Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Political Digest for June 19, 2012

Political Digest for June 19, 2012
Robert A. Hall
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.

Worth Reading: Inequality. By John Goodman
Excerpt: From President Obama to the editorial pages of The New York Times the message on the left is the same: low taxes (especially on the wealthy) and deregulation are making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Their solution: more big government.
Here’s the problem: nothing about this message is true. The George W. Bush tax cuts made after-tax incomes in the United States more equal, not less equal. Furthermore, all over the world low taxes, less regulation and limited government are associated with more income equality, not less. In addition, the greatest beneficiaries of economic freedom tend to be those at the bottom of the income ladder, not those at the top.

The Hill Poll: Voters fear US could slip into a double-dip recession
Excerpt: A massive majority of likely voters fear America could be slipping into a second economic downturn just four years after the Great Recession, according to a new poll for The Hill. But people remain split over which of the presidential candidates — Barack Obama or Mitt Romney — are offering the better prescription for economic health. (I wish to God I thought that was the worst we are facing. ~Bob.)

In a World of Complications, Obama Faces a Re-election Test
Excerpt: For Barack Obama, a president who set out to restore good relations with the world in his first term, the world does not seem to be cooperating all that much with his bid to win a second. (Apparently the rest of the world didn’t realize he was The One They Had Been Waiting For. Shocking. ~Bob.)

Thank You For Your Service (A Moment of Truth)
Short, great clip to share with Vietnam vets. ~Bob

Obama hits golf milestone on Father’s Day
Excerpt: President Obama played the 100th golf game of his presidency Sunday, spending a few sunny hours on Father’s Day at a private Chicago country club.

Progressive candidates keep coming up short. Why?
Excerpt: So far, 2012 is not shaping up to be a great year for progressive insurgent candidates. Three of the seven candidates endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a leading liberal campaign organization, have lost their primaries. A fourth’s finance director is in legal trouble. (Because Progressives care about intentions. As long as they can feel good about themselves over having good intentions, they don’t care about results. Voters, on the other hand, often care about the results for real people, and realize progressives will make peoples’ lives worse if it means they can feel good about being for the right things. ~Bob.)

State Tax Trend No. 9: State Abuse of Medicaid Matching Funds
Excerpt: When states set aside money to be spent on Medicaid, they receive matching funds from the federal government. These matching funds are made available according to a formula known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP), based on the state's level of poverty and unemployment, says Joseph Henchman, an attorney and policy analyst at the Tax Foundation. In fiscal year 2012, Mississippi had the highest FMAP (74.18 percent), meaning that the federal government contributes 74.18 cents for every $1 in total Medicaid spending in a state. Put another way, for every $1.00 the state of Mississippi spends on Medicaid, the federal government kicks in $2.87. Fourteen states tie for the lowest FMAP (50 percent), which means that for every $1.00 they spend on Medicaid, the federal government kicks in another $1.00. Regardless of a state's FMAP, however, the opportunity for budgetary exploitation exists. The open-ended nature of the Medicaid payment system, wherein federal matching funds are unlimited as long as states are willing to ante up, is the enabler of this opportunistic behavior.

All Pain and No Gain: The Illusory Benefits of the Utility MACT. By Marlo Lewis, Jr., William Yeatman, David Bier
Excerpt: With an EPA-estimated annual compliance cost of $9.6 billion, the Utility MACT Rule is one of the most costly environmental regulations in the nation’s history. The EPA claims that the Rule will deliver up to $80 billion in annual net benefits, with no risk of significant adverse impacts on fuel choice, electric supply reliability, or employment. These claims are false.

Excerpt: With his announcement that he will, in effect, unilaterally enact a key feature of long-debated immigration reform, President Obama is doing something he has always wished to do: Get around a Congress that doesn't see the issue his way. In a speech to La Raza last July, Obama said that on the question of immigration reform, "some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own." Obama said he found the idea "very tempting" but had to reject it because "that's not how our system works." (So what changed? Election year! ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Legally, President Obama has reiterated the principle that he can pick and choose which U.S. laws he wishes to enforce (see his decision to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and his administration’s contempt for national-security confidentiality and Senate and House subpoenas to the attorney general). If one individual can decide to exempt nearly a million residents from the law — when he most certainly could not get the law amended or repealed through proper legislative or judicial action — then what can he not do? Obama is turning out to be the most subversive chief executive in terms of eroding U.S. law since Richard Nixon.

Satire: Michelle Obama’s Top Ten New Food Laws. By Keith Koffler
Excerpt: White House sources tell me Michelle flew into a jealous rage when informed of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to limit soda sizes. She immediately gathered her staff in the East Wing and began creating a new set of proposals to reduce caloric consumption nationwide. White House Dossier has obtained a copy of the proposals.

Unrestrain the Judiciary. By George Will
Excerpt: Because judicial decisions have propelled American history, and because a long-standing judicial mistake needs to be rectified, the most compelling of the many reasons for electing Mitt Romney is that presidential elections shape two of the federal government's three branches. Conservatives, however, cannot coherently make the case for Romney as a shaper of the judicial branch until they wean themselves, and perhaps him, from excessive respect for judicial "restraint" and condemnation of "activism."

Who Benefits From the 'Avalanche of Leaks'? They seem designed to glorify President Obama and help his re-election campaign. By Peggy Noonan
Excerpt: What is happening with all these breaches of our national security? Why are intelligence professionals talking so much -- divulging secret and sensitive information for all the world to see, and for our adversaries to contemplate? (Seem? ~Bob.)

$3m climate of waste by Department of Climate Change
Excerpt: JET-SETTING bureaucrats have been slammed for raking up 6.5 million kilometres in air travel - amassing 1000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Officials from the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency spent $3.274 million last year, travelling the world to speak about the perils of a warming planet. The omissions are equivalent to those from the electricity needed to power 113 homes for a year and would require 78 hectares of pine forest to absorb.

Roberto Unger, Obama's Former Harvard Law School Professor, Says The President 'Must Be Defeated'
Excerpt: One of President Barack Obama's former professors appears to have turned against him, according to a recent YouTube video. "President Obama must be defeated in the coming election," Roberto Unger, a longtime professor at Harvard Law School who taught Obama, said in a video posted on May 22. "He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States."

Excerpt: The Greek elections were the worst possible outcome for the euro, for financial stability, and perhaps even for German chancellor Angela Merkel. Mrs. Merkel was quoted as sternly informing the Greeks on the eve of Sunday’s election that there was no prospect of renegotiating the “deal” — severe public-spending cuts in return for loans from the European Union, a “haircut” of 75 percent imposed on those investors who had foolishly lent Athens money, and the fig leaf of a denial that these amounted to a default by Greece. (In WWII Budapest, it is reported that the Nazis (doubtless to the approbation of their Islamic admirers) would line up Jews who were chained together on a bridge over the Danube. They would shoot the more fortunate one on the end, who would fall into the river, dragging the others to their drowning deaths one by one. They claimed this was to save ammo, but it was more likely the cruel and vicious Jew-hating prevalent in both National socialists and today’s socialists. The world economy has the more prudent states chained to the feckless, and ultimately to other economies, eventually to Greece, Spain, Ireland, and the rest of the EU disaster states. It’s hard to see how their collapse doesn’t drag the rest of us into the abyss with them. Greece is on one end, we are chained on the other, not that we are all that prudent. I still fear we are close to fiscal collapse, followed by political and social collapsed. ~Bob.)

The Grecian Formula for Economic Decline
Excerpt: The President and his team have been blaming "European headwinds" for some of the U.S. economy's woes. But the truth is that the policies pursued by Washington and Athens are frighteningly similar—and the outcomes are not good for either country. Both countries are in need of comprehensive fiscal reforms, yet their leaders have avoided the tough decisions in favor of bailouts and political posturing. In yesterday's election, political parties supporting Greece's bailout secured a narrow victory, causing Europe and world markets to breathe a temporary sigh of relief. (Greece has kicked the can down the road—just not very far down the road. There, as here, the can is getting heavier, and soon will be un-kickable. ~Bob.)

Greece: No denouement, just the start of the misery
The news of Greece's poll results, widely construed as a decision not to immediately exit the euro, is all over the foreign cable news programs, and Brussels is shouting for joy. They fail to see what's coming! The markets responded favorably for a little over an hour, than plunged again when people woke up to reality: Endless bailouts for Greece until Germany and the others go bust. To give you some perspective, here are some figures on the contributions of the various member countries to the EU, and hence to the bailouts:
Briefly, at the time of that report, Belgium's Flanders paid top euro per capita, 282.6 euros per Flemish person, for a total of 1 billion 780 thousand euros. But it is widely believed that Belgium will soon need a bailout of its own. That's a double whammy for the EU. Not only would it lose the net contribution but it would also have to take MORE from the remaining countries that are just barely above water to pay the Belgians. A net loss instead of the current net contribution. Italy contributed 2 billion 938 million at the time of that writing, or about 49.7 euros per capita. But Italy will eventually need a bailout, despite the phony optimism of Super Mario Monti. That is another loss of a contributor, which becomes a net liability for the EU. Spain will also need another bailout, and so will Greece. And the more needy countries line up at the trough and stop being net contributors, the harder it will be for those few economically sound nations to pull their weight. Further, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the German powerhouse, is demanding -- and will eventually get -- full-scale "green" energy to replace all of the traditional cheap nuclear and fossil fuel plants that have so far made Germany the no. 2 exporter in the world. Once this transformation is complete, Germany too will line up at the trough, but the trough will be empty by then. It may seem as if the EU has spun out of control. But the founders of the EU were men imbued with the socialist vision. Their idea from the start was that the rich nations would pull the weight of the poor. This is socialism in drag, since in traditional socialism, there is roughly a wealth transfer of rich individuals to poor individuals, while in their more sophisticated version, the transfer is from rich nations to poor nations. You'd think Europe would have noticed, after all these years of being duped, that the EU is just a sophisticated version of the Soviet Union, but it is as if someone had taped their eyes shut. As time goes on it becomes increasingly clear that this transfer was never intended to be temporary. It has been a de facto permanent condition, always propped up with a new crisis and hence a new pretext to prolong the outright, daylight robbery. Thus, as long as the EU's power masters can continue to strike fear in the hearts of the serfs who do its bidding, it will continue to steal the wealth of the rich nations, whose workers work longer hours with less pay, and send it to the "poor" nations, whose workers work less, retire earlier and demand -- and get -- more of everything. Meanwhile, the only win-win group is the bankers. Italy, for example, recently paid a handsome 7% for its credit. Good money for folks who sit like vultures at a carrion feast. Socialism hasn't changed one iota in its gross unfairness to the productive. But it has changed its guise and has trained its propaganda machines full tilt against the working men and women of nations unfortunate enough to be "rich," warning that if their plan is not followed, there will be chaos, tanks in the streets, starvation, rioting, war, etc. Arbeit macht frei. Yet, these social phenomena are precisely what the EU and its policies are leading to. But they are the unintended consequences, and as stealthy, crafty and sly as the EU power masters are, they have no good moves left for this end game, because the final outcome belongs to God, not to them. Just as the populace didn't see their machinations, the power masters didn't see Him. --Don Hank

Excerpt: Greek election winner Antonis Samaras begins his second bid in six weeks to form a coalition as euro-area finance chiefs pressured him to form a government that would keep bailout aid flowing.

Greece Not Out of the Woods. By Arnold Ahlert
Excerpt: Will they? Barring major changes in the way Greece conducts its affairs, the answer is no. The latest bailout of $218.6 billion, courtesy of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will do little more than forestall the inevitable in a country beset by five years of recession, 22 percent unemployment, and thousands of private sector businesses shutting down.

Spanish Bond Yields Climb to Record as European Stocks Advance
Excerpt: Spanish 10-year bond yields climbed above 7 percent for the first time since the creation of the euro on concern the region's debt crisis is deepening, while European stocks rose and the yen weakened after Greek parties backing a bailout won enough seats to form a government.

Excerpt: Comedy Central host Jon Stewart regularly bashes American multimillionaires for their wealth while ignoring the awkward fact that he’s one of them.

One dead in Pakistan Koran protest: officials
Excerpt: A mob attacked a police station in Pakistan on Saturday demanding a man detained for allegedly desecrating the Koran be handed over, leaving one person dead and 19 with gunshot wounds. Violence erupted after police arrested a "mentally retarded" man said to have burnt pages of the Muslim holy book in Kuchlak, about 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, senior administration official Qambar Dashti told AFP. (This is terrible. Don’t they know using the term “retarded” is no longer politically correct? ~Bob.)

Why public's opinions on Zimmerman is shifting. By Rene Stutzman
Excerpt: In late March, while people were still marching in the streets demanding his arrest, 33 percent of the country believed Zimmerman was guilty of murder, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. The same poll showed that fewer than half that number — 15 percent — believed Zimmerman had acted in self-defense. Two months later, however, those numbers had flip-flopped. In a May 19-20 Rasmussen poll, 40 percent said they believed Zimmerman had acted in self-defense vs. 24 percent who called him a murderer.

Excerpt: As far as national security went, Nixon’s crimes were in part culpable for destroying the political consensus that he had won in 1972, at a critical time when the Vietnam War to save the south was all but over, and had been acknowledged as such at the Paris Peace Talks. But Watergate and the destruction of Nixon’s foreign policy spurred congressional cutbacks of aid to South Vietnam and eroded all support for the administration’s promised efforts to ensure that North Vietnam kept to its treaty obligations.

Egypt's military grants itself sweeping powers
Excerpt: Egypt's ruling military has issued a declaration granting itself sweeping powers, as the country awaits results of Sunday's presidential elections. The document by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) says new general elections cannot be held until a permanent constitution is drawn up. Opposition groups condemned the move as amounting to a military coup.

Islam in Germany: "Germany Does Away With Itself"
Excerpt: "The values represented by Islam must correspond to our constitution. What applies here is the constitution, not Sharia law.... Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here." — Chancellor Angela Merkel. German President Joachim Gauck recently said in a newspaper interview that Muslims living in Germany are a part of the country, but that Islam is not.

Worth Reading: Morgan’s big secret ---The coming muni-bond crisis. By Charles Gasparino
Excerpt: While the Senate Banking Committee last week spun its wheels trying to get JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon to admit to something nefarious during testimony about his “London Whale” trading loss, executives at the big bank were concealing a far bigger scandal. OK, it’s no secret that nation’s public pension funds are in big trouble, holding large “unfunded” liabilities owed to public workers once they retire. But most politicians (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is an exception) will tell you the problem is fairly containable, that there are simple fixes — such as raising taxes on the rich or pruning benefits.

Egypt: The reactionaries fall out. By Amir Taheri
Excerpt: Things changed again in the 1980s, after more militant elements of the Brotherhood assassinated President Anwar Sadat. The decade of repression that followed failed to destroy the Brotherhood’s network, but pushed some of its factions toward more violence and terrorism. Under President Hosni Mubarak in the ’90s, the Brotherhood was allowed to enter the parliament, though under a different label, in exchange for cooperating with the security forces against rival armed groups.

Don't Believe the Actuaries, Medicare Is Far From Safe. By Sally Pipes
Excerpt: But a report from the program’s Trustees released just after that analysis threw a bit of cold water on those estimates. Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund is still on track to be depleted in 12 years. And even that prediction may prove to be a bit too rosy.

Excerpt: There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth as, in the spring, it appeared that forces supporting Mitt Romney would be able to raise about as much money as those supporting Barack Obama. There’s even more now that it seems likely that the pro-Romney side will raise and spend more money than the pro-Obama side.

The gun control myth. By Henry List
Excerpt: Secondly, does a direct correlation actually exist between the number of guns in a society and the murder and/or violent crime rate? No. If you study history, this point becomes crystal clear. Gun control advocates almost always compare the murder rate in gun restricted London to the murder rate in gun prevelant cities like New York City, but they don't tell you the whole story. For example, neither London nor New York had ANY gun control laws for almost 200 years, but during that time, the murder rate in New York City was five times that of London. (Nicest argument on guns and violence and gun control I've seen in a while. --Del)

Excerpt: The Obama administration’s pick to be the next ambassador to Iraq withdrew his nomination on Monday amid opposition from Senate Republicans concerned that he may have engaged in improper behavior while working at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2008.

Excerpt: California Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos died in 2008 before finishing his term. But that didn’t stop his campaign committee from remaining politically active. (Well, he’s probably leading a Democrat voter registration effort in cemeteries nationwide. They need “walking around” money for that. ~Bob.)

Obama Campaign Sends ‘Dreamers’ Fundraising Email Hours after Amnesty Announcement
Excerpt: Seven hours after President Barack Obama announced that some illegal aliens would be allowed to stay in the United States and could be allowed to work here, Katherine Archuleta, Obama’s national campaign director, e-mailed a fundraising letter seeking donations to his re-election effort. The e-mail, with the subject line “wonderful news,” contains links to the website, where visitors can listen to Obama’s speech on immigration he gave at 2:08 p.m. on Friday in the White House Rose Garden. (No one can be bothered to pretend to be either surprised or outraged. ~Bob.)

Failure to Communicate: FCC handling of information requests show pattern of stonewalling, bias, records show. By CJ Ciaramella
Excerpt: The Federal Communications Commission has shown under the Obama administration a pattern of opacity and bias in handling public records requests despite its claims that it is “committed to increasing openness and transparency.” The FCC has been forthcoming with information to Democratic opposition researchers and liberal watchdog groups, but regularly stonewalls requests from members of Congress and outside groups seeking potentially embarrassing information for the Obama administration, records show.

BREAKING: Illegal Alien lands in New York and is allowed to stay but only after throwing away the 17oz soda and large popcorn.

Excerpt: A123 Systems, the battery maker for the Fisker Automotive hybrid, got almost $250 million in loan guarantees from the Obama administration and is currently losing hundreds of millions each year. In fact not longer after that got the loan guarantee they had to lay off over 100 workers. Things have recently gotten so rough for them lately that the are going to spend the rest of their stimulus money, around $100 million of it, not on making batteries for electric cars but on batteries for power grids: (I may have already had this. There are so many of these “spread the wealth” Green tax dollars sinkholes, I can’t keep track. ~Bob.)

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