Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Sunday 'Report;' 09/02/2012 [Part #2]

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood
A recent case sheds light on the organization, but most Republicans ignore it.
by Andrew C. McCarthy,
August 25, 2012
    I’m a big fan of the 1 percent. No, not the dastardly 1 percent of Occupy Wall Street myth; I’m partial, instead, to the 1 percent of Congress that takes seriously the threat of Islamic-supremacist influence operations against our government. The people have 435 representatives serving in the House and another hundred in the Senate. Of these 535, a total of 288 are Republicans — 241 and 47 in the lower and upper chambers, respectively. Of these, only five House conservatives — five — have had the fortitude to raise concerns about the Islamist connections of government officials entrusted with positions enabling them to shape U.S. policy.
    Think about that. Republicans purport to be the national-security party. For decades this claim was well founded, starting with Ronald Reagan’s clarity in seeing the Soviets as enemies to be defeated, not accommodated. President Reagan’s plan for the Cold War was, “We win, they lose,” and he pulled it off because he was not under any illusions about who “they” were. But something happened to the GOP in the Bush years. For all the welcome understanding that Bill Clinton was wrong — that the jihad could not be indicted into submission — the Bush administration never learned a fundamental truth that Reagan knew only too well: [....]

Hero Reagan’s Compromise Would Collide With Tea Party Certitude

by Michael Tackett,
August 28, 2012
    Ronald Reagan remains the modern Republican Party’s most durable hero. His memory will be hailed as The Great Uncompromiser by those who insist the GOP must never flag in its support for smaller government, lower taxes and conservative social values.
His record tells a different story.
During Reagan’s eight years in the White House, the federal payroll grew by more than 300,000 workers. Although he was a net tax cutter who slashed individual income-tax rates, Reagan raised taxes about a dozen times. His rhetoric matched that of many of today’s most ardent Christian conservatives, yet he proved to be a reluctant warrior on abortion and other social issues. Perhaps most tellingly, he was willing to cut deals, working closely with Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts to overhaul Social Security and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois to revamp the tax code.
    That record prompted President Barack Obama in April to invoke a predecessor’s words about tax fairness, quoting a story about an executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary and millionaires who exploited loopholes to pay no taxes while a bus driver paid his fair share.
“That wild-eyed socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan,” Obama said.
More Complicated
It isn’t that Reagan wasn’t a true believer. He was simply more complicated than that. [....]

A Comrade is Born
by John Ransom,
September 2, 2012
Macroman wrote:
 No one detests President Obama more than I, but I must point out two overstatements in this column. 1. "...employment in 2012 is roughly the same as it was back in 2001...Obama has compressed a lost decade into just three years." Labor force participation has been declining since 2000, not just 2008. That seems a partial reversal of the increase that occurred since about 1965. Obama had little to do with any of it.
Dear Comrade Macroman,
Yes, labor force participation rates have been going down since 2000. But to pretend that Obama has no blame for the precipitous drop in those rates since he became president is willful malpractice by economists. By official count we’ve been out of the recession for a while. But still we’ve seen not just a decline in labor participation rates, but a plunge in those rates since Obama became president. Compare the rates between [....]

Ann Romney, Energized
by Salena Zito, 
September 2, 2012
    Ann Romney said on Wednesday that she felt welcomed and energized when she stepped onto the stage here at the Republican National Convention to introduce her husband, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to millions of Americans watching on television. The most important reviews of the speech came moments later from her five sons and daughters-in-law and their 18 children, who greeted her with tears and hugs. As she detailed the night before, family came first.
“You know that kind of love and support that you get from your family? Well, it was that kind of reaction,” she said during an interview with the Tribune-Review at the Tampa Marriot Waterside. “And I was like, ‘Oh, it was OK then?’ ”
“The grandchildren tackled me at the end, just tackled me.”
The interview occurred a few hours before Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin addressed the nation for the first time as the GOP vice presidential nominee. After 18 months of campaigning, Ann Romney said she feels confident and encouraged about her husband’s chances of taking the White House.  Earlier in the day, Ann Romney and Janna Ryan, the wife of his running mate, teamed up to [....]

Appropriations Tracker: FY 2013
by Patrick Louis Knudsen and Emily Goff
June 27, 2012
    Both the House and the Senate are proceeding with appropriations, the annual spending measures due by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. Appropriations, which make up about one-third of the federal budget, are “discretionary” spending, meaning they require annual legislative approval. By contrast, mandatory or “direct” spending—the kind that funds government entitlement programs—runs on autopilot. This year’s Heritage Foundation Appropriations Tracker will follow the developments with regular updates. [....]

Conflict Minerals: Another of Dodd–Frank’s Hidden Costs

by Jim Roberts,
August 23, 2012
    On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a little-known section (and there are many) of the Dodd–Frank financial regulation bill that will end up doing the most harm to the people in the Congo that it purports to help. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Title XV, Section 1502, requires private companies (of any size) to disclose whether any “conflict minerals” that are necessary to the functionality or production of a product have “originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country.” The law imposes what seem to be onerous and expensive due diligence reporting requirements on those private companies, including the establishment of a “chain of custody of those minerals” that must be independently audited.
Gee, that sounds simple, right? Not really.
As The Wall Street Journal opined in July, this “conflict minerals” provision is a case study of “regulatory mission creep.” Where have we heard that before? Actually, it turns out that a great many efforts by do-gooders and nanny-state scolds seeking to impose Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on the world’s “greedy” private sector end up with similarly negative outcomes. Good for bureaucrats, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other enablers. Bad for real people. Now that the rule has been adopted, it could end up benefitting foreign competitors of U.S. companies. And Section 1502 will have a negative [....]
The First Class Begins September 4!
About Our Course on The Progressives' Rejection of the Constitution
by Dr Larry Arnn,
Hillsdale College
August 30, 2012

“The Progressive Rejection of the Founding and the Rise of Bureaucratic Despotism” is a 10-week online course presented by Hillsdale College. The course covers the historical roots and principles of progressivism; its rejection of America’s founding principles and Constitution; its political successes in the New Deal, the Great Society, and in recent years; the ongoing political debate between progressives and conservatives; and the chance of a constitutional revival.
In this course, you can: [....]

Countering Workplace Violence

by Scott Stewart,
August 30, 2012

    On the morning of Aug. 24, Jeffrey Johnson returned to his former place of work, Hazan Import Corp., and waited on the street outside the building. Johnson, who was wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, blended into the crowd of people on the street who were rushing to work that morning. As one of Hazan Import's executives, Stephen Ercolino, approached the building, Johnson drew a pistol from his bag and gunned Ercolino down with no warning, making Ercolino a victim of workplace violence. Media reports suggest that Johnson and Ercolino had been involved in several confrontations, at least one of which became physical, and that Johnson held Ercolino responsible for his being laid off. Each of the men had also reportedly filed police reports claiming the other had threatened him.
     Violence in the workplace is a serious security problem in the United States and elsewhere, although it is not nearly as widespread as the media coverage suggests. On average, there are around 500 workplace homicides per year in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were 518 workplace homicides, and only 12 percent were conducted by a co-worker or former co-worker. This means that while workplace violence incidents tend to get a lot of media attention -- even more so when an incident occurs near the Empire State Building, like the Johnson incident -- they are not common.  Still, while not all that common, incidents of workplace violence are serious. They are also, in most cases, preventable.
Incident Profiles
Threats or other indicators, like Johnson's previous confrontations with Ercolino, almost always precede a workplace homicide involving a co-worker. In workplace violence cases, it is very unusual for a person to just snap and go on a shooting rampage. Almost every case [....]

Cronyism: Crushing the Free Market and Promoting Rent-Seeking
by Romina Boccia,
August 28, 2012
    Imagine your son or daughter aspiring to be a government crony instead of an engineer or business owner. That nightmare scenario plays out in a new video by Crony Chronicles, a website that fights cronyism. In the video, kids who might otherwise have become doctors and architects aspire instead to work in powerful government agencies or to become lobbyists to help put rules in place that favor their friends. Crony Chronicles describes cronyism as follows:
Cronyism occurs when an individual or organization colludes with government officials to create unfair legislation and/or regulations which give them forced benefits they could not have otherwise obtained voluntarily. Those benefits come at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, and everyone working hard to compete in the marketplace.
A system of political favoritism is increasingly encroaching on America’s [....]

May His Name Because Sign Language Version Resembles ‘Weapons’

by Erica Ritz,
August 28, 2012

    A deaf 3-year-old from Nebraska is being asked by the school district to change his name, his family alleges, because the way he refers to himself in sign language resembles “weapons.” Apparently the Grand Island school district has a policy that prevents students from bringing “any instrument…that looks like a weapon” to school, and now hands can be considered “instruments.”
“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,”
Hunter Spanjer’s grandmother Janet Logue said.
Brian Spanjer, the boy’s father, [....]

DNC Makes Plans For Islamic Prayer

by Bryan Nash,
Personal Liberty Digest
August 29, 2012

    Some 20,000 Muslims are expected to attend the Democratic National Convention.The Democratic National Convention will be supporting an Islamic Jumah prayer, a prayer said by Muslims on Fridays. The event is “intended to address the concerns and issues that are challenging to the American Muslim citizens in the 21st century.” The plan to proceed with the event comes as a shock to some, given that the Democratic Party did not respond to a Catholic bishop’s request to pray at the DNC.
    As many as 20,000 Muslims are expected to attend as a way to show their concerns in regard to Muslim rights in the United States. Topics of interest include the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act. “Thousands of Muslims are going to perform the Friday ritual prayer,” said Jibril Hough, a local Muslim activist. “We hope our people will leave feeling rewarded about who they are and what their issues are and have a candidate checklist.” But not all Muslims are [....]

Domestic Terrorism: A Persistent Threat in the United States
by Scott Stewart,
August 23, 2012

    A string of incidents over the past month has served as a reminder that despite the intense, decadelong focus on the jihadist threat, domestic terrorism is still an issue in the United States. On Aug. 5, Wade Page opened fire on the congregation of a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and wounding three others. Though Page killed himself and did not leave any evidence explicitly listing his motives for the attack, his long association with the white supremacist movement was clearly a factor in his target choice.
    On Aug. 15, Floyd Corkins shot and wounded a security guard in the lobby of the Family Research Council's office in Washington after the guard blocked him from entering the office. Corkins reportedly was carrying a bag containing a box of ammunition and a number of Chick-fil-A sandwiches. He apparently targeted the Family Research Council because of its public support for Chick-fil-A in the wake of the controversy over statements made by the fast food chain's founder regarding gay marriage. According to media reports, Corkins said, "I don't like your politics," before opening fire. And on Aug. 16, an off-duty sheriff's deputy was shot and wounded while working as a security guard at an oil refinery in St. John the Baptist Parish, La. When two other deputies responded to a nearby trailer park where a vehicle reportedly associated with the shooting was spotted, the trailers' occupants ambushed and killed the deputies. An additional officer was wounded, along with two of the suspects involved in the shooting, Brian Smith and Kyle Joekel. Seven people have been arrested [....]

Faking The News

by Ben Crystal,
Personal Liberty Digest
August 29, 2012
    On the day Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, one peculiarly left-leaning outlet literally devoted its entire broadcast day to shamelessly cheerleading Obama’s transparently empty promises of “hope and change.” The fact that Obama’s campaign slogan was lifted from the Eddie Murphy movie “The Distinguished Gentleman” missed the irony-proof liberals manning the wheel at this outlet; they were too busy shamelessly promoting the man while he doubtless planned which part of the oath of office he intended to abrogate first. Which outlet? The obvious guess is the Democrat Channel (aka MSNBC) but those tinfoil-hat brigadiers were simply outdone in creepily fawning over the community organizer from the front pew at Jeremiah Wright’s “church.”
    In this instance, it wasn’t TV; it was HBO. Ignoring their subscribers, HBO presented “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.” It was hardly the first time HBO, which once aired “Hacking Democracy” (a film based on the entirely discredited Democrat claims of vote rigging in Ohio in 2004), turned its programming into applause for the leftist cause du jour. Indeed, although not a basic cable channel, HBO has devolved from a good spot to see feature films from the comfort of the couch to another mouthpiece for the misogyny, racism and hypocrisy that have turned liberalism into one of the more pressing threats to freedom in existence.
    Among the lowlights shining on the channel: multimillionaire misogynist and Obama donor Bill Maher. But Maher has fellow travelers on the road to ruin. Ex-(probably) crackhead Aaron Sorkin, the man who brought you the occasionally brilliant “The West Wing” and the routinely horrendous “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” fills up an hour of HBO’s airtime each week with a show entitled “The Newsroom.” Purportedly a show about the inner workings of [....]

First, Throw Out the Wonks

by John Ransom,
August 29, 2012We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.-
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
    Now that the Congressional Budget Office has rescored the six-month budget deal that the GOP and the Dems entered into to avoid an unseemly government shutdown before election day, the GOP isn’t pleased. That’s because the new budget numbers say that since spending was lower than projected in fiscal 2012 then spending has to be higher in 2013.
“CBO told House appropriators this week that government spending in 2012 is at a lower rate than anticipated,” reports the Hill, “making it clear that [the] deal on 2013 appropriations will increase spending by $8 billion.” [Editor’s emphasis]
And people say that Washington is broken. Ha!
Well thank God for Washington, DC [....]

57 Members of Congress Own This Well-Known Stock
by Paul Tracy,
September 2, 2012    The venerable TV investigative journalism program "60 Minutes" recently blew the lid off a story we've been tracking for months. And you absolutely won't believe it when you hear about it.
Congress was trading on insider information -- and it was 100% legal.
Here's an excerpt from the "60 Minutes" Report:
"In mid September 2008, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average still above 10,000, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were holding closed-door briefings with congressional leaders, and privately warning them that a global financial meltdown could occur within a few days. One of those attending was Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus, then the ranking Republican member on the House Financial Services Committee and now its chairman.
While Congressman Bachus was publicly trying to keep the economy from cratering, he was privately betting that it would, buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down. He would make a variety of trades and profited at a time when most Americans were losing their shirts."
And this isn't the only case. There's plenty of documentation [....]
Top 3 Small Business Struggles
Staff Report,
August 29, 2012

    Small businesses are getting a lot of focus from politicians, because they are a key engine of job creation—which has stalled in the U.S. economy. A Republican National Convention theme of "We Built It" continued the political debate over the economy yesterday. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in July revealed that small businesses' top three concerns were taxes, regulations, and poor sales. A quick look at these top three small business struggles shows they have every reason to be demoralized.
1. Taxes
Small businesses are under enormous threats from looming tax hikes. President Obama is advocating a tax hike on the country's job creators—the at least 1.2 million small businesses that employ workers and make more than $200,000. Known as flow-through businesses, these entrepreneurs pay their taxes through the individual income tax. A study by Ernst & Young estimates that this tax hike would kill about 710,000 jobs and cause real wages to drop.
This tax hike, however, is just a portion [....]   New York Times Fact Checkers: Bed Rest is Work
by Ann Coulter,
Aug 29, 2012
     Poor Mickey Kaus. He's the liberal intellectual (not an oxymoron -- he's the last known living "liberal intellectual") lefties on TV are usually stealing from, but now that this welfare reform maven has concluded that Romney's welfare ad is basically correct, liberals refuse to acknowledge his existence. The non-Fox media have formed a solid front in denouncing Romney's welfare ad for daring to point out that Obama has gutted the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform bill.
    The New York Times claims that Romney's ad "falsely" charges Obama with eliminating work requirements. CNN rates the ad "false." Underemployed hack Howard Fineman says Romney's ad "is just flat out wrong on the facts" and "that every fair analyst, every fact checker" has said it's "just factually wrong." When a campaign ad induces this much hysteria, you know Romney has struck gold. On closer examination, it turns out that by "every fair analyst," Fineman means a bunch of liberals quoting one another. This is how the media's "fact checkers" operate when it comes to a Republican campaign ad. One not very well-informed person (or a heavily biased person) announces that Romney's welfare ad is false, and the rest of the herd quote him, without anyone ever bothering to examine the facts, much less citing anyone who knows what he's talking about.
    It is striking that everyone who actually knows something about the 1996 welfare reform law says that Romney's ad is accurate. One of the principal authors of the 1996 welfare reform, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, and Douglas Besharov, who advised Hillary Clinton on the 1996 welfare reform law, say Romney's ad is accurate. Andrew Grossman, also of Heritage, produced something the MSM "fact checkers" avoid: a specific and detailed explanation of how the new waivers will allow states to evade the work requirements.
    Even Ron Haskins, one of the reform bill's authors now at the liberal Brookings Institution -- cited far and wide for "blasting" Romney's ad -- doesn't deny the Obama administration plans to waive the work requirements. He just says he supports waivers for "job training." That's not disputing the accuracy of Romney's ads.
A lot of Americans don't [....]

President Obama’s 2013 Budget Delivers Tax Hikes, More Spending, More Debt
by Patrick Louis Knudsen,
February 28, 2012

Abstract: The President’s 2013 budget, released on February 13, repeats the stale and unsuccessful policies of the past three years. The Administration’s apparent vision is one of bigger government, more spending, higher taxes, and deeper deficits. At a time when runaway spending and swelling deficits must be reversed, President Obama increases both. Moreover, he neglects to deal with the biggest drivers of spending and debt: the entitlement programs. In his first post-debt-ceiling budget, President Obama appears to have offered an election-year campaign document, not a credible blueprint for addressing the nation’s fiscal and economic problems. Heritage Foundation experts analyzed the President’s FY 2013 budget, offering their insights on a wide range of policy issues in an “immediate-reaction roundup” blog. This Backgrounder is a compilation of their contributions.
Higher Taxes and More Spending and Debt
In President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget[1]—delayed by a week without explanation—spending rises inexorably from today’s $3.8 trillion to $5.8 trillion in 2022. Throughout the decade, outlays hold stubbornly above 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), more than twice the New Deal’s share of the economy in its peak years. In constant dollars, outlays are more than three times the peak of World War II. The President is proposing to increase spending immediately in 2012; he proposes a spending boost in FY 2012 to get the economy going. The President’s budget delivers a fourth consecutive annual deficit exceeding $1 trillion, and then makes it worse with another round of not-so-shovel-ready construction projects and government “investments” totaling $178 billion. Among these are the typical road, bridge, and school construction—then they go alarmingly beyond the usual “infrastructure” arguments to fund teachers’ pay.
    Obama’s future deficit reduction comes mainly from Budget Control Act cuts already in place, $848 billion in discredited phantom “savings” from the wind-down of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,[2] taking credit for reductions in 2011 appropriations, and roughly $1.8 trillion in unnecessary tax increases[3] for those earning more than $250,000 and for the oil and gas industries. Yet even with the hefty tax increases and illusory savings, the President’s deficits over the next decade only fall below $575 billion once (in 2018) and climb back to $704 billion (in 2022)—again, only assuming the tax [....]

The Geography of Iranian Power by Robert D. Kaplan
August 29, 2012
Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Robert D. Kaplan's new book, The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate, which will be released Sept. 11.
    The most important facts about Iran go unstated because they are so obvious. Any glance at a map would tell us what they are. And these facts explain how regime change or evolution in Tehran -- when, not if, it comes -- will dramatically alter geopolitics from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent and beyond. Virtually all of the Greater Middle East's oil and natural gas lies either in the Persian Gulf or the Caspian Sea regions. Just as shipping lanes radiate from the Persian Gulf, pipelines will increasingly radiate from the Caspian region to the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, China and the Indian Ocean. The only country that straddles both energy-producing areas is Iran, stretching as it does from the Caspian to the Persian Gulf. In a raw materials' sense, Iran is the Greater Middle East's universal joint.
    The Persian Gulf possesses by some accounts 55 percent of the world's crude oil reserves, and Iran dominates the whole Gulf, from the Shatt al-Arab on the Iraqi border to the Strait of Hormuz 990 kilometers (615 miles) away. Because of its bays, inlets, coves and islands -- excellent places for hiding suicide, tanker-ramming speed boats -- Iran's coastline inside the Strait of Hormuz is 1,356 nautical miles; the next longest, that of the United Arab Emirates, is only 733 nautical miles. Iran also has 480 kilometers of Arabian Sea frontage, including the port of Chabahar near the Pakistani border. This makes Iran vital to providing warm water, Indian Ocean access to the [....]

US Breaks Arms Sales Record
Night Watch,
August 29, 2012     Pakistan: Today, the Supreme Court gave Prime Minister Ashraf three more weeks in which to decide to comply with the court's order or refuse with the risk of being ousted from office like his predecessor, Prime Minister Gilani. The decision followed an appearance by Prime Minister Ashraf before the judges. The prime minister asked for more time which the court gave him, apparently in the interest of stable government. The case was adjourned to 18 September.
Comment: Readers will recall that the Supreme Court ordered the government to write a letter to Swiss authorities to resume judicial procedures against President Zardari that pre-date his selection as president of Pakistan. NightWatch reports on this issue have generated significant feedback, universally in support of Zardari and in support of the principle that a serving head of state or government cannot be sued.
    NightWatch did extra research into the Zardari case. While he and his late wife Benazir Bhutto were in exile from Pakistan, Swiss courts convicted him of corruption. Zardari appealed the conviction in Switzerland. According to the NightWatch research, the Swiss proceeding [....]

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy Until Next Sunday....



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