Sunday, January 23, 2011

Political Digest for January 23, 2011

Political Digest for January 23, 2011
I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

I’m on the road, visiting my buddy, Maj. Gene Duncan, but taking advantage of his down time to post a few blog items.

Iran talks fail, no new date set
Excerpt:  Talks meant to nudge Iran toward meeting U.N. Security Council demands to stop uranium enrichment collapsed Saturday, with Tehran shrugging off calls by six world powers to cease the activity that could be harnessed to make nuclear weapons.  Announcing the failure of two days of negotiations, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said no new date for another meeting had been set. She blamed what the six consider unrealistic demands by Iran — an end to U.N. sanctions and agreement that Iran can continue to enrich — for the disappointing results.

Before Talking About Gun Control, First Learn Something About Guns!
Excerpt: The so-called “plastic pistol” was never anything other than a myth, but that didn’t keep Congress from passing the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, and reinstating it again in 2003. The law itself is a case study in ignorant media and politicians feeding off one another’s paranoia. It was brought about by misreporting of the then-new Glock 17, a polymer-framer pistol that nevertheless was always composed of a substantial amount of steel, particularly the barrel and slide. No plastic pistols ever existed outside of fantasy, but it didn’t keep Congress from banning them, or of bragging about their success in eradicating something that never existed.  Likewise, it is absurd for Creamer and virtually everyone else in the media to claim that large caliber machine guns have been banned. It would no doubt shock them to discover that belt-fed .30-caliber and .50-caliber anti-aircraft machine guns are a staple of machine-gun shoots that take place every year in the more freedom-loving states of the union. This video, from the 2005 “Big Sandy” machine-gun shoot, is an example of an event that even provided remote-controlled flying targets for anti-aircraft gunners.  Likewise, the so-called “assault weapons ban” of 1994 was only successful in banning “assault weapons” because gun-banners and legislators created the term.  Contrary to the assertions by Creamer, the majority of the media, and even ignorant senators, the law did not in any way address fully automatic weapons. Not one. It did ban a list of firearms by name. It also declared that firearms that bore more than two features on an arbitrary list of cosmetic features could not be sold. Thus, a firearm such as the much demonized TEC-9 pistol was back on the market the day the ban went into effect as the AB-10 (AB being the snarkily chosen “after ban”), with some of those cosmetic features changed or removed and with absolutely no change in rate of fire, accuracy, lethality, or any other characteristic that could casually be lumped under the catch-all of firepower.  Let me shout this to make it perfectly clear: the 1994 assault weapons ban was a farce.  (...)  If Seinfeld was a show about nothing, these laws were laws about nothing, written by the fearful and ignorant, to address problems they didn’t understand with “solutions” that didn’t have the remotest chance of working. (Back about 1971, I did a “no elephants” dance to prevent wild elephants from trampling my home in rural Massachusetts.  As nearly as I can tell, it is still working.  I have yet to see a wild elephant within two miles of my home.  Ron P.)

The State Against Blacks
I received William’s autobiography for Christmas, and it’s next in the reading pile. ~Bob. Excerpt: Even in the antebellum era, when slaves often weren't permitted to wed, most black children lived with a biological mother and father. During Reconstruction and up until the 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children lived in two-parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are born to single women. "The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, what Jim Crow couldn't do, what the harshest racism couldn't do," Mr. Williams says. "And that is to destroy the black family."

Every dollar has a sponsor
Excerpt: Someone far wiser than I once said that every line in the United States Internal Revenue Code has a constituent. So it is with every dollar which is spent by the Federal government. A two-page summary of the Policy Committee's cuts can be found on the Secret Decoder Ring page but here are some of the big ones: A 15 percent reduction in the number of civilian Federal employees. This would be accomplished by attrition rather than outright firings. According to the plan only one employee could be hired for every two who left until the reduction number was met. The Committee doesn't break out the amount which would be saved, but says it is part of the overall $2.29 trillion in discretionary spending cuts over 10 years.

The Jihad of the Cradle
Excerpt: As those who have read me here before will remember, I think that the first task for Western countries threatened by jihad and Islamic expansionism is to get immigration under control. Islam is not a problem in Europe because Islamic Billy Grahams or Francis Xaviers arrived in Paris, London, and Copenhagen, and won millions of native-born Europeans over to the faith of Muhammad by their native eloquence and its intrinsic appeal. Sure, there are converts every now and then, and they are often the most violent jihadis whom we face; the fervor of recent converts compared to cradle believers is one feature that probably crosses all religious boundaries. As Robert Spencer said in a talk I was privileged to hear, people who have spent much of their lives listening to the violent rhetoric of the Qur'an, and the urgings of imams, are often inured to it--just as Christians can become jaded at their own religion's mysteries. But those who have experienced some kind of emptiness in their lives, who find it suddenly filled by an-all encompassing worldview, are often more likely to take its claims to heart, and act on its more extreme demands.

Stuxnet: Cyber attack on Iran 'was carried out by Western powers and Israel'
Excerpt: A British security expert has uncovered new evidence in the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran's nuclear programme. (Too bad he isn’t loyal enough to civilization to keep his mouth shut. ~Bob.)

Insurgent attack kills 4 Thai soldiers
It’s a surprise because usually the many violent members of the Religion of Peace target defenseless civilians. ~Bob. Excerpt: Parinya said the military had received a tip-off information that there would an attack on Thai military posts. "But we are surprised that they launched their attack at our permanent camp instead of small temporary posts," he said.

South Korean Commandos Rescue Crew From Somali Pirates
Excerpt: In a daring high-seas rescue, South Korean navy commandos today stormed a freighter that's been held hostage for a week in the Arabian Sea, killing eight Somali pirates and freeing 21 crew members. Five other pirates were captured. The ship's captain was shot in the stomach by the pirates, but he's expected to survive, South Korea said. "Our special forces stormed the hijacked Samho Jewelry earlier today and freed all hostages," Colonel Lee Bung-woo, a spokesman for South Korea's joint chiefs of staff, told The Guardian and other reporters in Seoul. "During the operation, our forces killed some Somali pirates, and all of the hostages were confirmed alive." South Korea's president went on national TV to laud the commandos' success and warn any pirates against trying to hijack ships in the future. "We will not tolerate any behavior that threatens the lives and safety of our people in the future," President Lee Myung-bak said. (OK, another nation whose leaders have the nerve to authorize direct action.  And notice that the majority of the pirates did not survive, which was probably not exactly unintended by the commandos.  This kind of action has to be repeated again and again.  Actually, the smart thing to do is offer a salvage award for any agency that frees a pirated ship, and then allow privateers, as in the long ago days of piracy.  For a lot less than the ransom demands the pirates make a crew of organized mercenaries could take ships back, taking no prisoners.  That would put an end to this within a year. Yeah, I know.... never happen.  Just a nice idea. –Del. I could be out of date on this, but the last time I checked, the "navy commandos" should be ROK Marines, organized and trained by US Marines.  My first six months in Vietnam (1967) was with the ROK Marine Brigade (yes, we did have allied forces with us there) on the Batangan Peninsula near Chu Lai (no hero--I was lucky enough to be at the Brigade HQ, fixing broken radios and trying to maintain and improve communications; I seldom went into the field).  Every one of the ROK Marines was a genuine tough guy; neither the VC nor the NVA were glad to see them coming.  I'm surprised any of the pirates survived.  Ron P.)

Cleaning for a Reason
From the e-mail I received on this: If you know any woman (or presumably man ~Bob) currently undergoing chemotherapy, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning - once per month for 4 months while she is in treatment. All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service. This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. It's our job to pass the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing to someone and pass this information along. You may not know someone going through chemo, but someone on your email list might. Please pass this information on to your family & friends.

Share The Madness Continues: Catholics and Cults
Excerpt: Last June, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the Constitution didn’t stop a government law school from pressuring a Christian student group to have atheist Bible study leaders.  Defending his school’s silly policy, the dean said that white supremacists ought to have a chance to lead the Black Law Students Association.  “Tolerance” apparently requires such things. The mindless non-discrimination juggernaut rolls on, without regard even for international borders.  The Ontario (Canada) Human Rights Commission has concluded that the board of a Roman Catholic school committed illegal “religious discrimination” against members of a UFO cult. You can’t make this stuff up. (I happened across this short article.  Had to reread it twice to have it sink in.  Yes, friends, Political Correctness/Compulsive Tolerance has no bounds, every time you might think you've seen the worst of it, bingo, along comes another anecdote to blow your mind.  One keeps getting torn between the urges to laugh madly or cry bitterly. --Del)

AP Enterprise: Blackwater founder trains Somalis
Excerpt:  Erik Prince, whose former company Blackwater Worldwide became synonymous with the use of private U.S. security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has quietly taken on a new role in helping to train troops in lawless Somalia. Prince is involved in a multimillion-dollar program financed by several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, to mobilize some 2,000 Somali recruits to fight pirates who are terrorizing the African coast, according to a person familiar with the project and an intelligence report seen by The Associated Press. Prince's name has surfaced in the Somalia conflict amid the debate over how private security forces should be used in some of the world's most dangerous spots. Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, became a symbol in Washington of contractors run amok after a series of incidents, including one in 2007 in which its guards were charged with killing 14 civilians in the Iraqi capital. (Mercs may yet do the job that no Western nation has the stones to do.  Past experience says that a well trained and well equipped force of mercenaries, with competent officers, can often blast right through amateur forces.  Especially since the mercs don't have to worry too much about ROE and can just use superior firepower to blow away everybody and anything that even seems to pose a threat.  Yep, quick, hard, and nasty is what they might do. If Mr. Prince has not only brought his knowledge and experience to this job, but also a corps of really qualified trainers, some of whom wind up as officers leading the trained men, and they have the bucks to buy high quality arms  and equipment, the resulting force might cut through the Somali clan fighters like a knife through butter.  If that takes out the pirates and any warlord working with Al Qaeda, it'd be just great.  I really hope it goes that way. Of course, there'll be screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth about it.... which will die down in a week and everyone will privately agree it's a good thing. --Del)

Contributions mount for House GOP chairmen
Excerpt: The new Republican leaders in the House have received millions of dollars in fresh contributions from banks, health insurers and other major business interests, which are pressing for broad reversals of Democratic policies that affect corporations, according to disclosure records and interviews.

CAIR's Deceptive Spin on FBI Support
Excerpt: Officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are painting a deceptively rosy picture of the organization's relationship with the FBI. The spin follows the group's decision last week to remove an anti-FBI graphic posted on its San Francisco chapter's website. The graphic depicts a sinister-looking FBI agent walking down a street as doors slam shut. "Build a Wall of Resistance," it reads. "Don't Talk to the FBI." CAIR issued a clarification statement calling it "inconsistent with CAIR's policy of constitutionally-informed cooperation with law enforcement agencies." The group had included the graphic as part of a "Know Your Rights" event it co-sponsored in response to several FBI raids conducted during September 2010.

Civility for Thee
Excerpt: So in less than 72 hours the legion of liberal pundits, bloggers, and newspaper editors that had rushed to demagogue the issue was reduced to embarrassed silence. Loughner was clearly unhinged and had no political affiliation. Many who had called conservatives out had themselves a long record of using inflammatory metaphors and similes. President Obama — unlike his sloganeering after the Skip Gates mess or the Major Hasan murdering — uncharacteristically kept quiet, processed public opinion, and than gave a fine speech, disavowing charges of a political connection to the tragedy. In Orwellian fashion, the New York Times now praised the new bipartisan civility without citing its own uncivil efforts a few hours earlier to politicize the shooting. End of story? Hardly. Consider the present landscape and its logic.

An obnoxious feature of the Affordable Care Act(?)
If only this were the only obnoxious feature. ~Bob. Excerpt: I went to my hospital today to have my eyes dilated as part of the vision checkup.  After looking at my health insurance card and driver's license, the receptionist said, "As part of the health care reform, we have to ask you for your race." "Why do you need to know that?" I asked in the most mild, polite tone that I could, since it was not the poor woman's fault. "You're free to decline to answer," she said, and added that it used to be really hard for her to ask this question. I said that I was, quite obviously Asian, but apparently that was not precise enough for the requirements of the new health reform act.  It was necessary for some reason to classify me as not just "Asian" but "Chinese."

Excerpt: The global economy has become so unbalanced that even government ministers who would normally have trouble explaining supply or demand clearly recognize that something has to give. To a very large extent the distortions are caused by China’s long-standing policy of pegging its currency, the yuan, to the U.S. dollar. But as China’s economy gains strength, and the American economy weakens, the cost and difficulty of maintaining the peg become ever greater, and eventually outweigh the benefits that the policy supposedly delivers to China. In the first few weeks of 2011 fresh evidence has arisen that shows just how difficult it has become for Beijing.

Elizabeth's Voice - Phase Two
Excerpt: It is not Mrs. Sabaditsch-Wolff who alleges Mohammed’s pedophilia, but the basic Islamic texts themselves: At the age of over 50, he married a nine year-old girl. And the Koran, too, in its regulations governing divorce, assumes as fact the marriage of pre-pubescent girls. Up to now, Islamic legal scholars from Morocco to Indonesia (including the NU as the largest Muslim organization in the country) have justified child marriages by reference to the example of Mohammed and to the Koran. In numerous Islamic countries, the law does not even recognize a minimum age. So if this statement represents a “derogation of religious teachings,” then one can only say: “It is Islam and its Prophet themselves that are derogating Islam and its Prophet.” Nothing demonstrates more clearly than this the relationship of Islam and common sense. When the media spread untrue claims about critics of Islam, that then apparently falls under the category of freedom of the press. If someone states uncomfortable truths about Islam, however, it can happen that that person is accused by the media of hateful incitement.

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