown. The police report from the night Martin was shot notes that the back of Zimmerman's head was wet and that he was bleeding from the nose and head. (Too late—he had a fair trial and was convicted by the media. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The real reason why the president will never tax the rich their full "fair share" is because then he can no longer complain that they don't pay their fair share. He stands to lose his "fair share" political card. He needs a scapegoat.

RomBama: Both Grew Up With Silver Spoons By My Standards
Excerpt: Nope. I don't see a nickles-worth of difference in either one of them. Compared to most lives in regular America, they both have silver spoons hanging out of their lips! So, Romney and Obama stop bamboozling us Americans with the: "I'm more like you than my opponent is" conversation... You can't fool the electorate with that one. For, everybody knows it's hyperbole. (Black writer, good piece. ~Bob.)

The 25 Best Quotes From Thomas Sowell by John Hawkins
In MA. we can voluntarily pay an extra .5% on our state tax by checking a box. Ms. Warren didn't.

Excerpt: Mitt Romney collected more than $12.5 million in March and has $10.1 million in the bank as the general election ramps up, his campaign announced Friday. The presumptive GOP nominee's March haul constituted a slight uptick from February, when he raised just under $12 million. The campaign said it was the best fundraising month of the campaign so far. (Long way to go to $800M. ~Bob.)

Avoiding a Bloodbath in Venezuela
Excerpt: Before pondering the worst-case scenario, it’s worth reviewing what an ideal democratic transition would look like. In a perfect world, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles would emerge victorious in the upcoming presidential election, and he would be allowed to take office. Capriles would set about restoring the independence and integrity of institutions such as the judiciary, the national assembly, and the federal police. He would reverse the disastrous economic policies that have chased away foreign investors, crippled private enterprise, and unleashed soaring inflation.

Excerpt: Young voters have historically preferred Democrats, but Obama's share of the youth vote in 2008 was historically large. The poll, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in conjunction with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University, finds that 48 percent of young voters prefer the President. In 2008, though, Obama won 66 percent of that youth vote - a massive drop in support for the President.

What if Fannie and Freddie Were Eliminated?
Excerpt: For the past several years, it's not been an uncommon sight in Anytown, USA, to drive down the street and see home after home for sale after going through foreclosure. They are the still-lingering hangover from the housing crash that began in 2007. Though the true cause of what burst America's housing bubble is still debated, two of the culprits -- housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are still going strong even though both essentially failed in 2008 and are under government control. Economists and politicians alike are now pondering whether we need Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at all and what would happen if they were eliminated altogether.

Tweet from RB @RBPundit
Speaking of Obama's eventual Presidential Library at the old Solyndra factory... will it contain any of his college papers?

Excerpt: ‘People have to see that the president is not taking elaborate vacations and spending in a way that is inconsistent with the state of the overall economy and the state of the American family,” Mitt Romney tells National Review Online.

Old, but worth re-reading: The increasingly odd political optics of Barack Obama
Excerpt: In politics, what you're really doing is often much less important than what it looks like you're really doing.

Great story: Robert E. Lee Takes Communion
Heard this on the Military History channel last night and Googled it. ~Bob. Excerpt: On this particular Sunday morning, Lee attended St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, V.A. The church service progressed as usual until it was time for communion. When the call to communion was made, an unknown black man rose from his pew in the back of the church and made the long walk down the aisle to the front of the church where he proceeded to kneel at the communion rail. The members of the church were shocked by this act and remained seated, unsure of what to do. Then, Robert E. Lee rose from his pew. He strode down the center aisle and knelt down next to black man, and the two received communion together.

High Testosterone
Excerpt: For the past year or so, we’ve seen television ads for a prescription drug designed to help men with something called “Low T,” which turns out to mean low testosterone levels (who knew?). As I waded through tons of polling data and focus-group findings this week, it hit me. For the past couple of years, and especially during the presidential debates over recent months, Republicans have shown signs of the opposite problem: “High T.” The GOP has an excess of testosterone that may be hurting the party with some segments of women voters, specifically with those under 50, single women, and independent women.

Romney’s point of pride
Excerpt: Romney has every right to be proud of his family’s accomplishments — as well as his own. Even as Obama tries to portray it as repugnant — as he did this week with a remark that prompted the former Massachusetts governor’s response. “Unlike some people, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” Obama said. That’s not just snotty — it’s woefully ignorant of the American spirit.

Scotland Yard anti-terror hotline hacked by same group that targeted English Defence League
Excerpt: The activity led to phone-lines at the service being jammed and genuine callers being unable to get through and report potential terror threats. Hackers then appear to have illegally intercepted an internal call between officials reporting the incident.

Taxes from The Patriot Post
Excerpt: Gallup reports, "As tax filing day looms, Americans fall into two closely matched camps: those who believe the amount they pay in federal income tax is too high (46%) and those who consider it 'about right' (47%). Just 3% consider their taxes too low." It's hardly newsworthy that so few find their taxes to be too low, but for so many to see them as "about right" is interesting. Here's why: Roughly half of Americans don't pay any income taxes at all. It's no coincidence, then, that roughly half of Americans think their tax burden is "about right."

Earth Day Special: The Media's Top 25 Worst Environmental Quotes
Excerpt: This Sunday marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day and for 25 of those years the MRC has documented the liberal media’s role in advancing the left’s green agenda. From fretting about overpopulation to scaring viewers about global warming, for over 25 years the media have championed the capitalism-killing agenda of the modern environmentalist movement.

Excerpt: However, cynical minds might wonder if there is a strategic outsourcing of the below-the-belt attacks to surrogates not officially affiliated with the campaign. Of course, if the Democrats want to make this race about which candidate is closer to a polygamist ancestor . . . we can play that game. (Wait. Since most members of the LDS renounced polygamy, but Muslims still practice it, isn’t attacking it Islamophobic? ~Bob.)

The real “war on Women.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti okayed marriage for girls starting at age 10 and criticized those who want to raise the legal marriageable age, according to news reports. Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh said a girl becomes ready for marriage at 10 or 12 according to Islam and stressed that Islamic law is not by any means oppressive to women, the London-based al-Hayat reported Wednesday.

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