Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Political Digest for June 12, 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.

Guest Post: Bruni, Axelrod, Katz, and the President’s Barber. By Ambassador Richard W Carlson

Excerpt: They already are. For example, Social Security’s replacement rate (the benefit as a percent of pre-retirement income) falls as income rises. Also, above very modest income thresholds, 50% and then 85% of Social Security benefits are subject to ordinary income taxes. But the term “Social Security benefits tax” is misleading. Since the first threshold for a single person is $25,000, no tax is likely to be owed if the senior has only Social Security income. It is other income (wages and investment income) that most likely triggers the tax. So in a sense, the Social Security benefits tax is actually a tax on that other income. As NCPA analysts have shown, the way the tax is applied is diabolically designed to really sock it to seniors who saved for their retirement. Over the phase out range the tax raises the senior’s marginal tax rate by 50% and then 85%. So a senior who otherwise faces a 25% marginal tax rate will face tax rates of 37.5% and 46.25% on non-Social Security income — the latter being a higher rate than Bill Gates is required to pay. (Punishing success and thrift—it’s what progressives do. ~Bob.)

As November election nears, splits in Democratic coalition resurface
Excerpt: Divisions in the Democratic coalition have burst into view, endangering both President Obama and his party colleagues in Congress as November’s election nears. Fissures have opened over everything from tax policy and former President Bill Clinton’s off-message comments to recriminations following the party’s fiasco in the Wisconsin recall, which some say should have been avoided.

Opinion: Election a watershed for nation. By Judd Gregg
Excerpt: Most presidential elections are seen as watershed events that will have a significant and determinative effect on our nation’s future and culture, and to some extent on the world’s future. This view is often an overstated projection reflecting the fact that people — especially politicians and pundits — view their point in time as uniquely important to history and the fate of the nation.

Is There Still a Case for Coal?
Excerpt: On March 27, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed what it calls the first "Clean Air Act standard for carbon pollution for new power plants." The proposal, if enacted, will effectively outlaw the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States by capping acceptable carbon dioxide emissions at a level below what is attainable by modern plants, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. This proposal will effectively eliminate the expansion of coal-fueled electricity domestically. This will not only be enormously costly to American electricity consumers, but is also unlikely to reduce emissions. (Who cares what the poor or working folks pay if greenies get to feel good about themselves? ~Bob.)

President Obama’s Medicare Fantasies: Medicare is headed for fiscal ruin, and a new report shows that the administration’s reforms aren’t likely to help. By Peter Suderman
Excerpt: How bad is Medicare’s fiscal picture? So bad that the program’s Trustees are warning that the bad news they issued earlier this year about the program’s finances is actually the upbeat scenario—and have once again created an “alternative” fiscal projection designed to show how dire the stakes actually are.

House oversight committee schedules contempt vote for Holder
Excerpt: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a vote for next week to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the controversial Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation. (I wonder how many shredders they'll burn out in the next couple of days. –Del)

Excerpt: Two parties, left and right, are central to good consensual government — one the perennial check on the other, both within the general boundaries of constitutional free-market capitalism. Yet the hard-Left takeover of the Democratic Party has meant that there is no longer a credible balance in our system, as almost all the tenets of contemporary left-wing ideology are blowing up, imploding super nova style — unsustainable ideas that are contrary to human nature and demand coercion for their implementation, given that they are increasingly anti-democratic and have to be implemented from high by an elite technocracy whether in Brussels, Sacramento, or Washington.

Worth Reading: Leaks and Lies. By Michael Ledeen
Excerpt: I once had a long discussion about leaks with Richard Helms, a thoughtful gentleman who steadfastly refused to reveal state secrets even when threatened with imprisonment. Helms was director of Central Intelligence for many years, and he told me that he had often been asked to identify the source(s) of leaks of sensitive information. “We always found the leaker(s),” he said, “but then nothing happened.” Why? “Because most of the time the leaker was so high-ranking that there was no desire to prosecute or punish.” He said that he’d identified the likes of cabinet secretaries in some of his investigations. (I’m currently reading an excellent leadership book by Ledeen, which I will report on when done. ~Bob.)

Morning Bell: The Private Sector is Not “Doing Fine.” By Amy Payne
Excerpt: In now-infamous comments on Friday, President Barack Obama informed America that “the private sector is doing fine.” This, of course, was news to the 12.7 million people who are out of work and the millions more who are struggling with the part-time jobs they can find, or have simply given up looking. While the President’s comment is astoundingly out of touch with the public—and economic reality—perhaps even more distressing is that this wasn’t a passing verbal gaffe. This is actually a consistent talking point of the President and Democratic leadership that goes largely unchallenged by the media.

Quote from The Patriot Post
"I'm sure everyone feels sorry for the individual who has fallen by the wayside or who can't keep up in our competitive society, but my own compassion goes beyond that to the millions of unsung men and women who get up every morning, send the kids to school, go to work, try and keep up the payments on their house, pay exorbitant taxes to make possible compassion for the less fortunate, and as a result have to sacrifice many of their own desires and dreams and hopes. Government owes them something better than always finding a new way to make them share the fruit of their toils with others." --Ronald Reagan

Subprime College Educations. By George Will
Excerpt: Many parents and the children they send to college are paying rapidly rising prices for something of declining quality. This is because "quality" is not synonymous with "value." Glenn Harlan Reynolds, University of Tennessee law professor, believes college has become, for many, merely a "status marker" signaling membership in the educated caste, and a place to meet spouses of similar status -- "associative mating." Since 1961, the time students spend reading, writing and otherwise studying has fallen from 24 hours a week to about 15 -- enough for a degree often desired only as an expensive signifier of rudimentary qualities (e.g., the ability to follow instructions).

State and Local Governments Outpace Growth of Private Sector. By Matthew Mitchell
Excerpt: The graph shows that, after 60 years, the private economy is 5 times its 1950 size. But state and local governments are spending almost 13 times as much as they did in 1950. “This is like a household whose income has grown five-fold over a period of time,” Mitchell reports. “That's great news. But, unfortunately, their spending habits have grown 13-fold. This divergence is unsustainable.”

Excerpt: In a 2008 video on YouTube called “Conversations with History: Elizabeth Warren,” the Democratic candidate said her family viewed themselves as part of the middle class because they — unlike others during the Great Depression era – “used good English.” (Not like those bitter clingers in the working class who don’t talk good. ~Bob.)

Senator opens inquiry into EPA’s armed visit to NC man’s home. By Caroline May
Excerpt: An Asheville, N.C. man has enlisted the aide of North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr to investigate a visit he received from two armed Environmental Protection Agency officials and a local police officer. Burr has been in touch with the man and started an inquiry into the incident with EPA….The agents visited Keller on May 2, two days after Armendariz resigned.

NY Principal Pulls Patriotic Song, Wants to Avoid Offending Other Cultures. By Paul Scicchitano
Excerpt: Admonishing teachers that she did not want to “offend other cultures,” Coney Island principal Greta Hawkins reportedly is refusing to allow students to sing "God Bless the USA" at a school moving-up ceremony later this month. The New York Post reported on Sunday that Hawkins had no problem, however, with Justin Bieber's "Baby" for her school’s June 20 commencement. (Heaven forbid we offend anyone by singing a patriotic song! This is PC taken to a supreme height of idiocy. Hopefully a storm of protest will hit that school district. If the song "God Bless the USA" offends anyone, the question then becomes, why are they here? –Del)

The Chinese Kleptocracy Is Like Nothing Ever Seen In Human History, And This Is How It Works. By John Hempton
Excerpt: China is a kleptocracy of a scale never seen before in human history. (a). The children and relatives of CPC Central Committee members are amongst the beneficiaries of the wave of stock fraud in the US, (b). The response to the wave of stock fraud in the US and Hong Kong has not been to crack down on the perpetrators of the stock fraud, but to make Chinese statutory accounts less available to make it harder to detect stock fraud. (Nice to see the "system" explained. I think Viet Nam is run much the same way. –Del)

Obama’s early Chicago rise brought African-Americans foreclosures, bankruptcies. By Neil Munro
Excerpt: President Barack Obama wants his 2012 re-election campaign to focus on Gov. Mitt Romney’s private-sector record, but his own private-sector history shows that he promoted and profited from the nation’s disastrous real-estate bubble. One striking example comes from the president’s 1995 housing-discrimination class action lawsuit: It provided him with legal fees, greased his political donations and boosted his role in Chicago politics.

Issa exposes "Green Jobs" Scam
This is a must watch video. Only takes two minutes, but exposes the "green" job scam perfectly. --Steve M.

Labor Dept. delays plan to make reporters use government-issued equipment. By Meagan Clark
Excerpt: The Labor Department has delayed a plan to require journalists to use government-issued computers, software and Internet lines to write about jobless reports and other economic data released to them ahead of the public from inside a “lock-up” room. Carl Fillichio, who runs the DOL’s public affairs and is the senior communications adviser to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, said in May that media reporting on the weekly data must use the government equipment starting July 6. Fillichio announced Friday in an email to The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones that a new start date will be released this week. (You mean, there still exist 1-2 MSM outlets that are not in lockstep, er, goosestep with regime? –Barb.)

Bernanke's Cliffhanger: The 2013 fiscal danger is a tax increase, not spending cuts.
Excerpt: The second cliff is the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts in military and domestic discretionary spending over the next decade as agreed to in last year's debt-ceiling deal. In 2013 these cuts come to roughly $126 billion. The depth of the defense cuts would damage national security, but the economic impact of all of those spending cuts would be benign, even beneficial. The idea that spending cuts will curtail the recovery is the same fiscal multiplier nonsense that gave us the $830 billion stimulus in 2009.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: The Palestinian Authority books were a black hole with billions of dollars from Western and Muslim countries, bribes and foreign aid, going to a network of secret bank accounts and investment portfolios that not only financed terrorism, but also the lifestyles of the men at the top. The audits of the PA in the twilight days of Arafat and afterward were meant to reestablish the credibility of the Authority with foreign donors, while seizing control of the assets stockpiled by Arafat for the benefit of the new bosses. (Your tax dollars supporting the terrorists’ One Percent. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: In terms of qualifications, Mr. McGurk brings very modest accomplishments to the table. While he has risen rapidly in rank there is little evidence of real substance in his record. He doesn’t speak Arabic, something one would think we would want in our ambassador in this critical country. He appears to have the same “legend in his own mind” that eventually consumed Richard Holbrooke.

Announcement from minarets in Syrian city: "Christians must leave Qusayr within six days"
 Excerpt: Just as in Egypt and Libya, the U.S. is backing Islamic supremacists and jihadists in Syria. In angling for the toppling of Assad, the U.S. is supporting Islamic jihadists who, once in power, will make life significantly worse for Syria's Christians.

Controversial Muslim preacher to speak in Calgary. By Nadia Moharib, QMI Agency
Excerpt: The controversial Muslim preacher who says homosexuals are evil and advocates for their death is set to speak at an upcoming event in Calgary. (If a Christian criticizes gays or Muslims in Canada, you can be prosecuted for hate speech. Muslims, not so much. ~Bob.)

Al Qaeda Offshoot Offers Camels for Obama's Head, Hens for Hillary Clinton's. By Mohamed Ibrahim
Excerpt: The al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia has mocked the new $33 million bounty on its top leaders heads by offering its own bounty for President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – 10 camels for Obama and 20 chickens for Clinton. (And you thought Obama had inflation under control. Getting so a simple jihadist can’t afford to murder a US official anymore. ~Bob.)

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