Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for December 6, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for December 6, 2012
Robert A. Hall
Your one-stop-shop for political news and opinion. Please forward to friends who need to be informed. This SitRep (Military for “Situation Report”) is created by many readers who send me items for inclusion, which I would have likely missed or skipped. And I can only spend at most three hours a night pulling stuff, plus the healthcare or economic stuff that crosses my desk at work. As always, I—and you—owe them thanks and appreciation. I post articles because I think they are of interest and will stimulate thought and discussion. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article, or that I was able to verify the information presented, which is the responsibility of the author. I try not to post things that are false, or too far a stretch, regardless of the view point, but I don’t always succeed. As always on the Net, or in the legacy media, you must read critically and with skepticism.

I have a round of healthcare appointments, a dance recital by the granddaughter, and time scheduled to play with her and her new puppy over the next few days, so posts may be limited. Bake cookies or something. ~Bob

Charities I support

Book RecommendationLords of the Levee: The Story of Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink. By Llyod Wendt, Herman Kogan and Bette Jore.
This book published in 1943 was reissued a few years ago. It's a fascinating political history of two early Chicago "Community Organizers," Democrat First Ward Aldermen John Coughlin and Mike Kenna, in the late 19th and early 20th century. If you want to understand how Chicago Way politics became as they are today, this is a great place to start--and excellent entertainment as well. Vote fraud (50 cents per vote was the going price to pay "floaters" to come into the ward and vote multiple times), corruption and legislative vote selling (called "boodling" by the press), protection payoffs from gambling and bawdy houses to fund the Democrat machine--it's all here. In those days, it was out in the open. Now they try to keep it hidden from feds and the press, which still does weekly stories that would turn our stomachs, except those of us who live in Cook County have become inured to corruption stories. We read them, complain, and forget. And one-party rule goes on. This was the age of "reform" Governor John Peter Altgelt (the "Eagle that is Forgotten" of Vachel Lindsay's poem), William Jennings Bryan (Coughlin and Kenna were "free silver" men), Big Bill Thompson (a corrupt Republican Mayor—they were as bad), TR and at end of the story, Al Capone. If you have an interest in politics, history and/or Chicago, you'll want to read this book.

Worth Reading: Silence painful as Koschman's mom speaks. By John Kass
The Democrat machine protects a killer for eight years--it's The Chicago Way. May need to register for free to log on. ~Bob

Fed to hold lenders' feet to the fire on mortgages
Excerpt: Frustrated Federal Reserve policymakers on Monday sought an explanation from mortgage lenders as to why the benefits of lower interest rates were not filtering to home buyers as quickly as in the past even as investors benefited. ... The question has puzzled central bank policymakers who worry the situation is undercutting their efforts to stimulate the country's slow economic recovery from recession. (Government intervention in the economy not working as planned. Who could have seen that coming? ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: In D.C., being black and female is a plus — as long as you’re also a Democrat. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Lots of public officials and Washington, D.C., insiders do not want U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to be nominated as secretary of state. Most of these critics think she irrevocably lost credibility by going on five Sunday-morning television shows on September 16 to deny any connection between radical Islamic terrorists and the fatal assaults on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi. We know now that when Rice voiced the administration talking points five days after the attack, she and others in the Obama administration already had access to intelligence sources that suggested that the assault was the preplanned work of al-Qaedist terrorists, not a spontaneous protest by a mob angered over an obscure two-month-old video. (The two IL US Senators have sent four names to Obama for him to appoint one as the next US Attorney, to replace corruption busting Patrick Fitzgerald. [You know the Chicago pols are hoping for someone not interested in political corruption] Three of the nominees are white males, the fourth is a black female. Unless one of the guys is an Obama bundler--not impossible in Chicago, my money is on her. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Why isn’t this union demand at the top of the story of their closing the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports? “The strikers – some 800 clerks – are asking for an unbelievable pay raise, from $165,000 to $195,000. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 is supporting the clerks, using their 10,000 member strong local to back their play.

Excerpt: Thanks to Barack Obama and his take over of health care, private health care in California is increasing approximately 25%. After the first of the year, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of California will not have health care coverage—forcing them to go “bare” or have government provide them the medicine and procedures needed. (TANSTAAFL. ~Bob.)

Feinstein’s Indefinite Detention Amendment May Actually Expand Executive Power
Excerpt: On Saturday I had written an article about Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with regards to “indefinite detention” that was approved in the Senate last Thursday. In my haste, I failed to fully understand what the amendment was providing and thanks to Dan Johnson of People Against The NDAA (PANDA) I was made aware of just how bad it really is. Therefore, for those who might have been wondering, that is why I quickly pulled the article.

Excerpt: President Obama’s bid to control what your children learn in school is surely one of the most important and disturbing of his many transformative plans. Not only is Obama’s attempt to devise what is in effect a national K–12 school curriculum arguably unconstitutional and illegal, the fact that most Americans have no idea that the new “Common Core” (a.k.a. Obamacore) even exists may be the most troubling thing about it. (No comment as I know nothing about this topic. Will watch for more to see if verified. ~Bob.)

Justice Dept. recovers record $5 billion under False Claims Act
Excerpt: The Justice Department’s civil division recovered a record $5billion in the past fiscal year from companies that defrauded taxpayers, with much of the abuse occurring in the health-care and mortgage industries. (Any company convicted of defrauding the taxpayers should be permanently barred from doing business with the government, at least until all top management is replaced. Or forever if owners are the guilty parties. ~Bob.)

AutoZone employee fired after thwarting robbery and saving manager’s life. By Greta Van Susteren
Excerpt: He returned to the store, scared the robber off with the gun and saved his manager’s life. But corporate brass apparently wasn’t pleased…McLean said the company fired him for violating their gun policy. (I won’t be in an AutoZone anytime soon. ~Bob.)

There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others. –Niccolo Machiavelli

The lion and the calf will lay down together, but the calf won't get much sleep. –Woody Allen

IAEA Incursion: Anti-Israel hackers invade IAEA networks once more. By Adam Kredo
Excerpt: An anti-Israel hacking collective has seized “highly sensitive” nuclear data and satellite imagery from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the world’s top nuclear watchdog, according to the website Cryptome.

Amputations, beheadings and a crucifixion: Horrific stories from Yemen where Al Qaeda has imposed sharia law
Excerpt: Al Qaeda committed 'truly shocking' human rights abuses including crucifixions and the beheading of an alleged sorceror during its 16 months in control of a southern region of Yemen, a report by Amnesty International claimed today. (Didn’t get the memo. Of course, the federal courts, progressives and the New York Times tell us that Shari’a Law is a benign expression of Islamic Religion and being concerned with it is “Islamophobic.” ~Bob.

Sources: US behind European protest measures
Excerpt: The United States was behind the summoning of Israeli ambassadors by several European nations, Israeli sources with close ties to US administration officials said Monday. "The European move is essentially an American move," one official said. "The Brits asked the Americans how to act." (Yup, Obama has Israel’s back. Muslims destroying homes and killing people with rockets is no big deal, but Jews building homes is an outrage! ~Bob.)

Turkey to keep buying Iran's gas despite sanctions
Excerpt: Turkey will continue to buy natural gas from Iran despite the prospect of tighter US sanctions, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, indicating the measures are not likely to have much impact on the countries' gold-for-gas trade. (Ah, Turkey, our NATO ally, becoming more Islamist by the week. What’s a few A-bombs between friends? If the EU lets them in, you will know that Europe is truly lost. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: A 22-year-old youth, accused of burning a copy of the Holy Quran, died in police custody at Warburton police station on Sunday, The Express Tribune has learnt. (The punishment for blasphemy is death under Shari’a Law. And claiming that God had a son is blasphmy to Muslims—remember that when they want to outlaw blasphemy. ~Bob.

Excerpt: Krugman makes two assertions over and over again in his columns: (1) that government health care is more efficient than private health care and (2) that the health care systems of other countries are more efficient than our own (presumably because other countries have more government involvement). In both cases, the underlying premise is that there is some fundamental difference between public and private health insurance. This is a belief widely held both on the left and the right of the political spectrum. It is a belief that is wrong. One source of the error is the mistaken idea that Medicare and Medicaid are actually run by the government. They aren’t. Medicare in the United States is managed almost everywhere by BlueCross, Humana, WellPoint and other private contractors.

Longtime Cape Cod Times reporter admits to fabricating sources since 1998. By Derek J. Anderson
Excerpt: The Cape Cod Times issued an apology to its readers Tuesday after reporting that a longtime reporter wrote dozens of stories that included sources that do not exist. (Four sentence story about 14 years of lies, or would this be classified “inaccurate reporting?” I wonder how many people were hurt by this reporter? --Al P.)

Anti-Morsi protester to Obama: ‘Your bitch is our dictator’ (Picture)
How’s that reset with the Muslim World working out? ~Bob

Jack Brooks, Former Texas Congressman (And Marine), Dies at 89
Excerpt: Jack Brooks, an irascible, cigar-chomping former Texas congressman who over 42 years defied fellow Southerners to support civil rights, investigated abuses by Presidents Nixon and Reagan and repeatedly attacked government waste, down to the cost of wrenches, died on Tuesday night in Beaumont, Tex. … He joined the Marines as a private in World War II, and fought in Guadalcanal, Guam, Okinawa and North China. He was discharged as a first lieutenant, and was a colonel in the Marine Corps reserve until 1972.

Kofi Annan urges Kenyans not to vote for indicted politicians
Wouldn’t be welcome in Chicago! ~Bob.

How to Build an Army in Your Basement: From homemade rockets to car bombs, take a look at the weapons that Syria’s rebels are using to defeat Bashar al-Assad.
Excerpt: Syrian rebels mill around an open lot under a blue sky; off camera, a group chants "God is great." The spoils of a recent raid are laid out before them -- a collection of T-55 tanks and the BMP series of infantry fighting vehicles.

Detroit councilwoman to Obama: We voted for you, now bail us out
Excerpt: City Council member JoAnn Watson said Tuesday the citizens support of Obama in last month's election was enough reason for the president to bailout the struggling the city. (Click the video player to listen) (The problem with becoming popular by filling out-stretched hands, is that the hands filled don’t go away, and more join them. ~Bob.)

Worth reading: Fiscal Cliff Notes: Part II. By Thomas Sowell 
Excerpt: What is remarkable is how easy it is to show how completely false Obama's argument is. … What both the statistical tables in the "Economic Report of the President" and the graphs in Investor's Business Daily show is that (1) tax revenues went up-- not down-- after tax rates were cut during the Bush administration, and (2) the budget deficit declined, year after year, after the cut in tax rates that have been blamed by Obama for increasing the deficit.

Christmas for Obama Bundlers. By Michelle Malkin 
Excerpt: It's time to pass out the goodies. While President Obama's lips champion the middle class, his administration's old hands are preparing to lavish rewards on the creme de la campaign creme: his wealthiest political donors. (It’s The Chicago way! ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Future Generations. By Walter E. Williams 
Excerpt: Moreover, since tomorrow's Americans don't vote, we can dump on them with impunity. That's a vision that describes the actual behavior of today's Americans. It would be seen as selfish, callous and ruthless only if it were actually articulated. (The public has voted to loot future generations, who will loath us in their misery. ~Bob.)

Workplace Freedom States Soared While Ohio and Michigan Economies Crashed. By Jason Hart 
Damn. Another weird coincidence. ~Bob. Excerpt: Job creation in Ohio lagged far behind all 22 workplace freedom states from 1991 to 2011, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records. Without cherry-picking data as union bosses must in order to defend forced unionism, total seasonally adjusted non-farm employment growth shows a huge advantage for residents of right to work states.

Excerpt: So is the real problem the declining intelligence and taste of the average 17-year-old male, or is it the declining intelligence and taste of Hollywood, or do the two — along with the declining intelligence and taste of the American education system — combine to form the complete Red Queen’s Race to the bottom? I’d blame the latter scenario, especially after contemplating what the average 17-year-old male likely dug when he went to the movies over the years:

The Budget Baseline Con: How Washington fools the public about spending 'cuts.'
Excerpt: Here's the reality: Those numbers have no real meaning because they are conjured in the wilderness of mirrors that is the federal budget process. Since 1974, Capitol Hill's "baseline" has automatically increased spending every year according to Congressional Budget Office projections, which means before anyone has submitted a budget or cast a single vote. Tax and spending changes are then measured off that inflated baseline, not in absolute terms.

Quotes from The Patriot Post
It is the fundamental theory of all the more recent American law ... that the average citizen is half-witted, and hence not to be trusted to either his own devices or his own thoughts. --American journalist H. L. Mencken 

Last year, our plucky heroine, the wholesome apple-cheeked American republic, was trapped in an express elevator hurtling out of control toward the debt ceiling. Would she crash into it? Or would she make some miraculous escape? Yes! At the very last minute of her white-knuckle thrill ride to her rendezvous with destiny, she was rescued by Congress' decision to set up ... a Super Committee! Those who can, do. Those who can't, form a committee. Those who really can't, form a Super Committee -- and then put John Kerry on it for good measure. --columnist Mark Steyn

A new report shows that, in Virginia, gun violence has fallen as the sale of firearms has soared to a new record. In other news, a recent study shows that most criminals don't like getting shot at. --Fred Thompson

Progressives Support Welfare for the Rich. By Jacob Sullum
Excerpt: Since Republicans are pushing entitlement reform and Democrats like taking money from rich people, you might think they could agree on means-testing Medicare and Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal. Yet many Democrats are surprisingly hostile to the idea of tailoring these programs to help people who actually need them.

Taxpayer-Backed ‘Green’ Energy Companies Announce Plans To Expand…In China. By Becket Adams
Who says Obama isn’t creating jobs? ~Bob. Excerpt: Solar companies SunPower Corp., which received a conditional guarantee for a $1.2 billion loan from the feds in the spring of 2011, and First Solar Inc., which received a $4.5 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department the same year, announced on Monday their plans to expand — in China.

Are food stamps a perk for ‘paid government volunteers’? By Joel Gehrke
Excerpt: Two Senate Republicans identified a welfare loophole that allows ‘paid government volunteers’ in AmeriCorps to receive food stamps from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — for which they should not qualify, as a rule — in addition to a stipend from the government.

Dems: Federal health programs should cover DREAMers
Excerpt: Federal healthcare programs should cover the children of illegal immigrants, a group of House Democrats says. Democrats are asking the Obama administration to make healthcare available to children who are able to stay in the U.S. under the deferred-action immigration policy that President Obama announced earlier this year. (If China invades us, the Democrats will give their troops free health care. ~Bob.)
CAIR Targets Morsi/Brotherhood Critics
Excerpt: Although the document declares a right to freedom of speech, it also includes a prohibition on "insults" to "religious prophets." Another provision would require government authorization to operate a website. Wednesday's clashes targeted several hundred anti-Morsi protesters who had camped out near the presidential palace.

MATH: The President’s plan to increase taxes on “wealthy” covers government spending for only EIGHT DAYS.

If Pres Obama wants shared sacrifice & a balanced approach, Clinton era spending levels should come with Clinton tax rates. That's balance.

Fence in Detroit and rename it DNC National Park.

Citigroup Job Cuts: Bank Plans To Slash 11,000 Jobs In Aim To Save As Much As $1.1 Billion Per Year
Excerpt: Citigroup Inc, which has lagged behind its peers in recovering from the financial crisis, said it is cutting 11,000 jobs worldwide, about 4 percent of its staff, to save as much as $1.1 billion a year in expenses. (guess they won’t be going to Hawaii with Obama for Christmas, huh? ~Bob.)

Biggs and Richwine: The Underworked Public Employee: The cliché is true: Government workers do tend to take it easier than their private counterparts.
Excerpt: But supporters of more federal aid implicitly assume that the size of the public sector was optimal before the recession. On the contrary, overstaffing is a serious problem in government, and the best evidence is a simple empirical fact: Government employees don't work as much as private employees. (Show me your shocked face. ~Bob.)

After Practical Joke In Major Policy Poll, Politicos Take To Twitter To Poke Fun At Clueless Respondents
Excerpt: The only problem? There’s no such thing as a “Panetta-Burns” plan. The question was an artifice the pollsters were using to measure the likely amount of people that would give an opinion about an issue they had never heard about before. The answer, it seems, is one in four Americans voters. (No surprise. A few years ago, hundreds of people signed petitions to ban Dihydrogen Oxide (H20), because it killed hundreds every year and was now in our food and drinking water. ~Bob.)

Boehner recruits 2011 Obama for fiscal cliff talks. By Neil Monro
Excerpt: Boehner’s office highlighted Obama’s 2011 claim that $1.2 trillion could be extracted in extra revenues, even without extra tax-rates. (If you disagree with Obama on this, you’re a racist! ~Bob.)

To What Lengths Did Someone Go to Scapegoat George Zimmerman?
Excerpt: Seen in color, the “thug” who might be, becomes a wounded young man. (…) Instead of being a white ghoul emerging from shadows, he is a wounded man sitting in a car after a life-changing, possibly life-destroying, event has happened. (…) From that color photo, taken in color at high resolution by law enforcement officers moments after the altercation, someone manufactured the grainy black and white photo and made the decision to hand that version, but not the full color version, over to Zimmerman’s defense. (Though it provides few or no answers, this column asks many questions that every reader/viewer should be asking. It seems the MSM may not be the only one with an agenda to try to make the facts fit. “White Hispanic,” indeed! Ron P.)

Excerpt: The Davis Petraeus saga is another urban legend; a myth about a great man felled by a single flaw or indiscretion. The truth is that Petraeus is a bit player in a larger, uglier drama, the political corruption the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and that exclusive four star glut that sits atop the military. And the rot didn't start with Petraeus. (A no-holds-barred review of the situation of high ranking officers who are more politically skilled than renowned for actual combat leadership. The writer is harsh in style but his analysis of what goes on in the upper ranks is factual. In a system where political skills are of paramount importance, it's not surprising at all that things start happening with poor results. The answer would have to involve the President and the key appointees who control the military, who are the only ones who can even try to change the political structure that dominates the military today. --Del)

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