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Monday, June 25, 2012

Politics, Pettiness, Personalities and US Troops Dying in Afghanistan


‘Little America’: Infighting on Obama team squandered chance for peace in Afghanistan

By Published: June 24

Excerpted from “Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.”

In late March 2010, President Obama’s national security adviser, James L. Jones, summoned Richard C. Holbrooke to the White House for a late-afternoon conversation. The two men rarely had one-on-one meetings, even though Holbrooke, the State Department’s point man for Afghanistan, was a key member of Obama’s war cabinet.
As Holbrooke entered Jones’s West Wing office, he sensed that the discussion was not going to be about policy, but about him. Holbrooke believed his principal mission was to accomplish what he thought Obama wanted: a peace deal with the Taliban. The challenge energized Holbrooke, who had more experience with ending wars than anyone in the administration. In 1968, he served on the U.S. delegation to the Paris peace talks with North Vietnam. And in 1995, he forged a deal in the former Yugoslavia to end three years of bloody sectarian fighting.
The discussion quickly wound to Jones’s main point: He told Holbrooke that he should start considering his “exit strategy” from the administration.

As he left the meeting, Holbrooke pulled out his trump card — a call to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was traveling in Saudi Arabia. The following week, Clinton went to see Obama armed with a list of Holbrooke’s accomplishments. “Mr. President,” she said, “you can fire Richard Holbrooke — over the objection of your secretary of state.” But Jim Jones, Clinton said, could not.

Obama backed down, but Jones didn’t, nor did others at the White House. Instead of capitalizing on Holbrooke’s experience and supporting his push for reconciliation with the Taliban, White House officials dwelled on his shortcomings — his disorganization, his manic intensity, his thirst for the spotlight, his dislike of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, his tendency to badger fellow senior officials. At every turn, they sought to marginalize him and diminish his influence.

The infighting exacted a staggering cost: The Obama White House failed to aggressively explore negotiations to end the war when it had the most boots on the battlefield.

Even after Obama decided not to fire Holbrooke, Jones and his top deputy for Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, kept adding items to a dossier of Holbrooke’s supposed misdeeds that Lute was compiling. They even drafted a cover letter that called him ineffective because he had ruined his relationships with Karzai, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul and officials in the Pakistani government. Lute told NSC staffers that he and Jones planned to use the information to persuade the president to override Clinton’s objection.

In the interim, Jones and Lute sought to put Holbrooke into a box. Officials at the National Security Council would schedule key meetings when Holbrooke was out of town. When they didn’t want him to travel to the region, they refused to allow him to use a military airplane. They even sought to limit the number of aides Holbrooke could take on his trips.

Lute and other NSC staffers cooked up their most audacious plan to undercut Holbrooke shortly before Karzai’s visit to Washington in April 2010. They arranged for him to be excluded from Obama’s Oval Office meeting with the Afghan leader, and then they planned to give Obama talking points for the session that would slight Holbrooke. Among the lines they wanted the president to deliver to Karzai: Everyone in this room represents me and has my trust. The implication would be that Holbrooke, who would not be present, was not Obama’s man. The scheme was foiled when Clinton insisted that Holbrooke attend the session.

With Clinton protecting him, Holbrooke spent far less time worrying about how to save his job than Lute spent trying to fire him. “Doug is out of his depth fighting with me,” Holbrooke told one of his aides. “The White House can’t afford to get rid of me.”

Obama could have ordered a stop to the infighting; after all, he favored a negotiated end to the war. But his sympathies lay with his NSC staffers — Holbrooke’s frenetic behavior was the antithesis of Obama’s “no-drama” rule. The president never granted Holbrooke a one-on-one session in the Oval Office, and when he traveled to Afghanistan in March 2010, he took more than a dozen staffers, but not Holbrooke, who was not even informed of the trip in advance. During the Situation Room sessions to discuss Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s request for more forces in late 2009, Obama kept his views about surging to himself, but he was far less reticent about Holbrooke. At the start of one meeting, Holbrooke gravely compared the “momentous decision” Obama faced to what Lyndon B. Johnson had grappled with during the Vietnam War. “Richard,” Obama said, “do people really talk like that?”
The president’s lack of support devastated Holbrooke’s loyal staff members, who were just as skeptical of the military’s counterinsurgency strategy as Lute and others in the White House were. “The tragedy of it all is that Richard’s views about all of this stuff — about the surge, about Pakistan and about reconciliation — were probably closer to the president’s than anyone else in the administration,” said former Holbrooke senior adviser Vali Nasr, now the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “If the president had wanted to, he could have found a kindred spirit in Richard.”

No clear path to peace


To Holbrooke, a towering man with an irrepressible personality, brokering a deal with the Taliban was the only viable strategy to end the war.

He was convinced that the military’s goal of defeating the Taliban would be too costly and time-consuming, and the chances of success were almost nil, given the safe havens in Pakistan, the corruption of Karzai’s government and the sorry state of the Afghan army.

Obama told his aides that he was interested in a peace deal, and less than two months after he took office, the president said publicly that he was open to seeking reconciliation with the Taliban, comparing such an effort to a U.S. initiative to work with former Sunni militants in Iraq who were willing to break with al-Qaeda.

His comments alarmed top military and intelligence officials. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, chief of U.S. Central Command, thought it was too soon even to talk about talking. They wanted to commit more troops first and then talk, but only to Taliban leaders who agreed to surrender. CIA officials argued that the United States could not negotiate with the Taliban until its leadership denounced al-Qaeda.

There was no clear path for Holbrooke to achieve peace talks. The Taliban had no office, mailing address, or formal structure. It was not clear that its leader, the reclusive Mullah Mohammed Omar, wanted to talk — in 2009, the Taliban appeared to be winning — or whether he and his fellow mullahs would accept the United States’ conditions for negotiations: that they renounce violence, break with al-Qaeda and embrace the Afghan constitution.
Even if they did, would the terms be acceptable to the Karzai government? What about Pakistan and other neighboring powers? If Holbrooke was going to have any chance of success, he needed the backing of others in the administration, starting with the president.

But the White House never issued a clear policy on reconciliation during the administration’s first two years. Instead of finding common purpose with Holbrooke, White House officials were consumed with fighting him. Jones and Lute hated the thought of Holbrooke basking in the spotlight as he did after peace in the Balkans. They wanted him out of the way, and then they would chart a path to peace.

Staffs at war


At the White House, most of the day-to-day combat with Holbrooke was led by Lute. He had joined the George W. Bush White House as an active-duty three-star general to serve as the Iraq and Afghanistan war czar. When Obama became president, he had decided to keep Lute around, in part because he could warn them if his fellow generals were trying to pull a fast one on the new crop of civilians.

Lute spent much of his time organizing meetings and compiling data that showed how the war was being lost. He believed his work was vital, and he thought that Holbrooke needed to follow his lead. But Holbrooke believed Lute needed to take orders from him, not the other way around. Holbrooke began to treat Lute as an errand boy, sometimes calling four times in an hour.

Lute’s resentment grew with each request that Holbrooke’s office ignored and each State Department memo that had to be revised by the NSC staff. Before long, the two men’s staffs were in open warfare.

Senior officials at the White House let the fighting persist. Holbrooke had no friends on Team Obama. Denis McDonough, then the NSC chief of staff, had been angered by Holbrooke’s strong-arming of Democratic foreign policy experts to support Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. Ben Rhodes, the NSC’s communications director, claimed to colleagues that Holbrooke was the source of leaks of sensitive matters to journalists. And Vice President Biden’s dislike of him dated to Bill Clinton’s administration.

With his frequent references to Vietnam and flair for the dramatic, Holbrooke’s style left him the odd man out with White House advisers. If Obama or Clinton was not at a meeting, Holbrooke insisted on dominating the conversation. He was a throwback to a time when men like Henry Kissinger and George Kennan held unrivaled sway over policy.

“He spoke like a man who just left talking to Kennan — and walked into 2009, still in black and white, with his hat on,” said Vikram Singh, one of his top deputies. “Sometimes it was a bunch of bulls---, and sometimes it was a bunch of wisdom. But if you were this young crowd that came in with Barack Obama, it seemed cartoonish. . . . They weren’t able to hear what he was saying because they were distracted by the mannerisms and the way he did things — and he couldn’t figure that out.”

The only one who understood him was Clinton. She was indebted to Holbrooke for his support during the 2008 primaries and for delivering peace in the Balkans, the most significant diplomatic breakthrough of Bill Clinton’s presidency. She tolerated his idiosyncrasies because she was confident that he’d deliver a breakthrough in Afghanistan.

‘Anybody but Richard’


As the White House and Holbrooke bickered, promising leads withered.
In July 2009, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia sent a personal message to Obama asking him to dispatch someone to meet with a group of Taliban emissaries who had opened up a rare line of communication with the Saudi intelligence service. The Saudi intelligence chief had already met with the U.S. ambassador to Riyadh and the CIA station chief there to discuss the initiative, but the Saudis deemed the discussions so promising that Abdullah asked his ambassador to Washington to discuss the matter with Jones. Holbrooke figured the overture was worth pursuing. But the offer languished at the NSC.

The NSC eventually expressed support for reconciliation in the spring of 2010, but with a twist: Lute favored a U.N. envoy to lead the effort. His preferred candidate was former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi, who had served as a U.N. special representative to Afghanistan. Lute’s plan relegated Holbrooke to a support role.
Lute argued that Brahimi had Karzai’s trust and that he could deal with Iran and Pakistan in ways that a U.S. diplomat couldn’t. There was also the opportunity to shift blame for failure. “If this doesn’t work,” he told colleagues, “do we want to own it or do we want the U.N. to?”

It seemed a masterstroke — except that the Afghan and Pakistani governments despised the idea. Everyone in the region wanted the United States to lead the effort. They knew the United Nations was powerless.
Clinton was furious with Lute. “We don’t outsource our foreign policy,” she declared to Holbrooke and his staff. Then she went to Obama to kill the idea.

Even with Brahimi rejected, Lute resumed his efforts to find someone else to take charge of reconciliation, this time focusing on retired American diplomats.

“It was driven by hatred,” said an NSC staffer who worked for Lute. “Doug wanted anybody but Richard.”

Shift on reconciliation


As Washington officials quarreled, a quiet shift was occurring at the NATO headquarters in Kabul. While other military leaders opposed reconciliation, McChrystal began softening to the idea. His thinking was shaped by Christopher Kolenda, an astute Army colonel who had been working on a program to provide resettlement and job-training to low-level insurgents who wanted to stop fighting. In December 2009, Kolenda explained to McChrystal how Mullah Omar’s annual messages at the Eid-al-Fitr holiday had become more sophisticated and moderate. The Taliban, he told the general, “is opening the aperture for a different outcome.”

As spring turned to summer, McChrystal became a believer. He realized that the United States would not be able to get an outright military victory, and the Afghan government would not be able to get an outright political victory, so a peace deal was the only solution. McChrystal didn’t want to let up on the Taliban just yet, but he said he was ready to “clearly show them there’s daylight if you go to it.” In early June, he directed Kolenda to prepare a briefing for Karzai on reconciliation.

Later that month McChrystal was fired over comments he and some top aides made disparaging American civilian officials. Obama tapped Petraeus, who led the effort to beat back insurgents in Iraq, to replace McChrystal and energize the war effort. When Petraeus arrived in Kabul, he ordered a halt to the military’s reconciliation activities. He told his subordinates that if the Americans applied enough military pressure, the insurgents would switch sides in droves. To some in the headquarters, it sounded as if he wanted to duplicate what had occurred in Iraq’s Anbar province, when Sunni tribesmen had eventually decided to forsake al-Qaeda and side with the United States. Although Obama had mentioned the Sunni Awakening as a possible model in his first public comments on reconciliation, his views had evolved by the summer of 2010. He told his war cabinet that he was open to pursuing negotiations with the enemy, the likes of which never occurred in Iraq. Petraeus’s approach was more akin to accepting a surrender from a rival under siege.

At the White House, Lute and other NSC staffers were so obsessed with Holbrooke that they failed to marshal support among the war cabinet to force Petraeus to shift course. On a visit to Kabul in October 2010, Holbrooke sought to lobby Petraeus directly.

“Dave, we need to talk about reconciliation,” Holbrooke said to Petraeus as they got into an armored sport-utility vehicle, according to Holbrooke’s recollection to his staff.

“Richard, that’s a 15-second conversation,” Petraeus replied. “Yes, eventually. But no. Not now.”

A desire to negotiate


Holbrooke died of a torn aorta on Dec.13, 2010. His memorial service in Washington was held on a chilly January afternoon in the packed opera house of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Obama delivered a eulogy. So did Bill and Hillary Clinton and former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The differences in their speeches revealed how distant Holbrooke’s relationship with Obama had been. The sitting president spoke with eloquence, but his remarks sounded stiff, devoid of a single personal anecdote.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, celebrated the very traits that Jones, Lute and others had derided: “There are many of us in this audience who’ve had the experience of Richard calling 10 times a day if he had to say something urgent, and of course, he believed everything he had to say was urgent. And if he couldn’t reach you, he would call your staff. He’d wait outside your office. He’d walk into meetings to which he was not invited, act like he was meant to be there, and just start talking.”

But it wasn’t until the following month, at a memorial event for Holbrooke in New York, that Clinton said what he really would have wanted to hear: “The security and governance gains produced by the military and civilian surges have created an opportunity to get serious about a responsible reconciliation process.” The United States finally had indicated a clear desire to negotiate with the Taliban.

Clinton also revealed a crucial shift in U.S. policy. The three core American requirements — that the Taliban renounce violence, abandon al-Qaeda and abide by Afghanistan’s constitution — were no longer preconditions for talks but “necessary outcomes of any negotiation.” That meant the Taliban could come as they were. It was the speech that Holbrooke had sought to deliver for a year. Ironically, the only man in the administration to negotiate an end to a war had been an impediment to ending this war.

With Holbrooke gone, Lute stopped insisting on an envoy from outside the State Department. The White House empowered Holbrooke’s successor, diplomat Marc Grossman, to pursue negotiations. And Pentagon and CIA officials ceased their opposition to the prospect of talks with the Taliban.

Although military gains across southern Afghanistan had put the United States in a slightly better negotiating position by that February, nothing had changed fundamentally since Holbrooke’s last push to persuade others in the Obama administration to embrace a peace plan. Nothing except his death.

For more information about “Little America” and to read another excerpt, go to rajivc.com.

106 comments:

  1. Killing, and maiming our young men in Afghanistan while the young people back home are left without jobs or healthcare; Fuck all politicians, all day, every day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sending $360 Billion/Yr to places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq (and spending Billions more stationing Troops, and Aircraft Carriers in the Persian Gulf) all for Big Oil, while all the Republicans can do is yap about some solar energy company that failed. Fuck'em all.

    ReplyDelete
  3. But, the last I heard, Romney's 14% effective tax rate is still safe.

    ReplyDelete
  4. As are his bank accounts in Switzerland (where people have health insurance) and the Cayman Islands.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Young men and women going half way around the world to get killed guarding the poppy fields of the Afghanis, while their brothers and sisters are being thrown in prison for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    The stinking politicians are treating us like the idiot trash that we are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speak for yourself, dumbass.

      Hope is on the way.

      This time it really can't get worse, given the actors in play.

      oops, forgot you think Pelosi/Reid/Obama will never be matched in our lifetimes.
      Sorry

      Delete
  6. .

    Dicks, pricks, and prima donnas.

    Who really cares as long as they get the job done?

    The problem, of course, is that none are really getting the job done at present.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  7. This war is Obama's War. Period. (And John Kerry's).

    I like Big Oil. How about Big Pharm and Big Insurance and Big Banks? They are 10 times more harmful to our country than Big Oil. Obama was scammed by the solar company, just like he was scammed by GM and Big Banks. Liberals and Democrats have to be them most gullible people on earth.

    I bet Romney paid more taxes than anyone on this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He paid more taxes than the whole blog put together, I'd bet.

      b

      Delete
  8. The cost of Solar Cells Plunged from $10.00/Watt to $1.00/Watt. That's what sunk Solyndra.

    Big oil has lied to you, and lied to you, and lied to you about your future energy supplies; and you say Democrats are gullible.

    And, I'll bet Romney paid a Lower Effective Rate than anyone on this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, I seem to remember there were about 70,000 troops in Afghanistan when Obama took over.

      Delete
    2. I bet Romney paid more taxes than Rufus "peak Oil" II, who must have a windmill and solar panels in his backyard, who's idea of helping the less fortunate is to convince them to vote for Obamacare. Bleeding Heart tightwad.

      The principles at Solyndra are laughing all the way to the bank at Obama and Rufus.

      Delete
    3. I don't know about the folks at Solyndra, but I'll guarantee you the King of Saudi Arabia, and the CEO of Halliburton are.

      Delete
  9. Nat Gas production figures for April will be out in a couple of days. They were down in Feb from Jan, and they were down in March from February. Betcha a million they're down in April from March.

    In fact, the CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson, told an industry group, just the other day, that Nat Gas production has "Peaked" in the United States. Yet, you see commercials from the API all day long about "hundreds of years" of nat gas supplies.

    You're right, you gotta love anyone that can lie like those motherfuckers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      What does current production have to do with total gas supplies?

      .

      Delete
    2. Everything. It's all connected - Reserves (type of reserves - whether it's large, easy to produce fields, or small amounts trapped in tight rocks) Flow Rate, Price, Geography - as differentiated from geology, etc.)

      Delete
    3. See WebCam suggestion below.

      Delete
    4. .

      Stop filibustering.

      Answer my question.

      What does current production and the drops you noted in US production have to do with total gas supplies?

      .

      Delete
    5. It's not a filibuster. If you're referring to "reserves," you have to break it down into "types" of "reserves." For instance, it costs somewhere between $6.00 and $8.00/Kcuft to Produce Shale Oil. The current price is, obviously, well below that. As a result the drillers have pulled out of the shale gas plays.

      But, there are, also, the very high "Decline Rates" in Shale Gas Wells. The Barnett Shale play, the largest shale play in the U.S. was topping out even before the drillers started leaving. I'm sure what Tillerson was looking at was, by the time gas prices get back to a profitable level, production will be so low that there will probably not be enough rigs to bring production back up to the Jan, 2012 level.

      Delete
    6. .

      In your initial post by implication, you seem to be saying that the recent drop in production is because we have reached "peak" NG production (as cited by your source)in the US and the production drop is because there isn't available supply.

      There are plenty of explanations besides your favorite of 'peak oil". For instance, demand. The last I heard these guys stopped producing because they can't afford to store the inventpory in light of weak demand.

      It could also be the price. You cite NG prices going up 30-40% to the $2.60 range; yet, just a few years ago the price was in the $13-$14 range. If NG gets up to the $4-$5 range, I suspect 'production' will miraculously jump.

      There is correlation and there is causation.

      .

      Delete
    7. .

      My biggest problem with your analysis of 'peak oil' has always been that you take day to day, week to week, or even month to month price shifts, leave out the many vaiables that affect those short-term prices, and chalk up every move to the long-term problem of peak oil.

      I won't even get into the issue of chalking every domestic or international issue, every political or geopolitical event, to one root cause, peak oil.


      .

      Delete
    8. No I don't, you're just putting up a straw man for an easy shot.

      Delete
    9. .

      It's not a filibuster. If you're referring to "reserves," you have to break it down into "types" of "reserves."


      We weren't talking about 'reserves' we were talking about production and your implication that production drops over a recent three month period were the result of 'peak NG'.

      .

      Delete
    10. However, it's probably not "complete coincidence" that Europe started unraveling just a couple of months after The "Brent/Euro" Price got back to 2008 levels.

      Delete
    11. There was no such implication. I quoted the CEO of Exxon. Period. Go back and reread the comment.

      Delete
    12. .

      Go back and reread the comment?


      Nat Gas production figures for April will be out in a couple of days. They were down in Feb from Jan, and they were down in March from February. Betcha a million they're down in April from March.

      In fact,
      the CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson, told an industry group, just the other day, that Nat Gas production has "Peaked" in the United States. Yet, you see commercials from the API all day long about "hundreds of years" of nat gas supplies.

      You're right, you gotta love anyone that can lie like those motherfuckers.



      Sorry, perhaps you are writing in Cherokee and I don't understand.

      In English, you state that NG production has been dropping over a three month period. Then the only transition you provide to the statements on peak NG is "In fact.." I don't see how any normal person can read it without thinking the comments were related.

      .

      Delete
  10. Holbrook's past, and the MSM's usual distortion field, often left me confused.
    Several times I asked Buddy Larsen to remind me, as he had Holbrook wired.
    ...and he was right, as usual.

    The real heartbreak for me, tho, centers on the magnificent job our military did in Afghanistan, followed Iraq, the completely workable plan in place to engineer an outcome which could have spread freedom throughout the ME, followed by DC headed by Bush the Wuss and whoever else totally f..... it all up and gave it all away.
    (glad Laura has excused him tho, for his temporary life as a Cowboy, not just a hat.)

    Everything that has followed, THE TAKEOVER OF THE ME BY MUSLIM MADMEN,
    was inevitable.

    The idea that we didn't roll over Syria at the outset, and put Pakistan on notice, for real,rather than play acting, cast the die.

    The fact that Condi Rice is heroine supreme to ignorant GOP fakes wanting to prove their non-racist credentials makes me sick. She likely gave away more of the ME than Holbrook.

    Afghanistan was, is, and will continue to be the asshole of the known universe.

    The point is, had our original plan, followed by near-perfect execution both in Afghanistan and Iraq been followed, rather than squandered by the usual post WWII peace and understanding crap from DC, the asshole of the known universe would have been swept along with the tide of freedom instead of again becoming the Lead Nation of the World for the return of mankind to barbarity.

    I'm grateful 'Rat's son made it out alive, glad our son's life was never put at risk there, and grieve forall (perhaps including the Lab Rat's son) who paid the ultimate price, only to have it all squandered by the usual suspects in DC, as it has always been post WWII, save for South Korea and some of Reagan's, Thatcher's, and John Paul's victories through moral leadership, not massive military displays followed by moral collapse.

    The near complete blackout of the ongoing extinction of Christians and others throughout the ME nearly matches the MSM's blackout on damning evidence against Obama/Holder, et al back here on the homeland.
    Pathetic

    ReplyDelete
  11. Team Rufus Socialised Medicine Cheering Squad

    Motto:
    Better to steal our children's futures than to not have "free" "healthcare" for all, now.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A future of Pain, and Misery, suffering from a Debilitating, Chronic Condition for which they can get no treatment? THAT future?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Socialism's sucesses are legend.

      You Win.

      Again

      Delete
    2. No, YOU are going to "Win" this one. Enjoy.

      If you can.

      Delete
  13. Hey, Quirk:

    Maybe if you webcamed your head exploding at Rufie's relentless and repetitious off topic rants about Big Oil/Peak Oil, he'd be shocked back into Real World Realityville.

    Worth a try.
    Might go viral.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hawaii, and possibly, Romneychuttes have workable healthcare.

    Probly others I'm not aware of.

    Give the rest of the States a chance to emulate and hopefully improve on.

    ...like the Original intent of the Constitution calls for.

    Not Another Top Down Federalist Failure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was one of the arguments against the Civil Right Act.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, anybody against Socialism is a Racist, Homophobic, Misogynist Cave Man.

      Sorry,
      ...your brilliance temporarily blinded me to that reality.

      Delete
    3. You call it Socialism. The people of Switzerland, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, and every other civilized country in the world just call it "Healthcare."

      Delete
    4. And all those countries are doing so well!

      Delete
    5. Actually, most of those countries are doing fine, and a couple (Switzerland, Germany, for ex.) are doing Extremely Well.

      And, in none of those countries are any of the PEOPLE walking around in unending pain, and misery due to lack of healthcare.

      Delete
    6. unending pain and misery. paleeze. What are you doing to help them, Rufus?

      Delete
    7. All that I can; but, my resources are limited.

      Delete
  15. Everything for free for everyone is a sacred Right.

    you betcha,

    Team Obama/Rufie score again.

    ('til November)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Cherokee Shaman that refused to minister to ALL the members of the tribe would have been skinned alive.

      Delete
  16. Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter, the man who began US involvement in Afghanistan long before their presence was officially announced, sending in CIA men with Stingers to arm the very people we're now fighting, using these cheap and portable surface to air missiles to shoot down Russian helicopters full of 17 year old Russian conscripts.

    Today, in regards to the use of drones for assassination, Carter is telling us about "basic rules of law and principles of justice" and "moral authority” . Beautiful. In the US there is a law preventing authorities from executing people without a trial, but as there is no law preventing them from doing the same thing abroad... who cares! The law makes sure people are not being held without trial in CONUS... but if we just move prisoners to Cuba, then there is no law preventing us from doing just that. Great!

    Still I guess once Kissinger had won it for bombing the shit out of Cambodia all bets were off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Get up to date, Jen.

      If you think you are safe in the US, try reading AG Holder's and the head of the FBI's recent testimony on the subject.

      Rendition used to be a problem. Now it pales in comparison to some of the 'law' the Obama administration is suggesting applies to US citizens.

      .

      Delete
  17. I hope Romney picks Condi as a running mate. What a kick that would be. Not to mention a fun election to watch. Do you think her children would look like Trayvon?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :)

      Condi would be a good pick, no Sarah Palin, but acceptable.

      b

      Delete
    2. .

      Condi proved herself inadequate to the job in running the NSC so as an example of the Peter Principle gone wild they promoted her to SOS.

      .

      Delete
  18. .

    George Soros states that the EU has three days to reach some accomodation between the positions of Germany and France, otherwise, Friday's EU meeting will result in disaster.

    Soros is obviously not the most lovable guy in the world, but how can you afford to ignore the opinion of one of the world's great market manipulators.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  19. One down and one to go, for the Supremes.

    ReplyDelete
  20. .

    Today SCOTUS reaffirmed its decision on Citizens United in a Montana case. They also knocked down key parts of the Arizona immigration law thus affirming that the Feds have every right to ignore their own laws.

    Disappointing in both instances but what are you going to do?

    Healthcare decision will come down on Thursday. Speaking of prima donnas. These guys are milking this one.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah, their ideology has locked them into making a decision that they know is going to be devastating to millions of Americans. They would probably rather go home.

      Delete
    2. Arizona was a "split" decision, but they reaffirmed Arizona's right to ask for documentation, and arrest illegals. Basically, Arizona won.

      Delete
    3. .

      Sounds good Ruf, but the Supremes indicated they were ruling on the federal vs state issue. They specifically indicated that those other issues would be left open for appeal and had to be brought up through the state courts.

      Arizona got a reprieve on some issues but hardly a clear cut victory.

      And beside, even if they do arrest an illegal, if he is not proved guilty of another crime, what are they going to do with him?

      Maybe you are right but it just looks like trinkets for the natives to me.

      .

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    4. My understanding is that if they were "pulled over" for a legitimate violation, and the arresting officer had a "reasonable" doubt as to their citizenship, they could be detained long enough to run a computer check as to their citizenship (or lack thereof.)

      As to what happens next, I haven't heard.

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    5. They are probably given the 'please leave the country in 6 months' formal letter.

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    6. .

      Basically, Arizona won.

      I'll have to revise my first impression of today's ruling. Arizona did kind of win on the most important aspect of the law. However, as I noted above that portion of the law is still open to challenge.

      And after listening to analysis on what was being judged, it sounds like the court got it about right. SCOTUS was looking at four aspects of the law. They let stand the important one wrt immigration checks where there is probable cause, but they shot down the other three and in all three cases it appears to me Arizona was encroaching on federal responsibility.

      Arizona probably should be satisfied with the ruling.

      Of course, the problem still remains. Even if they catch illegals, in most cases (unless there was another crime) they will be allowed to walk. The Feds evidently have their panties in a twist over the ruling. In a fit of high dudgeon, ICE and the FEDs have said they will not be taking calls from Arizona authorities. Likewise, they have singled out Arizona to be left out of one of the major training programs run by ICE.

      I see another lawsuit coming.

      .

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  21. Update V: The court will announce its decision on ObamaCare on Thursday — and SCOTUSBlog writes: “From the opinion authorship, health care is almost certainly being written by CJ Roberts, perhaps in part with Justice Kennedy.” That sounds like a big loss for the White House.

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  22. Yep, Obammycare is toast. We live in disgrace.

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    Replies
    1. We live in grace.

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    2. I've never said this in my life; but, today, I'm ashamed of my country.

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  23. There goes Egypt --

    Will Egypt become the new Iran?

    By Con Coughlin World Last updated: June 25th, 2012

    442 Comments Comment on this article
    Egypt's revolution has not turned out as the crowds in Tahrir Square hoped

    Egypt's revolution has not turned out as the crowds in Tahrir Square hoped

    Having argued consistently for the past year that the so-called Arab Spring would bring nothing but misery and disappointment, I take no great comfort from the outcome of Egypt's presidential elections. Far from providing the country with the type of Western-style, secular and democratic system of government the protesters in Tahrir Square demanded, all that has been achieved is the election of an Islamic government that is committed to introducing a judicial system based on Sharia law.

    It was obvious to anyone with any knowledge of Egypt that, once President Mubarak was removed from power, the contest to choose his replacement would fall between the military and the Islamists, the only groups with the organisational infrastructure to sustain a convincing electoral campaign.

    And the fact that the election has resulted in the appointment of Mohammed Morsi, the head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, as the country's new leader does not bode well for the country's future. Many political commentators have suggested we need not worry, because Mr Morsi represents the acceptable face of political Islam, and wants to form a government that represents all the Egyptian people, rather than just those who are regular mosque attenders. Furthermore, they say, the military still controls the country, so that the ability of the Muslim Brotherhood to dictate policy will be extremely limited.

    But as happened during the 1979 Iranian revolution, I fear the Mr Morsi's election is the thin end of the wedge. While Mr Morsi himself might be moderate in outlook, many of those who back him are not, such as the Salafist groups that have recently set fire to a number of Christian groups.

    As we are seeing in neighbouring Libya, where the British ambassador recently survived an assassination attempt by al-Qaeda-related militants, the hardline Islamists in Egypt demand nothing less than the creation of a full-blown Islamist state. And when that happens there will be many in the West who will rue the day, just as we did following the overthrow of the Shah in Tehran, that Britain and America backed the overthrow of Egypt's pro-Western president, Hosni Mubarak.



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    Replies
    1. Who could possibly give a fuck?

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    2. Anybody that gives a fuck, and thinks ahead.

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  24. Man barely survives early scrape with death panels --

    Universal healthcare is not a new concept in nations where the people serve the government. When National Socialist Germany, under Hitler finally brought about UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE for millions of Germans, it too came at a price. Each hospital set-up a committee of physicians and administrators and of course, at least one PARTY HACK to insure that PARTY IDEOLOGY was adhered to, in reviewing who would get what treatment or procedure. The committee served to ration care and to limit it for older patients who were deemed ineligible. Soon however, the hospital committee began to revue cases for EUTHANASIA. There was a EUTHANASIA provision in the original 0bamaCare bill, but it was removed early as the framers of 0bamaCare foresaw a "Sarah Palin" screaming loud and clear about that little tidbit. The framers of 0bamaCare were unconcerned however, as they believe with certitude, that the EUTHANASIA clause can be realized through EXECUTIVE ORDER, as it was in National Socialist Germany. Mr. Birdwell would not be alive, were we to implement the original 0bamaCare law. Nor would he still be with us, if we had he vaunted British or Canadian Healthcare Scheme. I don’t want some Liberal Socialist (Democrat) Party Hack determining what care I get or don’t get. But, that’s the way it’s going to be, if the SCOTUS upholds 0bamaCare.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/the_valley_of_the_shadow_of_deathpanels.html

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  25. Obamacare = Natzism?

    Well, why didn't you say so? It all makes sense, now.

    Thanks be to American Thinker for pointing this out to us.

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  26. I posed the question on a previous post, but when did this political hyperbole go hyperbolic?

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  27. When the Republicans woke up one morning, and found that, not only had their idealogy failed, but a Black Liberal was in the White House.

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  28. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT7Y0TOBuG4


    I can't seem to get the audio to work but maybe you can. Robert Reich talking about health care.

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  29. While solar growth is notable in any instance, the economics of this new surge could be indicators of a growing trend. The average median annual household income across all 13 solar star cities was $57,000 — a range that would typically make the upfront cost of installing solar difficult. However, in nine of the solar star cities, at least 75 percent of homeowners preferred installing solar through a third-party provider — and that’s where Sunrun comes in.

    The company owns, insures, and maintains the rooftop solar arrays installed on their customers’ homes, thus eliminating the cost of buying and installing solar. In addition, customers using a third-party solar service can lock in stable electric costs for years.

    By making solar more affordable and even profitable, third-party solar providers say they can keep the industry growing. “Home solar is at the tip of the iceberg in terms of growth,” said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun president and co-founder. “As costs continue to drop and more homeowners realize they can go solar without high upfront payments, adoption will scale exponentially.”


    Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1fNFm)

    80% Surge in California-third party-Solar Market

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  30. It's a bitch when your cherished beliefs are found to be nonsense.

    Governors seeking to expand their economies by eliminating income taxes find little support for the idea in the record of U.S. states that lack such a levy.

    The BGOV Barometer shows the nine states with the highest personal income taxes on residents outperformed or kept pace on average with the nine that don’t tax their residents’ incomes, according to a study of economic output, unemployment and household income by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.





    Enlarge image









    Customers at The Venetian hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Photographer: Ronda Churchill/Bloomberg

    Chart: High Income Tax Rates, No Income Tax States



    Enlarge image








    The BGOV Barometer shows the nine states with the highest personal income taxes on residents outperformed or kept pace on average with the nine that don’t tax their residents’ incomes, according to a study.
    .
    The findings show cutting state income taxes to stimulate growth relies on “flawed analysis” based on the theories of economist Arthur Laffer, said Carl Davis, a senior analyst at ITEP in Washington and author of the report. Laffer’s work was cited by Republican Governors Sam Brownback of Kansas and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma as a reason to cut income taxes as a way to stimulate job growth and attract business.

    “Being low-tax doesn’t generate economic competitiveness or long-term economic viability,” said Ralph Martire, executive director at the nonpartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago. “There are other factors that are far more important. The state tax burden overall is marginal compared to federal tax burden.”


    Per-capita economic output increased an average 10.1 percent in the nine “high-rate” states, led by Oregon, which grew 26 percent from 2001 to 2010. New York, Maryland, Vermont, Hawaii and California also grew faster than the 8.1 percent average for the 50 states.

    Among states with no income tax, New Hampshire, Washington, Texas, Florida, Tennessee and Nevada had growth rates below the 50-state average, with Nevada’s economy shrinking 2.7 percent during the period. The average growth rate for the nine no-tax states was 8.7 percent. Three no-tax states grew faster than the national average, led by South Dakota and Wyoming at 22 percent.

    Median household income declined an average 0.7 percent among the nine “high-rate” states, compared with a 3.5 percent drop in the nine states without such a levy. The study found no difference in the average unemployment rate between the two groups of states . . .

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  31. Of course, to be fair to Laffer, I should point out that a reasonable tax regime (plus other things) such as is found in Massachusetts might be the best of all.

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    1. .

      No one would even know who Laffer was if he hadn't drawn a normal curve on a cocktail napkin and called it the Laffer Curve while stating the obvious, that if the tax rate gets too high it can actually hurt total tax receipts. Common sense. Hardly the thing they should be handing out Nobel Prizes in economics for.

      Laffer has been making a living off his doodling for decades even though his idea is so trivial. Sure it states the obvious but it is not prescriptive. The results of the two end points on the curve are the only ones that can be predicted with certainty. Results from any other point on the curve are anyone's guess. No one can tell you the 'optimal' tax rate.

      .

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    2. .

      Or maybe, I am just pissed that I didn't think of something like that.

      Or better yet, pet rocks.

      .

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  32. Part 2/2:

    What were others saying?

    As Congress debated Social Security, Senator George emphasized the program's compatibility with "the American concept that free men want to earn their security and not ask for doles—that what is due as a matter of earned right is far better than a gratuity." In another passage Senator George stated: "Social Security is not a handout; it is not charity; it is not relief. It is an earned right based upon the contributions and earnings of the individual. As an earned right, the individual is eligible to receive his benefit in dignity and self-respect."

    Justice Cardozo drew upon the "general welfare" clause (which we are 'informed' has been so badly abused by a packed court):

    "The problem is plainly national in area and dimensions. Moreover, laws of the separate states cannot deal with it effectively. Congress, at least, had a basis for that belief. States and local governments are often lacking in the resources that are necessary to finance an adequate program of security for the aged. This is brought out with a wealth of illustration in recent studies of the problem. Apart from the failure of resources, states and local governments are at times reluctant to increase so heavily the burden of taxation to be borne by their residents for fear of placing themselves in a position of economic disadvantage as compared with neighbors or competitors. We have seen this in our study of the problem of unemployment compensation...A system of old age pensions has special dangers of its own if put in force in one state and rejected in another. The existence of such a system is a bait to the needy and dependent elsewhere, encouraging them to migrate and seek a haven of repose. Only a power that is national can serve the interests of all."

    The impact of Flemming v Nestor, throwing 'earned right' and insurance out the window, or under the bus, was described in a previous thread, as well as the mitigating effects of subsequent SCOTUS decisions.

    What's the point vis a vis political rhetoric?

    What happened in this country during the social security debate deviated not one whit from the historical pattern of: catastrophic emergency, followed by a wide but shallow response of extremist solutions (and hyperbolic rhetoric), and finally a more coherent national response generated by … the public sector.

    Health care reform stoked the embers of an ideological divide that, not only failed to die in this country, but has been seething beneath the surface, literally, since FDR, like a political caldera ripe for release. Social Security is a successful and efficiently administered program (the retirement age needs adjustment and benefits need means-testing.) So is Medicaid.

    Medicare needs reform – as part of an overall reform of health care delivery in this country. The Democrats tried. What is left of a coherent Republican Party will do its best to reform Medicare/Health Care by rolling back government – and providing broccoli rebates.

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  33. ...when did this political hyperbole go hyperbolic?

    Let's consider another question: Who is responsible for "economic security"?

    Assume for the sake of argument, that someone suggests the responsibility be allocated among entities that include the traditional church, family, and charity, as well as the newly emergent State.

    Recap some history:

    Radical Calls to Action. The decade of the 1930s found America facing the worst economic crisis in its modern history. Millions of people were unemployed, two million adult men ("hobos") wandered aimlessly around the country, banks and businesses failed and the majority of the elderly in America lived in dependency. These circumstances led to many calls for change.

    Some of the “radical calls to action:”
    Every Man a King
    The Townsend Movement
    Fire and Brimstone
    Upton Sinclair and EPIC
    Ham & Eggs
    Bigelow Plan
    General Welfare Federation of America
    Technocracy
    …..

    Enter the Federal Government:
    Social insurance, as conceived by President Roosevelt, would address the permanent problem of economic security for the elderly by creating a work-related, contributory system in which workers would provide for their own future economic security through taxes paid while employed. Thus it was an alternative both to reliance on welfare and to radical changes in our capitalist system. In the context of its time, it can be seen as a moderately conservative, yet activist, response to the challenges of the Depression.

    LINK

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  34. The above is Part 1/2, if it stays there.

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  35. National Revihttp://www.nationalreview.com/articles/303944/bordering-sense-editorsew - Bordering on Sense

    Arizona and other states suffering from out-of-control illegal immigration won an important if partial victory in the Supreme Court today. In a rebuke of the Obama administration, all eight justices (Elena Kagan recused herself) upheld Arizona’s requirement that police officers determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain, or arrest if a “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien unlawfully present in the United States.” This was the provision relentlessly attacked by President Obama, who has now made it abundantly clear that strong immigration enforcement is not the top item on his agenda.

    The Court threw out three other provisions of SB 1070, including one that made it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek work in Arizona. But taken in perspective, these aren’t critical to the effectiveness of Arizona’s law. Last year, in U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, another big loss for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s requirement that employers use the E-Verify system before hiring new employees — and affirmed the state’s authority to yank the business license of any employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens. Mandatory E-Verify will be much more effective in preventing illegal employment than Arizona’s threatened misdemeanor charge.

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  36. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, decided in January 2010, struck down federal limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions as violations of the First Amendment. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing on behalf of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, reached the bold conclusion that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption," and therefore "[n]o sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations."

    LINK

    Makes cents to me.

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  37. (cont.)

    In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court disagreed. It found that the state's Gilded Age history of business-driven corruption was sufficient to justify the state's Corrupt Practices Act. Passed by voter referendum in 1912, the law decrees that a "corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party."

    By summarily reversing the case, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the justices refused to reconcile their sweeping statement of free speech principles in Citizens United with the real-world facts -- from Montana's history to today's super PACs -- put forward by Montana and its supporters to demonstrate that independent expenditures do, indeed, corrupt or create the appearance of corruption. Instead, the 5-4 majority, in an unsigned opinion, wrote that "[t]here can be no serious doubt" that Citizens United applies to Montana's law.

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  38. BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- After an audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement it was determined that 200 Pro Ranch Market employees in Kern County didn't have the proper documents to work in the United States.

    Those employees were let go on Tuesday.

    The ICE audit was performed in November and included 1,000 businesses throughout the United States. One-hundred-fifty of those businesses were in California.

    According to Pro Ranch Market's attorney Julie Pace, the enforcement surge was part of the new Obama administration.

    According to ICE, the reason the businesses were picked is because of investigative leads and the business' connection to public safety and national security.

    It has to be pointed out that ICE's audit just catches discrepancies between the documents the company has and what the government has. It does not mean all 200 employees who were let go were illegal immigrants.

    In fact, any employees who were wrongfully let go could appeal ICE's audit and get hired back.

    Through the audit, Pace said ICE did not find that Pro Ranch Markets did anything wrong.

    "The company did all the things you're supposed to do," she said. "They did the I-9 forms, voluntarily used E-verify at all their stores."

    Published: May 12, 2010

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  39. “The White House can’t afford to get rid of me.”

    Looks like they/we couldn't afford to keep him either. Not a smart corner to get yourself stuck in.

    For someone that smart.

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  40. A key question facing Israeli policy planners is whether Mr. Morsi will hew to the Muslim Brotherhood ideology that negates Israel's existence and calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on historic Palestine—or, instead, whether he will seek a way to accommodate Israel and focus domestic concerns like promoting economic growth.

    Dore Gold, a former ambassador to the United Nations, said that while the Brotherhood has a "worrisome ideological baggage," Israel will need to monitor the division of power between the military and the civilian government, and the new president's efforts to revive the domestic economy.

    "If the Muslim Brotherhood continues to maintain the kind of jihadist language that is on its website, then the Egyptian economy will go nowhere,'' he said. "Unfortunately, the past record of Muslim Brotherhood regimes in power in Sudan in the 1990s...and in Gaza under [Hamas leader] Ismail Haniyeh is not a source of encouragement."

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  41. Last week, we wrote on this page that given the Obama administration’s lack of leadership on Iran in this “period of consequences,” Congress should step in to fill the void. As our editorial went to press, a bipartisan group of 44 senators began to do just that.

    ...

    In Moscow last week for the third round of talks with Iran over its nuclear weapons program this year, the Obama administration came up empty​—​again. So the White House, with nothing to show for investing in talks with Tehran, now has nothing left to say.

    ...

    That responsibility to prevent an Iranian nuclear breakout may have now fallen to Netanyahu is not an indication that Israel’s sphere of influence has expanded but rather that under the Obama administration America’s has contracted. It’s a startlingly narrow focus for an American president after more than 60 years of American hegemony in the Persian Gulf.


    The Obama Retreat

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  42. Angus Hanton, co-founder of Intergenerational Foundation, said the research "puts into stark relief the real plight of younger generations".

    However, Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, said any calculations on the relative wealth of pensioners could be misleading.

    "We must remember that the number of pensioners in poverty remains at 1.8 million," she said.

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  43. It is hard to take seriously an editorial that is so riddled with factual inaccuracies. The tax rate in Macau is not “zero,” as the Times claims it is.

    ...

    What is worth taking seriously—and what the Times and its sources seem to be hoping for—is the chilling effect on any successful American businessman thinking of following in the footsteps of the Kochs, Lauder, or Adelson. When Connecticut hedge fund manager Clifford Asness ended his May, 2009, “Unafraid in Greenwich, Connecticut” essay with the line “I am ready for my ‘personalized’ tax rate now,” it was a laugh line.

    Three years later, we’re at the point where job-creators who dare to defend the free-enterprise system, advocate for a strong and friendly U.S.-Israel relationship, or criticize President Obama are routinely greeted with tax scrutiny.

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  44. On this day in 2009, the king of pop, Michael Jackson, passed away due to an apparent overdose of propofol. The singer was 50 years old.

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  45. With his frequent references to Vietnam and flair for the dramatic, Holbrooke’s style left him the odd man out with White House advisers. If Obama or Clinton was not at a meeting, Holbrooke insisted on dominating the conversation. He was a throwback to a time when men like Henry Kissinger and George Kennan held unrivaled sway over policy.

    “He spoke like a man who just left talking to Kennan — and walked into 2009, still in black and white, with his hat on,” said Vikram Singh, one of his top deputies. “Sometimes it was a bunch of bulls---, and sometimes it was a bunch of wisdom. But if you were this young crowd that came in with Barack Obama, it seemed cartoonish. . . . They weren’t able to hear what he was saying because they were distracted by the mannerisms and the way he did things — and he couldn’t figure that out.”

    And Obama is the narcissist in this crowd?

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  46. The tax rate in Macau is not “zero,” as the Times claims it is. There’s a 35% tax on gross gaming revenue.

    The link in the article is broken. Best I can find out is that Macau's corporate tax rate was reduced from 15% to 12% in 2005.

    What this is all leading to is some form of consistent - let's call it integrated - corporate tax code across sovereign platforms, which implies international agreements, leading, of course, to ... One World Government.

    My personal view is that the corporate financial transactions need to stabilize inter-sovereign. That need not necessarily extend into the socio-cultural boundaries.

    Pointing out that the big boys can afford tax lawyers is not the height of a larcenous bureaucracy.

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  47. Reaction was mixed in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, three states that passed legislation in 2011 aimed at restricting illegal immigration. Those laws had a provision similar to the one in Arizona that was upheld.

    Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, a Republican, called the ruling a victory, while opponents in the three states said the Supreme court had upheld their view that immigration was essentially a federal matter.

    Each state law has other provisions, including some that weren't in the Arizona statute, and it wasn't clear how federal courts would apply the Supreme Court's reasoning in those cases. Georgia made it a state crime for people to knowingly house or transport an illegal immigrant, a provision that was blocked by a lower court and is now under appeal.

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  48. A public rebuttal of "factual inaccuracies" needs to be scrupulous.

    Wanna run with the big dogs, can't piss like a puppy.

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  49. The essential problem with all this is that it is grounded in ignorance. Americans can’t fathom the power of the Islamic idea that there is no spiritual “I,” but only a spiritual “We” that has entered into the quickened body as a reflection of the divine light. The Arabic word for this, as Oswald Spengler points out, is Islam—submission. He adds that the Western religious sacrament of contrition “presupposes the strong and free will that can overcome itself. But it is precisely the impossibility of an Ego as a free power in the face of the divine that constitutes ‘Islam.’” He explains that the Islamic prime sacrament is Grace, which knows no such thing as free will.

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/time-give-mideast-democracy-7105

    Considerations such as these might make us wonder whether it is really a great idea to allow nuclear weapons in these hands. There is no "I" there. Nobody home to be threatened with mutual destruction.

    So the best we can do perhaps is support any action that weakens any islamic land or islam as a whole.

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  50. The outcome in Libya so far has been so excellent I'm almost moved to vote Obama myself.

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  51. Consider, for example, Libya, where the demise of the dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi led many Americans to visualize the stirrings of a democratic impulse, made possible in large measure by America’s judicious application of force.

    But then it turned out that the militias that emerged during the anti-Qaddafi fervor weren’t about to relinquish their weapons or their territorial gains and that the country couldn’t rise above the chaos of tribal, ethnic and sectarian strife. It isn’t clear that Libya is really a nation at present.


    Most excellent.

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  52. Although military gains across southern Afghanistan had put the United States in a slightly better negotiating position by that February, nothing had changed fundamentally since Holbrooke’s last push to persuade others in the Obama administration to embrace a peace plan. Nothing except his death.

    Holbrooke died at age 69 after a 21-hr operation to repair damage from a torn aorta. At least 2000 Americans die annually from aortic tears.

    I always wondered about that. FWIW.

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  53. As the nation awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s centerpiece legislation, it’s worth reviewing the American public’s response to it across the 27 months since Obama signed it into law. Over that span, from March 2010 through a poll released this morning, Rasmussen has conducted 98 polls of likely voters.

    All 98 times, support for repeal has outpaced opposition to repeal. Across 98 contests, Obamacare has gone 0 and 98.

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  54. But, no, Obama really doesn't actually know what he is doing.


    Unfortunately, yesterday President Obama, whose State Department has been justifiably accused of endorsing Morsi's candidacy, issued a statement proclaiming that Morsi's election represented a "milestone" in Egypt's transition to democracy. Thus President Obama was hailing the election of man who just over a month ago, openly affirmed the Muslim Brotherhood's jihadist credo, and accompanying desire to re-institute the full-throated application of Sharia in Egyptian society. Morsi, during a speech before Cairo University students in mid-May, stated plainly:

    " The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal. Today we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals."


    Sometimes he just gets lucky.

    Allen West --

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/06/allen_west_morsi_election_proof_arab_spring_a_radical_islamic_nightmare.html

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  55. Another survey published today confirms that Britons can no longer afford to be a nation of savers.

    In fact a fifth of adults - 11 million people - have absolutely no savings, according to Santander.

    The bank also says the average monthly amount saved has shrunk 7 per cent in the past year, from £112 to £105.

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