Monday, June 21, 2010

Political Digest June 21, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Sea Change Looms for Marines
The attempts to eliminate the Corps come regularly, and founder on the fact that the Corps puts more successful combat troops on the ground, and at a lower cost than the Army or other services.

Democrats spend big to lure young voters back to the polls
Excerpt: As political gambles go, it's a big and risky one: $50 million to test the proposition that the Democratic Party's outreach to new voters that helped make Barack Obama president can work in an election where his name is not on the ballot. The standard rule of midterm elections is that only the most reliable voters show up at the polls, so both parties have traditionally focused on the unglamorous and conventional work that turns out their bases. But this year, the Democrats are doubling down on registering and motivating newer voters -- especially the 15 million heavily minority and young, who made it to the polls for the first time in the last presidential election. "It's a great experiment to see whether we can bring out voters whose only previous vote was in 2008," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Gulf War III
Excerpt: I believe it was Jean Giraudoux who first said, “Only the mediocre are always at their best.” Barack Obama was supposed to be the best, the very best, and yet he is always, reliably, consistently mediocre. His speech on oil was no better or worse than his speech on race. Yet the Obammyboppers who once squealed with delight are weary of last year’s boy band. At the end of the big Oval Office address, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and the rest of the MSNBC gang jeered the president. For a bewildered Obama, it must have felt like his Ceausescu balcony moment. Had they caught up with him in the White House parking lot, they’d have put him up against the wall and clubbed him to a pulp with Matthews’s no longer tingling leg. For the first time I felt a wee bit sorry for the poor fellow. What had he done to so enrage his full supporting chorus? In the Washington Post, the reaction of longtime Obammysoxer Eugene Robinson was headlined “Obama Disappoints From The Beginning Of His Speech.” So what? He always “disappoints.” What would have been startling would have been if he hadn’t “disappointed.” His eve-of-election rally for Martha Coakley “disappointed” the Massachusetts electorate so much they gave Ted Kennedy’s seat to a Republican. His speech for Chicago’s Olympic bid “disappointed” the Oslo committee so much they gave the games to Pyongyang, or Ouagadougou, or any city offering to build a stadium with electrical outlets incompatible with Obama’s prompter. Be honest, guys, his inaugural address “disappointed,” too, didn’t it? Oh, in those days you still did your best to make the case for it. “He carries us from meditative bead to meditative bead, and invites us to contemplate,” wrote Stanley Fish in the New York Times. “There is a technical term for this kind of writing — parataxis, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the placing of propositions or clauses one after the other without indicating . . . the relation of co-ordination or subordination between them.’” Gotcha. To a fool, His Majesty’s new clothes appear absolutely invisible. But, to a wise man, the placing of buttons and pockets without indicating the relation of co-ordination is a fascinating exercise in parataxical couture. And so Obama bounded out to knock ’em dead with another chorus of “I’ll be down to get you in a parataxis, honey,” only to find himself pelted with dead fish rather than Stanley Fish. The Times’s Maureen Dowd deplored his “bloodless quality” and “emotional detachment.” This is the same Maureen Dowd who in 2009 hailed the new presidency with a column titled “Spock At The Bridge” — and she meant it as a compliment. Back then, this administration was supposed to be the new technocracy — cool, calm, and credentialed chaps who would sit down, use their mighty intellects to provide a rigorous, post-partisan, forensic analysis of the problem, and then break for their Vanity Fair photo shoot.

Capitalizing on the Latest Crisis
This is a black writer I’m not familiar with, but like what he says. Excerpt: Business and capitalism are dirty words in many White House and progressive circles, except in two ways.
Business is good when it can be co-opted and manipulated by government to advance “progressive” energy, social or economic agendas. And capitalism is a virtue in the sense of capitalizing on every crisis to promote those agendas – through the guiding principle enshrined by leftists like Saul Alinsky and Rahm Emanuel: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Drug War Inching Toward Mexico City
Excerpt: Mexico has seen its most violent week since Felipe Calderon, the country's president, took office nearly four years ago and declared war on the country's drugs gangs. Across the country hundreds have been killed as the war increases in intensity, with victims including police, recovering drug addicts, inmates and gang members. As Al Jazeera's Mariana Sanchez reports, the violence is getting dangerously close to Mexico's capital.

When Good People Do Bad Things
Excerpt: Today, we need another book that uses the words of Rabbi Kushner's classic work, but addresses an entirely different issue: When Good People Do Bad Things. We need such a book because of the disheartening fact that much, perhaps even most, evil does not emanate from the bad parts of human nature but from the good parts. Most evil is not committed as a result of unbridled lust or greed. And the sadistic monster who revels in inflicting excruciating pain on other people is relatively rare. Good intentions cause most of the world's great evils. Take communism, for example. The greatest mass-murdering ideology in history, the greatest destroyer of elementary human rights, was an ideology supported by many people who believed in moral progress and human equality. It took Stalin's peace pact with Hitler to awaken many Western leftists to how evil communism was. And still, vast numbers of Westerners went on to support Stalin, Mao, Ho, Castro, Guevara or all of them. Were all these Westerners bad people, i.e., people who reveled in the suffering of others? Of course not. Were all the Koreans who supported Kim Il-Sung bad people? Were all the Russians who wept at Stalin's funeral lovers of torture and mass murder? Of course not. For that matter, most Germans who voted for Hitler and the Nazis were not voting for gas chambers. More than a few of them were preoccupied with reviving Germany. Contrary to what many people understandably but erroneously believe, Hitler actually played down his anti-Semitism in order to win Germans' votes. What is the major lesson to be learned from all this? The major lesson is already noted, but I will restate it in the words of another rabbi who influenced me, the late Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, head of the Conservative rabbinate for many years. In my late 20s, I sought advice from him, and I have never forgotten this piece of wisdom: "Dennis," he said, "I pretty much have my bad inclination ('yetzer hara' was the well-known Hebrew term he used) under control; it's my good inclination ('yetzer hatov') that always gets me into trouble."

Woman who reported rape jailed for one year
Excerpt: A teenager who alleged she had been gang-raped by five men but later recanted her claim has been sentenced to a year in prison for consensual sex. The five she had initially accused were acquitted of rape by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court today, but were found guilty of less serious charges. The Emirati teenager LH, 18, was found to have consented to intercourse with YM, a 19-year-old military police officer who was also sentenced to a year in jail after the rape charge against him was changed to one of consensual sex by the judge. Two further defendants, both referred to as HA, were sentenced to three months in prison for being alone in the company of a woman. The fifth and sixth defendants were fined Dh5,000 (US$1,400) for violations of public decency. The latter verdicts represented rare court rulings in which sharia’a law was directly imposed. Police rarely arrest people based on such charges alone; more often they are secondary charges typically connected to sex offences. LH has been in custody since filing the complaint. She was never appointed a lawyer during the trial, and none of her family members ever appeared in court during the proceedings.

'I Am An Obama Scholar'
Excerpt: More from the indoctrination files. School children are led by their teacher in reciting that they can be "anything I want to be." All fine and good. Until they descend into Obamaphile territory. The teacher then leads the students in chanting repeatedly, "I am an Obama scholar."

What I Saw at the Lakers Riots (by a LAPD police Officer)
Simple solution. Anytime there is a riot. That team is suspended from play for a year, including players salaries. Let the rioting fans deal with the angry players. Excerpt: I don’t know when this peculiar custom began, but it is one I hope — in vain, surely — to see ended someday. I refer to the bizarre practice of some sporting fans who, on the occasion of their favored team having achieved some triumph on the court, field, or ice rink, choose to celebrate the event by running amok in the streets, looting businesses, breaking windows, tipping over automobiles, and setting fire to garbage cans, cars, and, occasionally, the unfortunate passerby. Perhaps you were watching on television as the most recent manifestation of this odd ritual took shape on the streets outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles Thursday evening, just after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics for the NBA championship. It was my misfortune to have a far more intimate experience of the proceedings than was offered on television. As the game neared its end and a Laker victory seemed imminent, you might have assumed that the Los Angeles Police Department, having weathered this exact scenario only a year ago, would have been fully prepared to quell any destructively boisterous behavior and avoid a repeat of last year’s embarrassment [1]. And for a brief while at the game’s conclusion such an assumption might have appeared correct. Though most of the crowd inside the Staples Center remained in their seats for some time after the game so as to witness the presentation of the championship trophy, the clientele of the nearby restaurants and taverns, having fortified themselves for their post-game exertions, soon spilled out onto the streets. For many of these people, the Laker victory was merely the second reason for celebration that day: they had already been inspired to new heights of exuberance by Mexico’s win over France in the day’s World Cup soccer action. Indeed, Mexican flags were much in evidence among the revelers.

Missouri man’s incendiary sign on U.S. 71 draws fire
And if he defended his first amendment rights by resorting to his second amendment rights, who would go to jail? Excerpt: David Jungerman farms 6,800 acres of river bottom land in western Missouri. He’s not the kind of guy who posts on Twitter or has a Facebook profile. So when the 72-year-old Raytown man wanted to speak out politically, he used what he had handy: a 45-foot-long, semi-truck box trailer. “Are you a Producer or Parasite. Democrats - Party of the Parasites.” He planted the trailer with its professionally painted message in his Bates County cornfield along heavily traveled U.S. 71 about an hour south of Kansas City. He wanted lots of people to see it. They did. Including at least one with a good case of outrage, matches and a can of gas. On May 12, Jungerman’s trailer was torched. The Rich Hill volunteer fire department responded. A week later, it was set afire again. The firefighters put it out again. Then flames erupted in an empty farm house that Jungerman owns. “They don’t like free speech,” said Jungerman. He put out a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The sign is harder to read now because some of the letters are charred; the trailer tires burnt to nothing.

Firms paid to shut down wind farms when the wind is blowing
Coming soon to a wind farm near you. – Ron. P. Excerpt: Energy firms will receive thousands of pounds a day per wind farm to turn off their turbines because the National Grid cannot use the power they are producing. Critics of wind farms have seized on the revelation as evidence of the unsuitability of turbines to meet the UK's energy needs in the future. They claim that the 'intermittent' nature of wind makes such farms unreliable providers of electricity. The National Grid fears that on breezy summer nights, wind farms could actually cause a surge in the electricity supply which is not met by demand from businesses and households. The electricity cannot be stored, so one solution – known as the 'balancing mechanism' – is to switch off or reduce the power supplied. The system is already used to reduce supply from coal and gas-fired power stations when there is low demand. But shutting down wind farms is likely to cost the National grid – and ultimately consumers – far more.

Obama tells Kyl in private Oval Office meeting: I won’t secure border b/c then Republicans will have no reason to support “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Excerpt: On June 18, 2010, Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl told the audience at a North Tempe Tea Party town hall meeting that during a private, one-on-one meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, the President told him, regarding securing the southern border with Mexico, “The problem is, . . . if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’” [Audible gasps were heard throughout the audience.] Sen. Kyl continued, “In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’”

US, Israel Warships in Suez May Be Prelude to Faceoff with Iran
I’d feel better if President Wobbly wasn’t CIC. But you knew that, I guess. Excerpt: Excerpt: Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi. One day prior to the report on Saturday, Voice of Israel government radio reported that the Egyptian government denied an Israeli request not to allow the Iranian flotilla to use the Suez Canal to reach Gaza, in violation of the Israeli sea embargo on the Hamas-controlled area. International agreements require Egypt to keep the Suez open even for warships, but the armada, led by the USS Truman with 5,000 sailors and marines, was the largest in years. Egypt closed the canal to fishing and other boats as the armada moved through the strategic passageway that connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas.

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