Saturday, August 28, 2010

Political Digest August 28. 2010

I post articles because I believe they will be of interest, not because I agree with every—or even any—opinion in them.

I’m Motivated
I’m in Madison, WI on short notice family business, which is why the lack of posts. Friday night, we stopped at a store across from the Marine recruiters’ office. The recruiters were out there giving PT to about 20 “poolies” (recruits waiting to ship out to boot camp). Naturally, I wondered over. The recruiters spotted my USMC cover (hat for you civilians) and suspenders. And called me over. They shook my hand, and had the recruits do the same, then had me tell the recruits about my service. I also told them about my buddy, Maj. Gene Duncan, both his service and his books. Both got a loud Oohrah. They were putting the recruits through pull-up. They had a young, blue-eyed blond woman, about 18, pretty as she could be. She was motivated. Did 7 pull ups! I told her there were guys in my outfit in Vietnam couldn’t do that. Unlike in my day, these “poolies” looked like recruits already in their fourth week of boot came. They sounded off, popped to and were churning out the push up. They know boot camp will be tough and Afghanistan tougher, and they are volunteers, eager to serve. Even in the People’s Republic of Madison. It just motivated the hell out of me.

"Moral Hazard" in Politics by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: One of the things that makes it tough to figure out how much has to be charged for insurance is that people behave differently when they are insured from the way they behave when they are not insured. In other words, if one person out of 10,000 has his car set on fire, and it costs an average of $10,000 to restore the car to its previous condition, then it might seem as if charging one dollar to all 10,000 people would be enough to cover the cost of paying $10,000 to the one person whose car that will need to be repaired. But the joker in this deal is that people whose cars are insured may not be as cautious as other people are about what kinds of neighborhoods they park their car in. The same principle applies to government policies. When taxpayer-subsidized government insurance policies protect people against flood damage, more people are willing to live in places where there are greater dangers of flooding. Often these are luxury beach front homes with great views of the ocean. So what if they suffer flood damage once every decade or so, if Uncle Sam is picking up the tab for restoring everything? Television reporter John Stossel has told how he got government insurance "dirt cheap" to insure a home only a hundred feet from the ocean. Eventually, the ocean moved in and did a lot of damage, but the taxpayer-subsidized insurance covered the costs of fixing it. Four years later, the ocean came in again, and this time it took out the whole house. But the taxpayer-subsidized government insurance paid to replace the whole house. This was not a unique experience. More than 25,000 properties have received government flood insurance payments more than four times. Over a period of 28 years, more than 4,000 properties received government insurance payments exceeding the total value of the property. If you are located in a dangerous place, repeated damage can easily add up to more than the property is worth, especially if the property is damaged and then later wiped out completely, as John Stossel's ocean-front home was…..People change their behavior in other ways when the government pays with the taxpayers' money. After welfare became more readily available in the 1960s, unwed motherhood skyrocketed. The country is still paying the price for that-- of which the money is the least of it. Children raised by single mothers on welfare have far higher rates of crime, welfare and other social pathology. San Francisco has been one of the most generous cities in the country when it comes to subsidizing the homeless. Should we be surprised that homelessness is a big problem in San Francisco? Most people are not born homeless. They usually become homeless because of their own behavior, and the friends and family they alienate to the point that those who know them will not help them. People with mental problems may not be able to help their behavior, but the rest of them can.

Chairman: Fed 'will do all it can' to stimulate economic recovery
Excerpt: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday the central bank is ready to act with new stimulus efforts to ward off a further U.S. economic slowdown.
Amid repeated signs that the economy is suffering under the weight of high unemployment, low consumer spending and slow growth, Bernanke said the Fed has several options to boost the economy even with interest rates now near zero. In a wide-ranging speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke said the Fed's monetary policymaking committee, "will do all that it can to ensure continuation of the economic recovery." The central bank has injected trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy since the fall of 2008 in an effort to stabilize the financial sector and prop up the broader economy. Bernanke outlined a series of possible Fed tools to put more money into the economy, including further purchases of longer-term securities and lower interest rates on reserves that banks place with the Fed. He did not say any move is imminent. "The task of economic recovery and repair remains far from complete," Bernanke said. (Ya think?)

Lower Expectations
Excerpt: In 2008, "60 Minutes" visited Denmark to report on a survey of international happiness conducted by Leicester University in England that concluded Danes are among the happiest people on Earth. The reason? They have low expectations and thus, as Morley Safer noted, "are rarely disappointed." This ought to be a Republican Party theme in the November and subsequent elections. If our expectations about politicians and government are lowered, we will then start expecting less from them and more from ourselves, then our prospects for happiness will likely be much improved. Take spending. Clearly we can't go on like this. People should ask their grandparents if their parents told them, "We can't afford it" when they asked for certain things. In this generation, the question of whether we can afford something is rarely asked. Our massive debt has produced an unease that America may be at greater risk from economic collapse than from terrorists. Excessive debt is terror by other means. Brian Riedl of The Heritage Foundation ( has performed a useful service by analyzing the 10-year budget baseline of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which puts the deficit at $6.2 trillion. Riedl says that's a phony figure because CBO is forced to make assumptions based on what Congress tells it. The true baseline deficit, says Riedl -- based on a continuation of current spending and tax policies -- amounts to $13 trillion over the next decade.

Former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman: I'm gay
Excerpt: Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and the former campaign manager for George W. Bush's 2004 re-election bid, has told his family and colleagues that he is gay, according to The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder. (If he helped to keep John Kerry out of the White House, I don’t care if he dates hamsters, he’s okay in my book. ~Bob)

Gay Party, not Ken Mehlman, should apologize
Excerpt: George W. Bush’s former campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, has announced to the world that he’s gay, and, predictably, the shrieks of outrage are fast reverberating. The gay blogger Joe Jervis, among many others, slammed Mehlman as a “quisling,” and the comments in his blog call Mehlman a Nazi, an Uncle Tom, and a self-hating sleazeball. The explicit message is basically that Mehlman, upon a singular urge for male flesh, is supposed to discard his feelings about every non-gay issue in the political arena and march into battle hoisting the rainbow flag. It may come as a shock to the maladjusted children who enjoy throwing temper tantrums in front of the White House, but the experience of homosexuality is not monolithic, nor is there any cosmic decree mandating that it be a monumental, revolutionary identity shift. Mehlman, whose sexuality is probably far more ambiguous than his caterwauling critics can relate to, is one of millions of gay men whose values and life experience simply do not align with Gay Party dogma. In all likelihood, Mehlman doesn’t understand why gay people care about marriage so much. I’m gay, and I certainly don’t. Am I supposed to feel like less of a human being until some bureaucrat validates my existence? Is this the message I’m supposed to internalize? Out of one closet and into another. The Gay Party apparatus closets just as many gay men as the Religious Right does. Less-effeminate gay men, as well as those with conservative dispositions, look at television shows like Glee, pop stars like Lady Gaga, gay activists maligning the merely misguided as hateful Nazis, and think: Is this what I’m supposed to relate to? Am I supposed to stop caring about economics and foreign policy simply because I’m attracted to men? Am I supposed to despise my Republican friends?

Upset likely in Alaska primary
Excerpt: If there had been any doubt that this is a year when no incumbent can afford to be caught off-guard, it has been put to rest by the ambush of Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's Republican primary. Joe Miller, a virtually unknown Fairbanks lawyer whose candidacy had been fueled by the fury of the "tea party" movement and the high-powered endorsement of former governor Sarah Palin, was on the verge Wednesday of toppling Murkowski, a member of the Senate GOP leadership whose last name has reigned in Alaska politics for three decades. Although it is still possible that she might eke out a victory when the final absentee ballots are counted - a process that could take more than a week - Murkowski was running almost 2,000 votes behind Miller among the nearly 90,000 that had been totaled. "There is much, much yet to be counted," Murkowski said at a news conference in Anchorage, although Alaska political veterans said privately that they doubt she will find the numbers she needs in the remaining ballots.

Liberals and the Myth of an Anti-Muslim Backlash
Excerpt: Here's a thought: The 70% of Americans who oppose what amounts to an Islamic Niketown two blocks from ground zero are the real victims of a climate of hate, and anti-Muslim backlash is mostly a myth. Let's start with some data. According to the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims increased by a staggering 1,600% in 2001. That sounds serious! But wait, the increase is a math mirage. There were 28 anti-Islamic incidents in 2000. That number climbed to 481 the year a bunch of Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans in the name of Islam on Sept. 11. Now, that was a hate crime.

The bad news and then the really bad news in Vietnam
John Kerry’s friends. Excerpt: LET’s take the really bad news first, because not only did it stink, but the Western governments that would normally lambast this kind of thing held their noses and moved on. Last Tuesday, at the 65th anniversary of Vietnam’s public security forces, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged the country’s police to continue to crush any fledgling political bodies that might threaten the ruling Communist Party regime. He told the security services to fight the “cunning plots of hostile forces and to prevent political opposition parties setting up to threaten our government.” Vietnam’s constitution forbids the existence of any political party except the Communist Party of Vietnam. Keep that in mind when you castigate Myanmar, which may horribly oppress opposition parties, but at least allows them to exist. Days before Dung’s odious exhortation, its effects were demonstrated when the police arrested Professor Pham Minh Hoang, a lecturer in applied mathematics at the Ho Chi Minh City Institute of Technology. Hoang was charged with belonging to an opposition group, and while he was being arrested, the police read out Article 79 of Vietnam’s penal code, which bars “activities aimed at overthrowing the government”.

The Last Refuge of the Liberal
Excerpt: Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them." That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

'Iran's nuclear program is a threat'
Excerpt: Iran has enough low-enriched uranium to produce one to two nuclear weapons, but it would not be logical for it to cross the bomb-making threshold, said former UN chief of nuclear inspections Olli Heinonen in an interview with Le Monde Thursday which was cited by Reuters. Heinonen called Iran's nuclear program a "threat" in a rare public interview, given shortly before he stepped down from his position as deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Heinonen was head of the IAEA's nuclear safeguards arm, which monitors countries' nuclear programs to make sure they are intended for peaceful use. Heinonen left the post in August for personal reasons. The Finnish former director-general was an expert on Iran's nuclear program, Reuters said. Iran is suspected of creating the program with intent to develop a weapon, although Teheran insists the program is peaceful. Heinonen said Iran has three tons of low-enriched uranium, which if refined much further could fuel a bomb. "In theory, it is enough to make one or two nuclear arms," he told Le Monde. "But to reach the final step, when one only has just enough material for two weapons, does not make sense." He was interviewed just before he left office. Iran has asked Russia to join forces in establishing a nuclear consortium to supply fuel for the newly operational Bushehr plant, as well as other plants due to begin functioning in the future.

'Honour killing' sister arrested
Excerpt: The sister of suspected honour killing victim Shafilea Ahmed has been arrested on suspicion of an armed robbery which took place at her family home. Three men broke into the house in Warrington, Cheshire, at around 10.20pm on Wednesday and tied up Shafilea's mother Faranza and four of her adult children. The father, Iftikhar, was out of the house at the time. The thieves ransacked the house and fled with cash and jewellery.

10 Questions with ‘The Closing of the Muslim Mind’ author Robert R. Reilly
Excerpt: "We should say that we respect Islam as a source of moral and spiritual order in the lives of millions of people but that to the extent Islam cannot itself respect peoples' freedom of conscience, it is not acceptable to us."

Brewer condemns report to UN mentioning Ariz. Law
Simple, we should have the same immigration and birthright citizenship laws as Mexico. They are, after all, the paragons in this debate, so doubtless the UN would approve? Excerpt: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer demanded Friday that a reference to the state's controversial immigration law be removed from a State Department report to the United Nations' human rights commissioner.
The U.S. included its legal challenge to the law on a list of ways the federal government is protecting human rights. In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brewer says it is "downright offensive" that a state law would be included in the report, which was drafted as part of a UN review of human rights in all member nations every four years. "The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a state of the United States to 'review' by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional," Brewer wrote. Arizona's law generally requires police officer enforcing other laws to investigate the immigration status of people they suspect are illegal immigrants.

Terrifying anti-Muslim crime wave sweeping America, probably
That’s if you believe the screaming headlines, anyway. So, what have we got so far? We’ve got a drunk art school student who volunteers for a liberal organization that’s in favor of the Ground Zero Mosque. He stabbed a cabbie in midtown Manhattan after asking the guy if he was a Muslim. The kid’s in jail, and it looks like the cabbie, Ahmed Sharif, is going to be okay. Physically, at least. If anybody is qualified to opine on the Ground Zero Mosque, if anybody can be said to have Absolute Moral Authority™ on the issue, it’s Sharif, right? So, what does he think about it? “I know many people are upset. I didn’t support the mosque at Ground Zero, either,” the Jamaica, Queens, resident said. What do you know: Sharif don’t like it. Isn’t it amazing how quickly somebody can transform from “heroic survivor of a horrifying hate crime” to “evilmongering right-wing bigotard”? (I assume that when he recovers, Nancy Pelosi will want to investigate him. ~Bob)

Get Out The Vote ... With A Barf Bag?
Excerpt: A Republican candidate for Congress is hoping an unusual campaign gimmick can help him "sack" his opponent in November. It's a white paper bag that trumpets Republican Marty Lamb for Congress and all the issues that are the focus of his campaign. "This is a barf bag. They're not to be used in real life, but it's to get the message out," Lamb said. The message: If Congress is making you sick, then vote in somebody new like the Holliston real estate lawyer, who is running against Democratic incumbent Jim McGovern. "Every politician will hand out a traditional glossy handout. Here are the issues (on the bag). Catch the attention of the voters. (In my campaigns, I used to hand out plastic litter bags. People hung them in their cars, didn’t chuck them on the ground, and they were cheap. ~Bob)

Canada Thwarts Bombing Attempt
Didn’t get the memo. Say, Doctor, was it your poverty that made you a terrorist, as liberals claim? ~Bob. Excerpt: Canadian authorities said they found and foiled a terrorist bomb-making plot by three men here—one allegedly with links to the conflict in Afghanistan and another, a pathologist who auditioned for the TV show "Canadian Idol.'' The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested the trio of Canadian citizens after raids on their houses turned up schematics, videos, drawings, books and manuals for making explosives, said Serge Therriault, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in charge of criminal investigations. The suspects—identified as Hiva Alizadeh, 30 years old; X-ray technician Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, both of Ottawa; and hospital worker Khurram Syed Sher, 28, of London, Ontario—were charged Thursday with "knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity." "A vast quantity of terrorist literature and instructional material was seized, showing that the suspects had the intent to construct an explosive device for terrorist purposes,'' said Mr. Therriault. The arrests Wednesday and Thursday "prevented the assembly of any bombs or terrorist attacks from being carried out,'' he added. (...) The RCMP said it found 50 circuit boards designed to detonate bombs remotely at the house of Mr. Alizadeh, the alleged leader of the group. No completed bombs were found, but the components are enough under Canadian law for Mr. Alizadeh to be charged with possession of an explosive device. Mr. Alizadeh was also charged with financing the purchase of weapons to be used against coalition forces in Afghanistan, although the RCMP didn't provide details. Other arrests are expected.

Obama’s Electioneers: Documentary to Reveal the Extent of 2008 Voter Fraud
Ho hum. Democrats have been fixing elections since fraud in IL & TX stole the presidency from Nixon in 1960. ~Bob. Excerpt: The New Black Panther case? That type of behavior didn't just happen on Election Day. It was rampant during the Democratic primaries. (Update: Don't miss Joe Hicks's new interview with the filmmaker of the documentary on I am a documentary filmmaker, a Democrat. During the 2008 primaries, I was asked by a former congressional investigator to watch for and document any voter fraud occurring in the Democratic Party caucuses. Complaints had been filed, claims that Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote but lost the caucus vote. What I witnessed in Texas — and later in many other states — were things I could never forgive. The New Black Panther case — think that was an isolated incident? It certainly wasn’t. That type of lawless behavior got started in the primaries. I listened to first-hand accounts of Obama’s supporters threatening Clinton’s. I heard accounts of Obama supporters stopping fellow Democrats from voting Hillary by any means possible — intimidation, locking doors to prevent entry, sending elderly voters to the wrong address, putting false start times on buildings, fabricating counts, using false information on caucus sign-in sheets, even stealing and altering caucus results. I recorded eyewitness accounts of people being bussed in from out of state to caucus in Indiana. And in Kansas. And Iowa. (...) Caucuses are undemocratic — politicians know this, but not all Americans, and you simply must. The documentary has a clip of Gloria Allred saying: “Lets get a Democrat in the White House, and then we will take care of the caucus.” This has, of course, not occurred — in fact, quite the opposite. A DNC committee co-chaired by Claire McCaskill has since voted to establish more caucuses, minimizing what transpired and disenfranchising the thousands of voters who sent complaints to Howard Dean, the DNC chair at the time. Why did a party, why did our country tolerate this behavior, which deserved nothing less than a protest march on Washington?

Pakistani Christians face aid discrimination: Vatican
Excerpt: Christians affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan face “systematic discrimination” in the distribution of aid, the news agency of a Vatican missionary body reported Thursday. The Fides news agency, a branch of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said aid was handled either by Muslim relief organisations or by government officials close to fundamentalists. Both discriminated against Christians and other minorities in distributing aid essential to survival, it said. About 200,000 Christian refugees in the Punjab province and about 600,000 Christians and Hindus in the Sindh province are affected by the phenomenon, Fides said, citing NGO sources on the ground. (Probably saving their cash to support the new Ground Zero mosque. ~Bob>)
EPA Now Accepting Public Comment on Petition to Ban Lead in Ammunition and Fishing Tackle
Excerpt: Environmental activists are pressing the Obama administration to ban the manufacture, processing and distribution lead shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, but hunting and Second Amendment groups say the EPA lacks the authority to do so, for starters. A petition submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 3 says ammunition and tackle manufacturers are now marketing a wide variety of non-lead, nontoxic bullets, shotgun pellets and fishing tackle, which can and should be used instead of lead projectiles and weights. “There is no technological or commercial reason why nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle with comparable effectiveness should not be substituted for their lead counterparts,” the petition says. Petition signatories include the Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy, Association of Avian Veterinarians, Project Gutpile, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The environmental activist groups note that the EPA is specifically prohibited from regulating ammunition or firearms under the Toxic Substances Control Act. But, the groups argue, “toxic components of ammunition can be regulated if nontoxic alternatives are commercially available.” ([First covered in TOJ on 5 Aug 2010~ Ron P] Although there is no new claim of harm to birds or wildlife, and eagles and such are rebuilding populations. Nannyism of the usual sort from the usual suspects. Do you hunt or fish? Do you hope to in the future? Here is a link to a pdf of the petition's text
Although I wasted about 30 minutes searching for a public comment link dedicated to this issue, I couldn't find one (if you find one, please email it to the comments for today). The best alternative I can find is to mail comments to Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator at this address: Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency, USEPA Headquarters, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W., Mail Code: 1101A, Washington, DC 20460.)

The Perfect Iranian Storm on the Horizon
Excerpt: MJT: What is it that U.S. policy-makers don’t currently understand about this part of the world? If you could have their ears for five or ten minutes, what would you tell them? Jonathan Spyer: I’d tell the current bunch in power that they need to ditch this sophomoric idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key to the region’s malaise. They need to get that out of their heads. That’s not what I’d want to talk about. That’s not even an adult conversation. Once we can clear that up, we can talk about something serious. A perfect storm is brewing in the Middle East. We’re experiencing the convergence of two historical phenomena. The first is the rise of Iran, which we’ve already talked about. We have an ambitious ideological elite committed to radical Islam and the expansion of power. Second, in country after country in the Middle East, various forms of radical Islam are becoming the most popular and vivid forms of political expression. We have Hamas among the Palestinians, Hezbollah among the Shia of Lebanon, the Islamic Action Front in Jordan, and the Muslim Brothers in Egypt. We have an ideological wave from below with a powerful and potentially nuclear-armed sponsor on top. That’s the picture I’d want to place in the minds of the people in Washington. It’s the key regional dynamic through which most smaller processes have to be understood. (This is a very long interview, with pictures, of a respected Israeli reporter who "spent some time" covertly doing research in Lebanon. The excerpt is from near the end of the piece. Most valuable is the sense of place and attitudes of the inhabitants; it is wonderful background on the relationships between the various Middle Eastern countries and non-government political/military groups. Ron P.)

The Civilized World’s Dilemma in Dealing with Rogue States
Excerpt: Let’s take a step back and consider this as a case study. Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was given a 27-year prison sentence in 2001 for involvement in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, mostly U.S. citizens. But of course Megrahi was just a scapegoat. He was acting in his capacity as a Libyan government official and in the end he took the rap like a loyal Mafia soldier. No doubt his family has been well provided for. Still, the conclusion is obvious: The Libyan government ordered the bombing. Muammar Qadhafi and his regime are responsible for this terrorist act, just as the Iranian and Syrian governments are responsible for directly ordering numerous terrorist attacks. So what’s a victim country to do? The traditional response to such behavior is a military attack, perhaps the seizure of part of the aggressive company or even the occupation of its capital and the overthrow of the regime. The idea is that the threat is thus removed, the malefactors punished, and an example is given to deter future imitators. One could say that this is what the United States did in Afghanistan and Iraq after September 11, with the former a response to the attack on the World Trade Center and the latter to Saddam Hussein’s frequent flouting of his previous agreements and reported pursuit of nuclear weapons. Does this mean that the proper response to the Lockerbie attack should have been a coalition attack on Libya and the overthrow of the Qadhafi regime? And what about the Western attitude toward the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip? Can a country act unilaterally to defend itself or must it await a UN resolution, without which nothing can be done at all?

Dems privately fear House prospects worsening
Excerpt: Top Democrats are growing markedly more pessimistic about holding the House, privately conceding that the summertime economic and political recovery they were banking on will not likely materialize by Election Day. In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks. They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover — or that anything resembling the White House’s promise of a “recovery summer” is under way. They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe — such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 — are in real trouble. In two close races, endangered Democrats are even running ads touting how they oppose their leadership. “Democrats kept thinking: ‘We’re going to get better. We’re going to get well before the election,’” said one of Washington’s best-connected Democrats. “But as of this week, you now have people saying that Republicans are going to win the House. And now it’s starting to look like the Senate is going to be a lot closer than people thought.”

Dangerous Dog Days of Summer
Excerpt: Historian Barbara Tuchman characterized the events leading up to World War I as the "Guns of August." While there is no statistical evidence that wars break out any more often in late summer than in other seasons, the world was torn apart twice during the 20th century: in early August 1914, and then again on Sept. 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Maybe it is the effects of the heat, or the sense of urgency to do something before the cold of winter; but nonetheless, we've also seen a lot of late-summer violence the last few decades. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, leading to an American-led air campaign and ground war in early 1991 that demolished the Iraqi army. On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 radical Islamic terrorists took down the World Trade Center complex and hit the Pentagon -- the worst foreign attacks on the continental United States since the British burned much of Washington, D.C., in 1814.

BP agents don't shy away from danger
Excerpt: One hundred and six. That's the number of Border Patrol Agents who have lost their lives in the line-of-duty since the Border Patrol first began patrolling our nation's borders. To me this demonstrates that the border is a dangerous place. It also tells me that Border Patrol agents do not shy away from doing their job because it's too dangerous. On Wednesday, the Yuma Sun published a front page article titled “Border Patrol agents told to stay out of dangerous areas.” The assertions contained in the article that Border Patrol agents have been instructed to “stay out of dangerous areas” are quite simply not true.

CIA Red Cell special memorandum
Excerpt: This CIA ”Red Cell” report from February 2, 2010, looks at what will happen if it is internationally understood that the United States is an exporter of terrorism; ’Contrary to common belief, the American export of terrorism or terrorists is not a recent phenomenon, nor has it been associated only with Islamic radicals or people of Middle Eastern, African or South Asian ethnic origin. This dynamic belies the American belief that our free, open and integrated multicultural society lessens the allure of radicalism and terrorism for US citizens.’ The report looks at a number cases of US exported terrorism, including attacks by US based or financed Jewish, Muslim and Irish-nationalism terrorists. It concludes that foreign perceptions of the US as an ”Exporter of Terrorism” together with US double standards in international law, may lead to noncooperation in renditions (including the arrest of CIA officers) and the decision to not share terrorism related intelligence with the United States. (Links to a pdf of the leaked document. Although trumpeted loudly in some of the press, this report not only isn't sensational, it is almost entirely stuff that was already floating around in the blogosphere and overseas press. Frankly, I can't imagine why they bothered to classify it so highly; "confidential" would have been adequate. Maybe they were worried about the telephone numbers on the left margin of the pages (you can only get those in the CIA/Mil phone book). Ron P. )

The Left’s Ongoing War on Logic
Excerpt: Somewhere between the presidency of Herbert Hoover and the much maligned career of Senator Joseph McCarthy, being Republican became “uncool.” That never bothered me though. I have long known that adulthood and hipness are mutually exclusive conditions. Yet for the last 40 years Democrats have depicted Republicans in the worst possible light, and, in the process, morphed serious minded human beings into personality caricatures. Rather than describe conservatives as fellow citizens, leftists cast us as variations upon the Church Lady, random geeks, fatcat capitalists like the one pictured on the Monopoly game, or as General Ripper in the film Dr. Strangelove. Their attempts at discrediting the right are both heinous and foul. Unfortunately, their efforts have partially succeeded in tarnishing the Republican “brand.” This is particularly evident in the perceptions of minority members and the young who see nothing grand in G-O-P. The left’s blitzkrieg against the right is psychological and devoid of logical refutation. In the mind of activists, responding to the contentions and objections we raise is unnecessary. (...) The one theme intrinsic to leftist politics is that citizens cannot be trusted to improve their lives on their own. Were it to be otherwise, then what use would we have for a gaggle of sanctimonious demagogues who lust for power and control? We must follow their lead as, in the words of our nation’s great divider: “Our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.” Another neo-socialist, Representative Barney Frank, placed love for statism in the proper euphemistic context. He summarized the Byzantine and corrupt practices of the Leviathan with the mundane utterance: “Government is the name we give to the things we choose to do together.” If you believe that, then you’ll buy that printing money results in economic stimulus. Rep. Frank is wrong, however. Government is the name for the things our elites do to us. We — the majority of Americans — do not wish to be slaves and live on handouts. It strikes Democrats as odd, but we prefer to be free. We understand that a monolithic state precludes personal autonomy and we don’t like it. A citizen bias in favor of liberty would be incontrovertible, if the press desisted in smearing as racist those who proclaim it. Were Americans openly encouraged to discuss our desires, it would soon emerge that being left alone and living in the manner we choose are chief amongst them.

IG Report Confirms: Recovery Act ‘Propaganda’ Signs Were Required (PJM Exclusive)
Excerpt: The final reports from the inspectors general on the stimulus road signs have been turned into Congressman Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) office. In late June, Issa requested an accounting from the various federal agencies involved in the stimulus on the bill’s requirements for signage. The signs, which tell passersby a project is being paid for by stimulus funds, have cost taxpayers as much as $10,000 in some cases. Issa and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) have publicly stated that the signs violate anti-propaganda laws which date to the 1950s. Issa called the signs politically motivated and wasteful, despite relaxed requirements from various agencies, including the Department of Transportation: (In the 1st sentence, the words "final report" link to a pdf of the Inspector General's report. Ron P.)

McCain’s easy win undercuts Democrats’ story line
Excerpt: This spring, liberal pundits were already anticipating the Aug. 24 primaries. It’s just that they were focusing on a Senate race in Arizona — not the one in Alaska. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, appears to have lost her primary unexpectedly to a conservative challenger, pending the counting of absentee ballots. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on the other hand, won easily on Tuesday. The race was expected to be a knock-down, drag-out affair, but it never got off the ground. McCain’s 24-point victory dramatically weakens a narrative that liberal pundits have been pushing all year to frame the November elections. It was best summed up by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews back in April: “Republican purge! Arlen Specter is out! John McCain, Charlie Crist and Robert Bennett are all being threatened on the right.” The problem with this story is that John McCain’s defeat was supposed to be its most important chapter. The story went something like this: Mouth-breathing conservative crazies had driven popular, “electable” moderates in Pennsylvania and Florida out of their party’s Senate races, replacing them with “unelectable” wingnuts. Now they were going to purge even their own 2008 presidential nominee — and with an ugly flourish of xenophobia.

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