What The National Pamphleteers Don’t Report:

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne
by Henry Payne, August 18, 2012

‘Joe The Plumber’ on Border Security:
Put Up a Fence and ‘Start Shooting’
by Jason Howerton,
August 14, 2012
(TheBlaze/AP) — An Ohio plumber thrust into national politics during the 2008 presidential campaign says the United States needs to build a fence at Mexico border and “start shooting” at suspected illegal immigrants. Samuel Wurzelbacher made the comment during a Friday night fundraising appearance in Arizona for state Sen. Lori Klein.
“You know for years I’ve said put a damn fence on the border going into Mexico and start shooting. I’m running for Congress and that should be a bad thing to say,” he said. “I want our borders protected, I am very adamant about that.”
Wurzelbacher became known as “Joe the Plumber” four years ago after he confronted then-candidate Barack Obama about taxes during a campaign stop. In March, he won the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in northern Ohio. He told an audience in Prescott he wasn’t willing to hide his views [….]

How to Get Through to the Rush Limbaugh Radio Show
by ‘Bungalow Bill,’
August 15, 2012
    Frustrated you have dialed those numbers at least a hundred times today to get through in hopes Bo Snerdley will let you have Rush Limbaugh’s ear for a couple minutes? Does trying to get through to the Glenn Beck show only leave you frustrated. Well, you must not be doing it right.
    Most people are manually dialing hoping to get through to some of the most popular radio shows in the country or trying to win radio station contests. Pressing each number over and over and waiting eats up valuable time and chances are you aren’t going to get through. Simply pressing [….] 

Got milk? Canadian shoppers get it at U.S. Costco
by Bill Mann,
August 16, 2012
VANCOUVER, B.C. (MarketWatch) — “Got Milk?” could be the battle cry for recent cross-border skirmishes that seem to originate around dairy cases and crowded parking lots just south of here at the U.S./Canada border. So many Canadians have been buying cheaper milk just south of Vancouver in big-box shopping mecca Bellingham, Wash., that U.S. dairy convenience stores have been springing up — as well as snarky new Facebook pages asking Canadian grocery shoppers to stay home and buy milk, even if it’s twice as expensive.
    Milk -seeking Canadians have even been called “milk piranhas” on the Facebook page. Talked about botched metaphors. The big picture: Milk costs about $2.50 a gallon in the border town of Bellingham, Wash., where Costco is parked, about 40 miles south of this Canadian metropolis. In Vancouver, it’s twice that. I winced at paying C$2.50 for milk here this week, because it was for a half gallon, or two liters (Canada is totally metric).
    But U.S. dairy farmers, Canadians point out, are subsidized , and Canada’s are not. Which largely — but not entirely — accounts for the sizable price disparity. In general, most groceries cost quite a bit more in Canada, where taxes — and government services — are much higher than in the U.S. Just try to find a box of cereal for under $4.50 here in a British Columbia grocery.
    I should have seen this “battle” coming [….]

Does It Matter that Paul Ryan Is on the GOP Ticket?
by Daniel J. Mitchell,
August 12, 2012
    The honest answer is that it probably means nothing. I don’t think there’s been an election in my lifetime that was impacted by the second person on a presidential ticket. And a quick look at Intrade.com shows that Ryan’s selection hasn’t (at least yet) moved the needle. Obama is still in the high 50s. Moreover, the person who becomes Vice President usually plays only a minor role in Administration policy. With those caveats out of the way, the Ryan pick is mostly good news.
Here are the reasons why I’m happy.
I think Ryan genuinely believes in small government, low tax rates, and free markets. Heck, he’s even read Ayn Rand, and is willing to admit that he likes her writings.
Ryan put together a good budget and got the Republican Party to rally around the plan – a remarkable achievement considering that the same GOPers had just spent 8 years supporting the irresponsible fiscal policies of the Bush Administration.
He understands that not all entitlement reform is created equal. Instead of supporting means-testing (which produces implicit higher marginal tax rates) and unsustainable price controls, Ryan got his colleagues to support Medicaid block grants and premium support (or vouchers) for Medicare.
Ryan is a proponent of the flat tax and can competently discuss not only the importance of low tax rates, but also why double taxation is misguided and why it’s wrong to use the tax code to pick winners and losers.
Here are two reasons why I’m worried.
Both Romney and Ryan are somewhat sympathetic to a value-added tax. My worst-case scenario is they [….]

When an Insufferable Blowhard Runs Out of Money This is What it Looks Like
by John Ransom,
August 10, 2012
    Let me set the scene for you: Rising oil and gas prices, rising equity prices and falling housing prices. Storm signals start winking on the global economic front after a month of a braggadocious presidential tour telling us all that finally the economy has got it right; that it’s on its way to recovery.
Where have I seen this film before? Oh yeah: February 2010, 2011, 2012. In his State of the Union address of January 2011 and 2012, Obama was bragging about his economic accomplishments. “We are poised for progress,” he told Congress in 2011. “Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.”
    At the start of 2011, the president was an insufferable blowhard, anxious to let us know that he saved the economy. He was even more of a blowhard in December going into 2012. But after successfully destabilizing the Islamic world by intervening in Libya, Obama, along with loose money policies of the Federal Reserve, created successively higher oil prices as more and more regimes felt pressure from the Islamic Spring and Obama stifled production at home. And it wasn’t just oil prices, either, that went up. Food prices, gold and silver and other basic material prices were heading up just at a time when the global economy was showing signs of slowing. Inflation then acted as a brake on economies that were struggling to gain traction.
    Then Mr. President Obama- who has always looked disinterested in real policy work- took several long vacations, inspired a sovereign debt crisis in the US and started the class warfare rhetoric that he now clings to bitterly as a substitute for religion and guns and real tax reform. Several sovereign debt crises later, the largest economic union in the world, the Eurozone, is on life support, while China deteriorates economically and Japan is listless.
And how did America do in this after all of Obama’s bragging?
Corporate profits are mixed, unemployment is ticking back up, while GDP grows at about 1.5 percent annually. The S&P 500 returned a measly 1.02 percent for 2011, however much Obama was roaring about the stock market in January. Apparently the president doesn’t get to decide in January what the market will do for the year.
Now Obama knows that.
Investors, who make economic decisions, not political speeches, didn’t buy the all-is-well mantra and bought very little equity in the stock market in 2011, despite “record profits.” This time around, in 2012, as Obama’s economy rises from the dead once again, he’s claiming only to have saved the auto industry on the backs of the taxpayers’ gift of ten and twenty dollars bills that stretches out a billion times. General Motors, which made “record profits” last year, after getting the largest forgivable loan in the history of mankind- seriously- from the federal government, has announced profits have plunged.
Investors haven’t been buying those “record profits” either, chasing shares down to $20 from an offering of $33 in late 2010. $54 is break even for taxpayers- I guess investors were waiting for higher “record profits” before they are convinced that GM is as valuable as Obama says.
Now Obama has a big problem.
He wants you to believe that the economy is so bad that he needed trillions more to fix it. If that’s true, then all the bragging in the world by him isn’t going to [….]

Exposed: The Secret Plot by Writers to Take Over the World
by John Ransom,
August 12, 2012
Mark4362 wrote:
Gee John, wipe out private unions, then go after government workers on your way to a Thrifty Working Class. Work for less everyone, writers like Ransom love the master/indentured servant very much. You know, all this is bull. The private job market under Obama has already done better than under Bush. -Oops: Only Morality Stands in the Way of Public Unions and Our Money
Dear Comrade Mark,
Yes. We writers make TONS of money. They just shovel it at us. Because, you know, all of us writers are the Masters to all of you indentured servants. The real indenture that holds you in thrall is not money; it’s the slavery of your ideas. Let me tell you something, I admire money success as much as anyone, but I’m not enamored of it. Money is an obsession for liberals. To me, it’s just a tool. I write for a living because that is what I love to do, money or no. And usually in the writer’s trade, it’s no.
But, I’m wealthy in the things that really count. Liberals love to divide people up by income and gender and race and other demographics because they love division. I won’t be divided. Sorry. Money up, money down doesn’t mean squat if you truly value what’s important. You want to make money? There are plenty of jobs in sales that offer great income opportunities for people who want to work hard, regardless of their condition in life. America still is a land of opportunities. We just resent the hell out of guys like Obama who make those opportunities harder to come by because of his academic disdain for the real world.
As to Bush versus Obama in jobs: You don’t create a ton of jobs when you are at full employment.
You know who owns the record for the lowest unemployment since after the immediate post-war period? Bush.
You know who holds the record for the highest unemployment? Obama.
Peaceful wrote:
Any fool can play with ‘facts’ as you…you’re a perfect shill unlike most I’ve read and as arrogant as they come. Never has one been so FULL of it…except for Limbaugh, Savage & Coulter…only a fool believes there’s just one side to an argument.- When an Insufferable Blowhard Runs Out of Money This is What it Looks Like
Dear Comrade Peaceful,

Michelle Obama Allegedly Argued for Race-Based Hiring in Harvard Law Article: ‘Callous…Old White Men’
by Erica Ritz,
August 15, 2012
    The Daily Caller is claiming to have obtained an article penned by Michelle Obama during her time at Harvard Law School, in which the first lady appeared to advocate race and sex-based hiring.
The Daily Caller has background (all subsequent emphasis added):
    During her third and final year at Harvard Law School, first lady Michelle Obama — then named Michelle Robinson — penned an article for the newsletter of Harvard’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA), arguing that Harvard and its students were perpetuating “racist and sexist stereotypes” by not intentionally hiring minority and female law professors on the basis of their sex or skin color.
    The 1988 essay, titled
“Minority and Women Law Professors: A Comparison of Teaching Styles,”
ran in a special edition of the BLSA Memo. The future first lady justified her demands for more black and female law school faculty by attacking the “traditional model,” in which law students were educated through the Socratic method. She also opposed the traditional meritocratic hiring principle, where professors with better legal pedigrees were more often hired, arguing that it limited the success of women and blacks.
    But the future first lady apparently didn’t stop at [….]

New Black Panther’s Graphic Charge: We Need to Kill White Babies by Bombing Nurseries
[Blogger Note:  This is the obama ‘Voter Supression’ Enforcement Corpse]
by Jonathon M. Seidl,
August 15, 2012
    “Under siege.” That’s how New Black Panther Party Chief of Staff Michelle Williams describes the black community in Tampa, FL, site of the GOP convention. And you can bet she blames Republicans, whites, and “tea baggers.” So during an Aug. 12 rant on Black Panther radio, she let loose not only on “crackers” but also on black conservatives. During a particularly colorful diatribe explaining why she hates whites and why all blacks should, too, she vowed that as long as whites keep characterizing blacks as “ni**ers,“ her ”feet [will be] on your motherfu**ing necks.”
    But the most shocking comments come in a separate piece of audio posted on the site. In it, the host says blacks are “too scared” to drag whites out of their houses, skin them, hang them in trees, drag them behind trucks, and pour acid on them. He talks about that as he announces the desire for a [….]

Paul Ryan – Yes!
by Bob Beauprez,
August 12, 2012
    In choosing Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney made a fantastic choice and a bold statement to the American people. Paul Ryan is a nationally tested leader that is widely known and respected. “The Comeback Team” – the name already given the Romney-Ryan ticket – is both an appropriate definition of the primary mission of the Romney Administration and how closely they will work together to accomplish Romney’s agenda to restore America’s economic vitality. Ryan is highly intelligent, a bold reform minded leader with firmly grounded principles, extremely experienced, and a proven leader. His selection as the Vice-President is the clearest possible signal that the Romney Presidency will be fully committed to get America’s fiscal house in order and [….]

Pennsylvania voter ID ruling could put Keystone State in play
by Steve Goldstein,
August 15, 2012

    A judge’s decision Wednesday not to block a voter ID law in Pennsylvania could make the Keystone state — which tends to slightly lean to Democratic Party candidates — a possible key pick-up for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. See the ruling.
Obama at the moment has a 7-point lead in polls of the state, according to the RealClearPolitics average. A study by the state estimates that about 9% of 8.2 million registered voters do not have a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued license. Some of that 9% of course hold other valid ID, like a passport, and Pennsylvania already has taken steps to make it easier for those with lapsed driver’s licenses to get new ID.
    The impact of some of that 9% not being able to vote is [….]

Romney-Ryan Would Complete the Reagan Revolution

by James Pethokoukis
August 11, 2012
    What I know of Paul Ryan is this: Born in 1970, he was old enough to see and understand the amazing reversal of fortune that happened in the 1980s and 1990s when free enterprise and earned success was again valued and respected in America. He is a true and faithful son of the Reagan Revolution. But Ryan is not an ideologue holding out for perfect solutions and proposing fantasy plans. He understands that it will be impossible to move forward without tradeoffs and compromise. Indeed, his Medicare reform plan is based on a centrist approach that Democrats used to support – some still do – but now use as evidence that the Ryan GOP is guilty of “Social Darwinism.” With Mitt Romney’s selection of the Wisconsin Republican as his running mate, the GOP has assembled a “Fix-It” presidential ticket where the solutions sync with America’s founding principles. So this is the binary choice now facing American voters (at least those for whom the Long Recession hasn’t already been decisive): [….]

Romney, Ryan and Reagan: The Winning Team?

by Kelley Phillips Erb, contributor
August 11, 2012
“Mitt’s Choice for VP is Paul Ryan.”
That’s the message that Mitt Romney supporters received this weekend via his smartphone app. And with that, many prospective voters went scurrying to figure out: Who is Paul Ryan?
Here’s the quick scoop on Ryan:
•He’s Rep. Paul Ryan. He’s represented the 1st congressional district for Wisconsin in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999. That means he’s in his seventh term.
•He was born and raised in the midwest and attended college at Miami University in Ohio.
•He’s married and has three children.
•His religious affiliation is Roman Catholic.
•He’s a former speechwriter for former U.S. Representative and 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp of New York.
•He was prom king at his high school.
    Okay, the last bit doesn’t mean anything, really, except that it’s kind of fun. And none of it actually has much to do with the meaty stuff: his politics. So let’s get to that – keeping in mind […]

Conservatives bash Michelle Obama over McMuffin quip
by Robin Abcarian,
August 14, 2012
    It’s become predictable in this tempestuous campaign season: First Lady Michelle Obama, who has chosen fighting childhood obesity as her favorite cause, utters something that seems judgmental about healthy eating, and conservatives pounce. (Nor is her husband immune to criticism for the ruckus he causes when he steps out for a bite.) The pattern repeated itself Tuesday, as the right-leaning chattering classes reacted to an exchange Obama had with Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas when the two appeared Monday on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Obama had already done her segment with Leno, discussing how she and her husband messed up, then redeemed, their “kiss cam” moment at a recent basketball game, and how her Secret Service detail reacted when U.S. Olympic weightlifter Elena Pirozhkova hoisted her during the London Games. (“Fortunately, they didn’t take her down,” said the first lady.)
Leno asked her to stick around for his visit with Douglas, and Obama happily obliged.
When Leno asked about whether the teensy athlete, who generally eats a restrictive, protein-heavy diet, splurged after winning her gold medal for best individual all-around gymnast, Obama’s teasing response provoked predictable criticism. “You train your whole life, you win. How did you celebrate and what did you do?” Leno asked Douglas. Douglas, who looked adorable in a black leather jacket, said she wasn’t able to celebrate right away because she had team finals coming up. “But after the competition,” she said, “I splurged on an Egg McMuffin at McDonalds.”
“Egg McMuffin?” Leno asked brightly.
Obama leaned toward Douglas. “Yeah, Gabby, don’t encourage him. I’m sure it was on a whole wheat McMuffin.”
“Oh, on a whole wheat bun,” Leno said. “So an Egg McMuffin, very good.”
Obama pretended to chastise the gymnast: “You’re setting me back, Gabby.”
“Sorry!” Douglas replied.
    The spin machinery sprang into action: “Michelle Obama Lectures Gold Medal Gymnast about Eating One Egg McMuffin,” said the headline on [….]

U.S. Tax Code 101
by ‘courticus80,’
August 3, 2012

    With all of the talk about “extending Bush era Tax cuts” and whether they should be extended and to whom, I thought I would pop in and tell you my thoughts. I know that not everyone has the time to read or watch the news or the desire to read the same kinds of books I do, so hopefully I can help explain what is going on. I will be as short and succinct as possible (I know you ladies and gents, unlike myself, lead interesting lives). Hopefully my tax accountant family members will chime in if I get something wrong. First of all I feel that I should define a few words that are often thrown around in elections years.
GDP or Gross Domestic Product – This is the total value of goods and services provided in a country in one year. In ordinary speak: the total value of all of our exports, all sales of goods, all sales of services and basically all money earned for everyone in the US combined. What I do NOT know is if it only entails goods and services, or if this also includes investment income (401k, IRA’s etc.)
U.S. Debt – The amount we owe to other countries, people or to our own citizens in the form of treasury bonds. In ordinary speak: the total amount the U.S. has borrowed including interest. Think of adding your mortgage, students loans, car loans, credit cards, other personal loans you may have, etc together. As of this writing, the U.S. Debt is about $15,895,000,000,000. You can see what it is now, here.
Deficit – The amount we are short when we subtract our expenses from our income. Think of balancing your budget or checkbook and if you are in the red at the end of the month, you have a deficit.
    Ok. Now that we have our vocab lesson out of the way we can get into the fun stuff. I’m sure you have heard on the news how there are two different tax bills floating around there.
Extend the “Bush Era” tax cuts to everyone (this is the one the House of Representatives likes)
Extend the “Bush Era” tax cuts to everyone making under $250k for married filing jointly and let them expire for everyone else (this is the one the Senate likes).
I think my explanation so far has been unbiased and correct (to my knowledge).
    Now I depart from unbiased and move completely into my opinion. Feel free to disregard it or adopt it as your own. Obviously I would prefer you share my opinion, because I’m right. Lets get one thing straight. These tax cuts started in 2001. After 11 years, I think it is foolish to continue to call them “tax cuts”. They were tax cuts at the time, but they have been extended for so long that they are now the status quo. This tax system is all that anyone who entered the work force since 2001 has ever known, including myself and most people that I graduated high school with. That is the reality, so I will no longer be referring to this argument as whether or not we should be “extending tax cuts” but whether or not we should “raise taxes” on families making $250K or more.
    It should come as no surprise to you, especially considering my fondness for Milton Freidman, that I am in agreement with the House in that we should not raise taxes on anyone. As good old Milt said, ““I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever possible.” I feel that way because I think that I can do better things with my money than the government can. For every dollar that I send to Washington, the federal government wastes half of it in regulations, unnecessary bureaucracy and pork. I would rather give one whole dollar directly to a hungry person, than let the government pocket half of it and then divide what is left between infrastructure, military spending, social security and all of the programs that are supposedly there to help feed the hungry.
    I should clarify something before some of my friends and family have a conniption. I am not an anarchist. I do believe in the federal government and I do believe they have a roll to fill and that yes, they do need tax dollars to run. I do not believe that every pie the Federal Government currently has it’s fingers in is a necessary pie. There are those that think that because I am not for nationalization of something, means that I am against the thing itself. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I just believe that the thing can be done better, more effectively, more efficiently and more cost effectively by either the state, town or person.
    For example if I were president, the first thing I would get rid of is the Department of Education. Some would assume that means I am a barbarian who think people shouldn’t learn. It would surprise them to know that I spend more hours a day educating myself and my children then most people do while at their full time job. They would be surprised to know that I think that education is one of the most important things people can do to better themselves and expand their sphere of influence. A few years ago, the average cost per student in my state was nearly $13,000 per year, with a peak of $24,000 in one city. The per student cost in my home is a tiny fraction of that (and I am including myself as a student which includes my ever growing history/political book addiction and Matt with all of his $400 medical books). Granted I don’t have a salary, and I double as the cafeteria lady and the janitor, but nor do I have union dues to pay and union regs to deal with.
    I also believe that you can’t force someone to learn, but it’s something you have to hunger for yourself. Education is not a “one size fits all” program that can be dictated from Washington. No matter how much money is thrown at it, our children will not succeed unless we stop micromanaging everything that they do and allow them to be themselves. It is no coincidence that our graduation rates drop every time Washington gets it’s dirty little fingers into our education requirements. Our country once led the world in primary education, but history has shown that the US Dept. of Education is one of the worst things this country has done to teachers and students. That is just one example. I could give you many more. All you need to do is ask.
    There is another reason why I am against raising taxes at all. I’m sure you have heard [….]

The Israeli Crisis

by George Friedman,
August 14, 2012

    Crises are normally short, sharp and intense affairs. Israel’s predicament has developed on a different time frame, is more diffuse than most crises and has not reached a decisive and intense moment. But it is still a crisis. It is not a crisis solely about Iran, although the Israeli government focuses on that issue. Rather, it is over Israel’s strategic reality since 1978, when it signed the Camp David accords with Egypt.
    Perhaps the deepest aspect of the crisis is that Israel has no internal consensus on whether it is in fact a crisis, or if so, what the crisis is about. The Israeli government speaks of an existential threat from Iranian nuclear weapons. I would argue that the existential threat is broader and deeper, part of it very new, and part of it embedded in the founding of Israel.
    Israel now finds itself in a long-term crisis in which it is struggling to develop a strategy and foreign policy to deal with a new reality. This is causing substantial internal stress, since the domestic consensus on Israeli policy is fragmenting at the same time that the strategic reality is shifting. Though this happens periodically to nations, Israel sees itself in a weak position in the long run due to its size and population, despite its current military superiority. More precisely, it sees the evolution of events over time potentially undermining that military reality, and it therefore feels pressured to act to preserve it. How to preserve its superiority in the context of the emerging [….]

Economic Lessons from American History

[Blogger Note: Imprimis is a very worthwhile, educational, monthly publication.  We’ve had it delivered to the house for the past couple of years!!]by John Steele Gordon,
July/August, 2012
JOHN STEELE GORDON was educated at Millbrook School and Vanderbilt University. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Forbes, Worth, National Review, Commentary, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is a contributing editor at American Heritage, where he wrote the “Business of America” column for many years, and currently writes “The Long View” column for Barron’s. He is the author of several books, including Hamilton’s Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt, The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power, and An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power.
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on February 27, 2012, aboard the Crystal Symphony during a Hillsdale College cruise from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires.
    AMERICA is still a young country. Only 405 years separate us from our ultimate origins at Jamestown, Virginia, while France and Britain are 1,000 years old, China 3,000, and Egypt 5,000. But what a 400 years it has been in the economic history of humankind! When the Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed dropped anchor in the James River in the spring of 1607, most human beings made their livings in agriculture and with the power of their own muscles. Life expectancy at birth was perhaps 30 years. Epidemics routinely swept through cities, carrying off old and young alike by the thousands. History tends to dwell on a small percent of the population at the top of the heap, but the vast mass of humanity lived lives that were, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, “nasty, brutish, and short.”
    Today we live in a world far beyond the imagination of those who were alive in 1607. The poorest family in America today enjoys a standard of living that would have been considered opulent 400 years ago. And for most of this time it was the United States that was leading the world into the future, politically and economically. This astonishing economic transformation provides rich lessons in examples of what to do and not do. Let me suggest five.
1. Governments Are Terrible Investors
When the Solyndra Corporation filed for bankruptcy last summer, it left the taxpayers on the hook for a loan of $535 million that the government had guaranteed. In a half-billion-dollar example of how [….]

Gibson Guitar: Settling Away Bad Publicity
by Paul J. Larkin, Jr.,
August 7, 2012
    It’s another August in Washington. It’s hot and humid. Most people not already at the beach are indoors watching the Olympics or in the water at a pool. The Redskins have started their preseason camp. The Nationals are in first place. The political parties’ conventions are weeks away, school even more so. And Congress is out of town. That last fact means that this is a good time for the executive branch to take actions that otherwise might rile up Congress, since the members are scattered to their home states.
    The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yesterday that the Gibson Guitar Corporation had accepted a deferred prosecution agreement regarding DOJ’s allegation that Gibson had imported wood for its guitars in violation of the Lacey Act, a federal law that makes it a crime to import flora or fauna in violation of a foreign nation’s laws. As a result, DOJ will not charge Gibson with a crime (except, perhaps, for a tax offense; that’s left open) for illegally importing “ebony from Madagascar and ebony and rosewood from India” through a German intermediary “from June 2008 through September 2009.” In return, Gibson must pay a $300,000 fine, make “a community service payment of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation [NFWF],” bulk up its internal procedures, and generally grovel whenever the government asks it to do anything related to this matter.
There are several features of this agreement worth noting. [….]

Higher Gas Prices Add to Economic Slump

Staff Report,
August 9, 2012
    Unemployment is at 8.3 percent. The economy is sputtering at 1.5 percent growth. Food prices are rising due to drought conditions across the country. And gas prices are up again, pinching Americans’ summer budgets. It is past time for the President and Congress to pursue smart policies that would put us on a path to relief. According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the current national average for regular is $3.66 per gallon. That’s up 28 cents per gallon from a month ago, and July had its biggest price jump since AAA started tracking prices in 2000.
    There are many factors affecting prices that we cannot control—worldwide tensions, especially in the Middle East, can drive up oil prices. Global demand, especially from China and India’s rapidly growing economies, continues upward. But after three years of adding regulatory hurdles and blocking exploratory access and development, President Obama’s policies are helping keep prices higher than necessary. If the President truly wanted to lower gas prices, he would [….]
3 Canadian Stocks With U.S.-Style Dividends For Dividend Growth Portfolios

by ‘Kenyan Investor,’
August 8, 2012

    Investing internationally is one of the best ways to diversify a dividend growth portfolio. In addition to the benefits of diversifying one’s assets into currencies other than the U.S. dollar as a hedge against high inflation and high debt in the U.S. economy, some of the most respected and profitable multinational companies in the world are based outside of the U.S. However, dividend growth investors face two common problems when looking for suitable international stocks:
1) Many foreign governments withhold taxes on dividends paid to foreign investors, which often cannot be recovered if the U.S. investor is holding the stock in a tax-deferred account like an IRA. For example, France withholds 30% and Switzerland withholds a whopping 35%!
2) Many foreign companies pay irregular dividends at long intervals. It is not uncommon for foreign companies to only pay annual or semi-annual dividends and for the dividends to fluctuate up and down based on the current year’s profits. These characteristics can make holding foreign dividend stocks difficult for anyone who depends on a regular, stable source of income.
Despite these two problems, there are many excellent foreign [….]

Why American Capital Agency Is A Better Buy Than Annaly Capital
by Michael Terry,
August 9, 2012

    One of the stocks with the most loyal following on Seeking Alpha has to be Annaly Capital Management (NLY). There are good reasons for this, namely strong management and higher yields. As a result, the company has been a compelling investment for many with an income objective. With that said, I believe that American Capital Agency Corp (AGNC) is a more compelling buy for yield investors.
    The primary reason for the AGNC instead of Annaly thesis is quite simple: leverage. Many, including myself, have said that Annaly prudently manages risk, but is it over managing risk? We find ourselves in a low rate environment, which is not expected to change over the next year or so. The result: the lowest financing rates that corporation have seen in generations. As any investor in agency mREITs knows, the [….]

Yes, Federal Workers Are Overpaid
by William Beach,
July 31, 2012

    The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report last week on federal and private-sector compensation showed that four recent studies agree: Federal compensation is higher than the private sector’s. Unlike the recent CBO paper on the same topic, the GAO did not crunch its own numbers or come to any firm conclusions. Instead, the watchdog agency summarized six recent studies that have addressed the issue, highlighting the methodological differences in each.
    The Heritage Foundation is well represented in the GAO study. In fact, two of my Heritage colleagues and a long-time associate at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) made the GAO’s list. Heritage senior policy analyst James Sherk’s study was included among the six, as was a separate report for AEI coauthored by Heritage’s Jason Richwine and AEI’s Andrew Biggs. Readers interested in comparing methodological details across studies should take a look at both the GAO report itself and this Backgrounder contrasting the Heritage, AEI, and CBO reports.
    That said, I want to draw your attention to how the media reacted to the GAO report. The takeaway from the report has often been depicted by news sources as something like: “All these studies give different answers, so we just don’t know how federal pay stacks up.” Or: “All of the studies have limitations of some kind, so we shouldn’t trust any of them.”
Is that really the best interpretation? [….]

87% Oppose Letting Government Officials Play Politics In the Marketplace
Just 27% say The Economy is Getting Better
61% Hold Favorable Opinion of Chick-fil-A
78% Rate Marriage As Important to U.S. Society
70% Prefer Free Market to Government-Managed Economy
60% Trust Business Leaders More Than Government To Create Jobs
by Scott Rasmussen,
August 09, 2012
    When the president of Chick-fil-A spoke out in support of traditional marriage in a recent interview, the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco angrily responded by saying the fast-food chain wasn’t welcome in their cities. But voters overwhelmingly believe those mayors should butt out.
Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Likely U.S. Voters say government officials should not be allowed to prohibit a business from opening if they disagree with [….]

Obama Regime Helps To Free Murderer Of 5 Marines

August 8, 2012

    Feigning indignity,outrage,and remorse,the Obama Administration quietly watched from the sidelines as a Hezbollah commander,guilty of planning the murder of five U.S. Marines,was set free on July 30th by the Iraqi central criminal court.
    In January of 2007,a dozen or more terrorists dressed in U.S. uniforms opened fire on a military camp in Karbala,just south of Baghdad. One soldier died at the scene;and four others were kidnapped,tortured,and murdered by the terrorists. The mastermind of this complex and well-planned attack was Ali Mussa Daqduq,a Lebanese national taken by U.S. forces in Basra just 2 months after the operation. For 5 years,Daqduq was held at Camp Cropper,a US military detention facility in Baghdad. Yet neither George Bush nor Barack Obama saw fit to try the terrorist killer for his crimes. For the criminal prosecution [….]

56% Put Border Control First

57% Favor Strict Sanctions On Those Who Hire Illegal Immigrants
58% Think Federal Government Encourages Illegal Immigration
by Scott Rasmussen,
August 12, 2012
    Most voters continue as they have for years to put border control ahead of legalizing the illegal immigrants already in this country. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters think gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living here. Thirty-five percent (35%) put legalizing the status of undocumented workers first. [~~] 

“Operation Fast & Furious”, “Operation Wide Reciever”, “Project Gunrunner”, “Operation Castaway”, et al. Topics directly relating to DOJ/ATF’s “Operation Fast & Furious”, “Project Gunrunner”, “Operation Castaway” and similar international weapons trafficking initiatives. http://cleanupatf.org/forums/

Pitchfork-Wielding Virginia Farmers Protest Bureaucrats
by Sam Rolley,
Personal Liberty Digest
August 13, 2012

    Thomas Jefferson envisioned America as a Nation that would thrive indefinitely if it stayed true to its agrarian beginnings. What he didn’t expect (likely no Founding Father did) was how bureaucrats would one day do everything in their power to hurt American farmers. Reports of government bureaucrats harassing and attacking America’s oldest lifestyle are abundant and include stories about raw milk farmers being arrested, armed Federal agents raiding family farms and lawmakers doing the bidding of big agribusiness to the detriment of family farmers.
    A group of pitchfork wielding farmers in Virginia decided they have had enough after government agents threatened a local farmer for simply doing what farmers have been doing for generations. Martha Boneta frequently had gatherings for her neighbors at her property called Liberty Farms, including wine tastings, craft workshops and pumpkin carving, according to reports. She also recently hosted a birthday party for her best friend’s child.
    Officials in Boneta’s hometown of Paris, Va., decided that these were [….]

Voters Put Spending Cuts Ahead of Deficit Reduction But See Those Cuts as Unlikely

66% Say Government Should Cut Spending To Help Economy
45% Fear Federal Government Will Do Too Much To Help Economy
56% Say Bailouts Of Financial Industry Bad For U.S.
by Scott Rasmussen,
August 13, 2012
    Voters still rate spending cuts as more important than reducing the deficit, but hardly anybody expects the government to cut spending over the next few years. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters believe it is more important to cut government spending than it is to reduce the federal budget deficit. Forty percent (40%) disagree and think it is more important to reduce the deficit first. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. [~~]

Utah Takes First Step in Regaining Control of Education

by Lindsey Burke,
August 6, 2012
    When the fight for control over what is taught in American schools is won, Utah will be remembered for having fired the shot heard ’round the country’s classrooms and statehouses. In a move that should inspire other state leaders concerned with the Obama Administration’s push to nationalize standards and tests through the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the Utah State Board of Education voted 12–3 to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), the national testing consortium the state joined as part of the its agreement to adopt national standards.
    While Utah still plans to implement the standards in the coming academic year, it will now choose from among various testing companies to measure the academic achievement of students, divesting the state from the federally funded testing consortium. As Washington’s overreach creeps further into the nation’s classrooms, Utah has wisely taken a step away from further federal intervention into its schools. After the Berlin Wall fell in the late 1980s, central planning was all but discredited throughout the world. The exception, Representative Rob Bishop (R–UT) notes, was in Washington, D.C., “where every bureaucracy has, since that time, doubled down to insist that central planning be done out of Washington with one-size-fits-all solutions.” Indeed, the central planning mentality continues apace with the push for national standards and tests. As the Pacific Research Institute’s Lance Izumi points out:
The end result of President Barack Obama’s centralization schemes is loss of control by individual Americans. Under the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office says that millions of workers will not be able to keep their current coverage. Under the president’s national standards-and-testing regime, individual parents will have less and less control over the education of their children and what takes place in the classroom.
Bishop argues that further centralizing education and nationalizing standards isn’t going to solve Utah’s education woes. “The only thing we haven’t tried [….]

The Tragic Real Life Violence in Obama’s Hollywood Movie

by Judi McLeod,
August 18, 2012
    Aside from the clear and present danger the Obama regime places the military and their families in by ongoing intelligence leaks, the most telling part of the video Dishonorable Disclosures is how Obama invited Hollywood to the White House for a briefing days after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Still shots in the film depict the lanky frame of Tom Hanks sprawled over a front row seat, with director Steven Spielberg at the other end of the front row of the White House Movie Theatre. Today Hanks and Spielberg play pivotal roles in the reelection campaign of President Barack Hussein Obama.
    The highly controversial OPSEC Dishonorable Disclosures: Why Congress must hold Obama accountable for national security breaches is going viral on the Internet. “America’s politicians need to recognize that the right and proper role of the U.S. military is for defense and national emergencies only [….]

Intellectual Lightweights For Obama

by J.D. Longstreet,
August 17, 2012
    I happen to reside in that geographic section of North Carolina sometimes known as “Hollywood East.” Several movies and TV series are being shot all around me currently. A number of movies were shot, in part, just blocks from my office. Many years ago, it was exciting to see actors “live” and out of character. But that didn’t last very long. It soon became apparent they were just people—warts, wild hairs, and all. Some, it turns out, were real pains in the derriere!
    Many years ago, during my misspent youth, I had the opportunity to MC a live country music road show headlined by many of the then famous Grand Ole Opry stars. I must have passed muster for I was asked back a second year to MC that year’s performance, as well. I met a number of real country music stars and I was, and still am to this day, struck by their connectedness to reality. I had numerous conversations with both male and female stars, just conversations, not interviews, just the two of us sharing a smoke, a drink, just a few minutes relaxing and talking to each other. (A couple of them later became Hollywood stars.)
    But here is what I came away with after informal meetings with those highly talented people: They ALL seemed to understand just how lucky they were. Their talent and hard work, LOTS of hard work, had finally paid off and they were at, or near, the top of their profession at that time. I had/have no clue what their political inclinations were. I didn’t ask and they didn’t volunteer that information. I didn’t care then and I don’t care today. It was enough that they were accomplished entertainers who strove to give their fans their money’s worth every time they took the stage. Now, here’s the thing: Not once did any of them punctuate their performances with political diatribes. It simply wasn’t done. It would have been considered an affront to their fans—and one can be reasonably sure a good portion of the audience would have left the auditorium.
    Today, some fifty years later, we are constantly made aware of some performers’ political inclinations and, quite often, in profane terms. Leftist Hollywood actors are, without doubt, the absolute worst at portraying themselves as “learned” political activists. Political activists—yes. Learned—NO.
Let me be clear: Give them a script and they can, and will, make you believe they are geniuses at politics. Without a script they come across as mental lightweights—ESPECIALLY concerning politics. Often, they don’t know enough to be embarrassed by the fact that they DON’T know enough to speak meaningfully, let alone authoritatively, on the politics of the day. As it happens, some seem to have no clue how America, as a constitutional representative republic, works.
    It is a rare thing, indeed, to find a conservative Hollywood actor. We are assured there exist such animals but they tend to stay out of sight and to keep their mouths closed, which, frankly, I find commendable in their line of work. So much of what comes out of Hollywood today is driven by leftist politics. The same is true of TV productions. At least two shows currently running on TV reek of leftist/progressive propaganda. There are more, but those two shows are right up front about it. It is as though they are thumbing their noses at the American public. And, honestly—I think they are. Someone once said: “A wise man speaks because he has something to say. A fool speaks because he has to say something.” I think of that often today as I try to watch a show on TV, or I read in the newspapers, or on the Net, how some famous actor felt the need to spout-off about his/her hatred for a particular politician, left or right. You would think they’d be more judicious, wouldn’t you. I mean, it is ONLY their fans they are insulting—you know, the people who pay good money to purchase tickets to watch them play-act the part of some hero or heroine.
    Maybe it’s just me, but once I have heard one of those intellectual lightweights spout their hate of conservatives I don’t forget it. It is never out of my mind when viewing, or listening, to them practice their art. An actor who spews hatred for conservatives, for instance, and then asks me to accept him as the character he/she is currently portraying on the big screen, or the TV screen, is asking me to do the impossible. I simply cannot do it. I am convinced that one of the reasons the Liberal left is so prominent in Hollywood is the tendency of liberals to base their politics on feelings, on emotions, not fact and reality. Actors, make a living emoting, using THEIR emotions and playing upon the emotions or “feelings” of the public. It is the most [….]

The Mind of Joe Biden
by Steve Sack; Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 15, 2012

Until Next Sunday….