Sunday, February 6, 2011

Political Digest for February 6, 2011

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.

Egypt commentary at the end.

Worth listening to: Halftime for Obama
Excellent review of all he’s promised.

Important: Wikileaks: U.S. Agrees to Tell Russia Britain's Nuclear Secrets
Dear God, if this is true, who will trust us again? ~Bob. Excerpt: The US secretly agreed to give the Russians sensitive information on Britain’s nuclear deterrent to persuade them to sign a key treaty, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. HMS Vanguard is Britain's lead Trident-armed submarine. The US, under a nuclear deal, has agreed to give the Kremlin the serial numbers of the missiles it gives Britain. Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week. Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal. The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website. Details of the behind-the-scenes talks are contained in more than 1,400 US embassy cables published to date by the Telegraph, including almost 800 sent from the London Embassy, which are published online today.

Citizen Activist Grates on State Over Traffic Signals
You wonder why people fear giving government too much power. ~Bob. Excerpt: David N. Cox says he was merely exercising his right to petition the government, but a state Department of Transportation official has raised allegations that Cox committed a misdemeanor: practicing engineering without a license. Cox and his North Raleigh neighbors are lobbying city and state officials to add traffic signals at two intersections as part of a planned widening of Falls of Neuse Road. After an engineering consultant hired by the city said that the signals were not needed, Cox and the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners' Associations responded with a sophisticated analysis of their own. The eight-page document with maps, diagrams and traffic projections was offered to buttress their contention that signals will be needed at the Falls of Neuse at Coolmore Drive intersection and where the road meets Tabriz Point / Lake Villa Way. It did not persuade Kevin Lacy, chief traffic engineer for the state DOT, to change his mind about the project. Instead, Lacy called on a state licensing agency, the N.C. Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, to investigate Cox. Cox says Lacy is trying to squelch dissent. "All we ever tried to do was express our view about this," said Cox, a computer scientist. "We never expected something like this. We think it's wrong. We're just trying to make our neighborhood safe." Lacy said his complaint "was not an accusation" against Cox. "I'm not trying to hush him up," Lacy said. Cox has not been accused of claiming that he is an engineer. But Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report "appears to be engineering-level work" by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer.

National Security as it Now Stands: A Must-Read Summary and Forecast
Excerpt: Finally, does anyone recall the President even mentioning the chaos on our border with Mexico? He made one vague reference to working with both parties to secure our borders, but he ended that with another apparent push to grant amnesty to those who have already broken our laws and entered our country illegally. The fact is that the violence among the Mexican drug cartels is spilling over into our country and Americans are dying in the crossfire. While this is happening there is growing evidence that hundreds of illegal aliens from nations that support Islamic terrorism are also entering our country. Obama’s response to this is to decrease our border security and allow many entry points to be unpatrolled by both State and Federal authorities. However, he is prepared to make one bold move. His administration will soon be proposing new gun control laws that will limit the rights of law abiding American citizens to purchase weapons to protect themselves and their homes. It will have no effect whatsoever on the ability of the drug cartel soldiers and the terrorists to acquire weapons, but it will make the progressives happy. The bottom line is that our country is being rendered defenseless by the people who are charged in the Constitution to protect our nation and its people. As a result, the violence on our borders will increase and our enemies will be encouraged to increase their efforts to attack us around the world and on our own soil. I’m afraid that this could be a very dangerous year for the people of the United States.

Trial of Austrian anti-Shari​a activist for “denigrati​ng” Islam has major implicatio​ns for free speech in Europe
Excerpt: The “hate speech” trial of the Austrian housewife and anti-Islam activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff resumed at a Vienna courthouse on January 18, following a two-month break in the hearings. Sabaditsch-Wolff, who has been charged with “incitement of hatred” and “denigrating religious teachings” after giving a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam, faces a possible three year prison sentence. Her case, which is eerily similar to the one involving the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, reflects the growing use of lawfare, the malicious use of European courts to silence politically incorrect speech about Islam. Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal problems began in November 2009, when she presented a three-part seminar about Islam to the Freedom Education Institute, a political academy linked to the Austrian Freedom Party. A glossy left-wing magazine called NEWS — all in capital letters — planted a journalist in the audience to secretly record the first two lectures. Lawyers for the publication then handed the transcripts over to the Viennese public prosecutor’s office as evidence of hate speech against Islam, one of the officially recognized religions under Austrian law. Formal charges against Sabaditsch-Wolff were filed in September 2010 and her bench trial, presided by one judge and no jury, began on November 23. (Actually, I’m fine with outlawing “hate speech”—as long as I’m the person who decides what constitutes hate speech! ~Bob.)

Mexico Will Follow Egypt Into Collapse
This will make things fun. Imagine another 20 million undocumented Democrats arriving all at once. And we continue to contribute to the corn prices by subsidizing ethanol. ~Bob. Excerpt: Mexico seems likely follow Egypt into collapse within two years based on falling oil revenue and rising food prices: Mexicans spend about 22% of their disposable income on food. In 2010 corn prices increased 52% and wheat 47%. With the floods in Australia, ethanol in the U.S. and higher fuel prices it seems likely food will consume 50% of disposable income within a year. That is an average. There will be a critical percent of the population where food costs will exceed their disposable income. Hunger will amplify risks. Mexico's government gets about 40% of its revenues from oil. As noted in BP data complied at Energy Export Database Mexico's domestic consumption (black line) will force its oil revenues (green area) to drop to zero within a few years. Egypt's oil revenues dropped to about zero in 2010.

Madison Theatre Company: Angry At Arizona and Tea Party? Come Watch Us Kill Some Conservatives!
We have a condo in Madison, occupied by my step-daughter and granddaughter, but I may skip dinner with my liberal friends there until they get over Barack’s call for more civility! ~Bob. Excerpt: An apparently liberal theatre group in Madison, Wisconsin, is playing victim in response to pushback they’ve gotten for putting on a play that has liberal grad students murdering “right-wingers.” Hey, we take jabs at the Left, too, or so goes the claim. But comments from the theatre’s artistic director, Rachel Jenkins-Bledsoe, while marketing the event, provides links to the Tea Party and the Arizona illegal immigration issue. Bledsoe presents the production as an outlet for frustration from the nation’s current Right-turn. One can only imagine the outrage were a Southern religious university to produce a play that had “redneck” Christians killing them a bunch of liberals, while making jokes about themselves in the process….

Prize Fight: Texas vs. California
Excerpt: Opportunistically, Gov. Perry goes "hunting" in California these days -- for jobs for Texas. Late last year, he sent recruitment letters to hundreds of Golden State companies touting the advantages of relocating to Texas. Enclosed was a "Competitiveness Index" that showed California in the lower-left quadrant, among a smattering of unfortunate states with low job growth and unfriendly-to-business climate, and Texas alone in an upper-right quadrant, with Virginia, as having high job growth and a friendly business climate.

Conscience Rights Debate Reignited by Abortion Bill
Excerpt: A bill designed to ensure that the healthcare reform law does not fund abortion services is reigniting a debate over a healthcare provider’s right to refuse abortion services. The “Protect Life Act,” sponsored by Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), would specify that healthcare reform funding could not be used for abortion services. Included in the new bill is a provision that says the federal government could not withhold funding from a healthcare entity that refuses to perform, participate in, provide coverage of, or pay for induced abortions.

What I've Learnt - PJ O'Rourke
Funny stuff. ~Bob. Excerpt: America really is exceptional. What makes America exceptional is not that Americans are better or smarter or harder working than other people. The exceptional thing about America is that we've come up with a system that allows the second-rate from all over the world to do really, really well.

"Atlas Shrugged" Movie Trailer Premiering at CPAC, Feb. 11th
Excerpt: The Strike Productions, and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, announced the premiere of the “ATLAS SHRUGGED” movie trailer at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washington D.C. on Thursday, February 11th, 2011. “We’re thrilled to be working with FreedomWorks to launch our World Premiere of the Atlas Shrugged movie trailer. FreedomWorks is an incredible partner and CPAC an incredible event. Everyone has worked extremely hard, and we are very excited for the world to finally see it,” said Harmon Kaslow, producer of the film. Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, stated, “In early December, I saw a small part of the Atlas Shrugged movie and was quite excited about how Kaslow and John Aglialoro handled the material.” Kibbe continued, “'ATLAS SHRUGGED' illustrates a world in which the burden of government over society’s industrialists grew too great. Finally, everyone will get to see what would happen if the producers vanish.” Kaslow confirmed that the Atlas Shrugged Movie opens in limited USA theaters on Friday, April 15th, 2011. For more information, visit the official Atlas Shrugged Movie web site at:

State Multiculturalism has Failed - Prime Minister David Cameron
Excerpt: David Cameron strode firmly into a debate where many politicians tread timidly. In his view, such caution is part of the problem. In frank language he made abundantly clear he believes multiculturalism has failed. Any organisation that does not stand up to extremism will be cut off from public funds, and he wants the country to develop a stronger sense of shared identity. It is the first time he has spoken so directly as prime minister, but there are echoes of what has gone before. Tony Blair edged away from multiculturalism in the years after the 7/7 bombings in London, and his ministers moved to stop funding any community organisation that did not challenge extremism. And what of Gordon Brown's continual quest to strengthen "Britishness"? Behind the scenes, ministers are reviewing the "prevent" strategy, the policies designed to try to deal with extremism. But the review, which had been planned for publication this month, is likely to be delayed. It is not clear yet how Mr Cameron will translate his strong words into action. (Nice to have someone in office notice—and say so. ~Bob.)

UK Prime Minister David Cameron: Muslims Must Embrace Our British Values
Excerpt: British Muslims must subscribe to mainstream values of freedom and equality, David Cameron declared that the doctrine of multiculturalism has “failed” and will be abandoned. Entering the debate on national identity and religious tolerance, the Prime Minister declared an end to “passive tolerance” of divided communities, and say that members of all faiths must integrate into wider society and accept core values. To be British is to believe in freedom of speech and religion, democracy and equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality, he will say. Proclaiming a doctrine of “muscular liberalism”, he said that everyone, from ministers to ordinary voters, should actively confront those who hold extremist views. He warned that groups that fail to promote British values will no longer receive public money or be able to engage with the state. His speech, to an international security conference in Munich, comes after The Daily Telegraph disclosed the extent to which the British intelligence community fears the “unique threat” of terrorist attacks by radicalised British Muslims.

Turns Out Fort Hood Mass-Murderer Major Nidal Hasan Showed a Few Warning Signs
Excerpt: Hot Air has excerpts from the report, including the following: Hasan advanced to a two-year fellowship at USUHS [Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences]…Less than a month into the fellowship, in August 2007, Hasan gave another off-topic presentation on a violent Islamist extremist subject instead of on a health care subject. This time, Hasan’s presentation was so controversial that the instructor had to stop it after just two minutes when the class erupted in protest to Hasan’s views. The presentation was entitled, Is the War on Terror a War on Islam: An Islamic Perspective? Hasan’s proposal for this presentation promoted this troubling thesis: that U.S. military operations are a war against lslam rather than based on non-religious security considerations. Hasan’s presentation accorded with the narrative of violent Islamist extremism that the West is at war with Islam. Hasan’s paper was full of empathetic and supportive recitation of other violent Islamist extremist views, including defense of Osama bin Laden, slanted historical accounts blaming the United States for problems in the Middle East, and arguments that anger at the United States is justifiable…The instructor who stopped the presentation said that Hasan was sweating, quite nervous, and agitated after being confronted by the class. (But no one would risk a career being so politically-incorrect as to challenge a Muslim—until after the murders, that is. ~Bob.)

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Launches "Muslims for Loyalty" Campaign
Excerpt: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA is spreading the word that, despite all the bad press — by way of terrorist attacks, honor killings, and the like — Muslims have a duty to be peaceful and loyal to the United States. The group has launched a nationwide ad campaign called “Muslims for Loyalty” to counteract the negative influences from abroad — which not only serve to paint domestic Muslims in a bad light but also affect young Muslims susceptible to radicalization. Waseem Sayed, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA spokesman, told The Daily Caller that the group feels as though it is their responsibility to educate Americans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, about the true face of their religion. “Our hope is to emphasize to our fellow Americans,” Sayed said, “that it is the religious duty of a Muslim to be loyal to the country where he resides…Number two that there are negative influences being exerted — upon especially the Muslim youth in the United States — by people like al Awlaki on the Internet and third the press pays attention to violent acts that people commit in the name of Islam….If we just sit by, more and more these extremists will take hold the banner of Islam and say this is what Islam is.” (Let us hope it helps. ~Bob.)

The Truth About 'Lesbian' Asylum Seeker
Excerpt: Her story made headlines around the world. Despite attempts by the Home Office to deport her, and a judge's ruling that she should go, a Ugandan woman claiming she was a lesbian managed to stay in Britain. Even as a plane prepared to take off from Heathrow with Brenda Namigadde on board, her lawyers secured a last-minute injunction to halt her removal from the UK nine days ago. The failed asylum seeker has been backed by homosexual rights campaigners and MPs, who said she risked being beaten up or arrested if sent back to her African homeland. However, The Sunday Telegraph has obtained a court judgement which considers Miss Namigadde's case and concludes that she is not, in fact, a lesbian.

Unmanned Navy Fighter

Dutch Courage
Excerpt: I once discussed Irving Berlin, composer of “God Bless America”, with his friend and fellow songwriter Jule Styne, and Jule put it best: “It’s easy to be clever. But the really clever thing is to be simple.” At the Berlin Wall that day, it would have been easy to be clever, as all those Seventies détente sophisticates would have been. And who would have remembered a word they said? Like Irving Berlin with “God Bless America”, only Reagan could have stood there and declared without embarrassment: Tear down this wall! - and two years later the wall was, indeed, torn down. Ronald Reagan was straightforward and true and said it for everybody - which is why his “rhetorical opportunity missed” is remembered by millions of grateful Eastern Europeans. The really clever thing is to have the confidence to say it in four monosyllables. Ronald Reagan was an American archetype, and just the bare bones of his curriculum vitae capture the possibilities of his country: in the Twenties, a lifeguard at a local swimming hole who saved over 70 lives; in the Thirties, a radio sports announcer; in the Forties, a Warner Brothers leading man ...and finally one of the two most significant presidents of the American century. Unusually for the commander in chief, Reagan’s was a full, varied American life, of which the presidency was the mere culmination.

Free Press wakes up to the threat of a government-controlled Internet
Excerpt: A letter from media reform group Free Press to supporters sets a new standard for irony: Not quite two months after Free Press helped pave the way for the U.S. government to regulate the Internet, it’s stoking fears about the U.S. government abusing that power. A bill proposed by independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine called the “Protect Cyberspace as a National Asset Act” could give the executive branch “vague and unchecked authority to cut off ‘critical infrastructure’ in times of crisis,” Karr wrote. “Such power, in the hands of the nation’s top executive, poses a drastic threat to our First Amendment right to free speech.” (It’s a good day for irony. I wonder when they figured out it might not be “disinterested and non-partisan” POLITICIANS who would decide when—if ever—to use the kill switch? And, of course, it wouldn’t; it would be bureaucrats/beancounters, instead. A great decision, that just happens to be years too late. Ron P.)

Calif. cap-trade plan dealt blow by S.F. judge
Excerpt: The California Air Resources Board violated state environmental law in 2008 when it adopted a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases and again last year when it passed cap-and-trade regulations, a San Francisco Superior Court judge has ruled in a tentative decision. If the decision is made final, California would be barred from implementing its ambitious plan to combat global warming until it complies with portions of the California Environmental Quality Act, though it is not yet clear what the air board would have to do to be in compliance. (I love the irony of this. Sometimes, beancounters bite themselves in the tail by accident. Ron P.)

It’s tough, but we all need to do our part
E-mail humor, no author given: The President ordered the cabinet to cut a whopping $100 million from the $3.5 trillion federal budget! I'm so impressed by this sacrifice that I have decided to do the same thing with our personal budget. I spend about $2000 a month on groceries, medicine, bills, general household expenses, etc., but it's time to get out the budget cutting ax, go line by line through my expenses, and go to work. I'm going to cut my spending at exactly the same ratio -1/35,000 of my total budget. After doing the math, it looks like instead of spending $2000 a month; I'm going to have to cut that number by six cents! Yes, I'm going to have to get by with $1999.94, but that's what sacrifice is all about. I'll just have to do without some things that are luxuries.

Did the National Rifle Association Buy Congress?
Excerpt: In the current Congress, Democrats average an NRA grade of “D,” and the law lobby comprised 6.9% of their campaign funding; Republicans average an “A” and received 2.7% of their funding from lawyers. The American Bar Association (ABA) recently recommended federal and state laws requiring microstamping, requiring a permanent database of all gun owners (licensing) and linking their firearms by serial number (registration). Since 1998, the ABA spent over $15.2M on lobbying. Since 1990, the American Association for Justice — formerly called the Association of Trial Lawyers of America — invested $131.6M in political spending, more than the NRA (see Table 2). An earlier report examined how the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Meagher and Flom, LLP has a financial stake in promoting gun control, noting its significant campaign finance “investment” in anti-rights candidates. Skadden was Obama’s 14th biggest contributor in 2008. Table 2 below categorizes Skadden’s $11.2M in political spending. Though a relatively modest sum, it’s 62% more than the entire firearms industry. The “per member” amounts in Table 3 are more compelling: With “over 2,000 attorneys,” Skadden spent about $1,170 per lawyer during the 2008 election cycle, compared to the NRA’s $4.61. Since 1990, lawyers contributed nearly $1.1 billion on federal campaigns alone. Plus, they spent hundreds of millions more on lobbying and PAC-funded campaign contributions. Unlike NRA PAC spending in Table 2, which included expenses like postage and administrative salaries, the law lobby’s PAC money went to candidates’ campaign funds. For an apples-apples comparison, the NRA spent $8.5M of all PAC money on campaign contributions; law lobby PACs spent about nine times more. Overall, the law lobby spent about 10 times as much as the NRA and firearms industry together. (Are you worried the evil “gun lobby” might exercise undue influence over elected officials? This article puts the financial-political picture in starkly understandable terms. I was briefly an NRA member back in the early 80s, but got tired of throwing away all the junk mail—worse than AARP—and dropped out. That doesn’t mean I disagree with them, just that I don’t like junk mail. Ron P. Yeah. I dropped the Heritage Foundation, as they spent every penny and then some of my dues not on the cause, but asking me for more money/ ~Bob.)

By Speaking from the Heart, Reagan Touched the Hearts of Americans
Excerpt: When I turned on the television that night in October 1964, I had no inkling that the speech I was about to watch would change my life. But when Ronald Reagan uttered his "you and I have a rendezvous with destiny" peroration, I knew that my own destiny had been set.
It was Reagan's "A Time for Choosing" speech for Sen. Barry Goldwater. The Arizona Republican lost to LBJ, but Reagan's speech stirred millions of Americans, many of whom, like me, had never before paid much attention to politicians. As a scrawny 14-year-old growing up in Oklahoma City, my major concern at the time was getting over the heartbreak of the New York Yankees losing the World Series to the hated St. Louis Cardinals, despite the fading heroics of my idol, Mickey Mantle, another Oklahoman. But Reagan tapped something deep within my heart that night, as he did so many others, young and old. He issued a clarion call in the tradition of Paul Revere, and, much like today's Tea Partiers, we heard him and came to join the cause. It was the passage about the Cuban refugee and what his story meant for Americans that affected me the most: "Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, 'We don't know how lucky we are.' "And the Cuban stopped and said, 'How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.' And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth."

Sentence for Sex Tape: Indonesia Pop Star Given 3 1/2 Years Under Anti-Porn Law
Excerpt: The case became a sensation in Indonesia and underscored the continuing tension between its many moderate Muslim residents and an influential core of conservative residents who feel the country is becoming too secular, especially with the spread of the Internet. Hundreds of Islamic hard-liners protested near the court on Monday, saying the sentence wasn't harsh enough. Other Indonesians, though, including human-rights activists, called the sentence heavy-handed and said it showed how courts can be bullied by a radical minority. "The whole legal process began with public pressure in the name of religion and morality," said Hendardi, the chairman of the Setara Institute, a human-rights organization in Jakarta. "The legal system bowed to public pressure, even though the public opinion it was responding to does not really represent the majority" of Indonesians, said Mr. Hendardi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

Britain facing 'unstoppable wave of home-grown suicide bombers' warns MI6
Need to get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo circulating! ~Bob. Excerpt: The terrifying prospect of a wave of suicide bombings by home-grown terrorists unknown to authorities was revealed today. The problem is set to blight Britain for a generation, an MI6 officer warned in secret intelligence documents. The Secret Intelligence Service official warned that radicalised British Muslims who undertake training will become 'suicide operatives' who will target innocent civilians.

Liberals! Please avert your eyes and chant, “All cultures are equally valid.” ~Bob. Excerpt: SHO Mirza Asif Baig said that Mukhtar Hussain had admitted to killing his daughter. He said Hussain wanted to marry the girl to his 52-year-old cousin, Saeed Ahmed. Hussain told the police his cousin was married but had no son. He said they had registered a case against Hussain and his brother. The victim’s mother, nominally the complainant, told The Express Tribune that she did not want her husband to be jailed. “My daughter was a disgrace to the family. We can’t tolerate our children disrespecting their elders’ wishes so we killed her,” Mukhtar Mai said, “why would I want my husband to be punished? He did the right thing.”

Mexican Cartels Taking Over Some North Texas Homes
People who use illegal drugs are morally culpable in the thousands of murders the drug gangs carry out annually. ~Boob. Excerpt: A “grow” house is where marijuana is grown. Pictures CBS 11 obtained show rows and rows of large, bright green marijuana plants. Elaborate lights hang above them to maintain the perfect temperature and humidity for a good crop. Fans stand around the room and wirings surrounds the shrubbery. It’s a massive operation controlled by a Mexican drug cartel. Is the Mexican drug cartel’s presence increasing here in North Texas? “Absolutely,” says the investigator showing us around. He admits it is ‘scary.’ “They’ll do whatever it takes to get into your neighborhood and hide.” “That’s where we are finding the high powered weapons,” says Constable Ben Adamcik, who says he has helped the Dallas Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration take down 40 of these homes in the last three years. It’s not common for Constables to get involved in this activity, but Adamcik is a former police officer and fighting drugs is his passion. The father and grandfather is determined to protect the children in the neighborhoods he protects.

Obama's latest gift to the unions
Excerpt: With public opinion increasingly critical of overpaid and under-performing labor unions, one might expect that union members and their representatives would be keeping a low profile while mounting a public relations campaign to repair their well-earned and sullied reputations. Not this bunch. In the face of an onslaught of public criticism of their excessive pay and absurdly generous health and retirement benefits coupled with a call for increased accountability and an end to tenure, public union members are actually becoming more strident and militant in their determination to demand what they seem to think is their entitlement. Fresh on the heels of the National Labor Relations Board's ruling confirming the right of unions to engage in "bannering," a Michigan carpenter's union is vigorously pursuing the practice. It's time for a court review of this practice and these belligerent unionists are providing the perfect case to pursue. Ken Braun at the Michigan Capitol Confidential provides a detailed report on the brouhaha. It seems that the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters isn't happy negotiating solely for members of it's union. The union is now resorting to a form of extortion to influence the actions of companies who don't use their members.

In high-stake​s poker game with Darrell Issa, Janet Napolitano passes again
Excerpt: What did top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa know, and when did he know it? That’s the question Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Janet Napolitano must be asking herself after the California Republican, who is chairman of the House oversight committee, showed a couple of aces in their high-stakes oversight poker game on Tuesday. Their game is not exactly on the level. Issa has a whistleblower at the DHS giving him an inside edge on every move. And uncertainty over what he knows may be why the agency is snubbing Issa on his document deadlines. Thursday, Napolitano missed Issa’s second deadline, one made in response to her unceremoniously missing the original one. Last Friday, a top Napolitano lieutenant sent Issa a short letter promising to comply “expeditiously,” only to let the deadline expire the next day. Experts say it was a pretty big brush off. “You don’t call up the committee one day before the deadline and tell them for the first time that you’re going to miss it,” said Adam Goldberg, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and veteran of the oversight wars during the Clinton administration, when he served as a counsel to the president. “I think that’s kind of irresponsible by the agency,” said Don Goldberg, a former special assistant to Bill Clinton who managed that administration’s response to Travel-gate, the FBI’s siege of Waco and other crises. “I would think the agency would want to get out of his crosshairs.”

House Prepares Investigation of Obamacare Waivers
Excerpt: The Republican congressman leading the investigation into the Obama administration’s decision to grant more than 700 waivers to the new health care law is questioning whether the law could be effective if so many waivers are needed. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) also noted the high percentage of Obama-supporting labor unions that received waivers -- which exempt them from a provision in the new health care law that bans annual limits on what insurance plans will pay for medical coverage. “The American people repeatedly have been told that the new health care law is an effective and responsible plan for overhauling the nation’s health care system,” Rep. Stearns told in a statement. “Yet, if the law is so good, why are so many waivers to the law being granted?”

A liberal is a power worshipper without the power. –George Orwell

Worth Reading: Mideast Bribery Done Right
Excerpt: If the recent media coverage of the Middle East has taught the American public one thing, it's this: All journalists are, evidently, also qualified Egyptologists. So trust me when I tell you that after nearly a day of intermittent research on the Internet, I came across only a single criterion that foreign nations must meet to receive aid from the United States: They just have to ask. They don't even have to ask nicely. Actually, we began bribing the Egyptian dictatorship -- which is pronounced "presidency" in Arabic -- with approximately $2 billion yearly beginning in the late '70s. The funding has helped Egyptians break the habit of launching wars they couldn't win and saved the Israeli army the hassle of sending tanks to exurbs of Cairo every few years. What the dollars did not seem to do is help foster any more liberalism; the money did not dissuade the Egyptian state-run media from fomenting anti-Western conspiracies and hatred, nor did it quell radicalism, and most consequentially, it did not stem the growing poverty in the nation. Most of our funding is apparently being used to maintain an impressive modern military force that is ready to defend the Egyptian homeland from Cypriot pirates and Coptic separatists -- both of which I believe I just made up and pose an existential threat to Egypt that equals anything in the real world.

President Obama Got Egypt Warning in 2010, CIA Official Says
Excerpt: U.S. intelligence agencies warned President Obama and the White House last year that instability in Egypt could threaten the rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a CIA official said. Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Stephanie O'Sullivan, the CIA's associate deputy director, was asked about briefings and warnings provided to the White House about Egypt. "We have warned of instability," O'Sullivan told the committee. "We didn't know what the triggering mechanism would be for that. And that happened at the end of the last year."

Allen West to Palm Beach Business Group: Commit to a better nation
Excerpt: U.S. Rep. Allen West said Friday that if Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns, having members of the Muslim Brotherhood in power would be dangerous.
“Let us remember, Anwar Sadat was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood,” West said. “The Muslim Brotherhood works in conjunction with Hezbollah.” The ramifications affect the national security of the United States, as well as its greatest Middle East ally, Israel, he said. West also discussed the deficit, taxes and the need for the United States to develop more energy sources. He spoke to nearly 100 members and guests of the Palm Beach Business Group during a breakfast meeting at 264 The Grill Friday.

No Retreat, No Surrender
Excerpt: Although the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, started fomenting genocide against the Jews in Palestine in that same era, these people were not a problem to the United States until Saudi Arabia got hijacked by Wahhabism – or, more precisely, made a Faustian bargain with the Wahhabis. I would like to refer you to a very enlightening report issued by Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom, which is one of the most energetic fighters against the religious repression in Islamic countries. Freedom House is chaired by none other than James Woolsey, who has, among other things, collaborated with heavyweights Frank Gaffney and Andrew McCarthy on the landmark report I’m continually referencing on this blog, Shariah: The Threat to America. The Freedom House report I want to recommend to you today is Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques. (Indeed, I wish I could make it required reading for everyone in Washington, since it paints a much more alarming picture of what is actually going on in American mosques than anyone in the public eye is admitting).

Brotherhood Statements Foster Confusion
It’s not that they don’t agree on policy. It’s that they don’t agree on how much of their anti-western, anti-women, anti-freedom, anti-Christian, anti Jew agenda it’s smart to reveal before getting power. ~Bob. Excerpt: It's no wonder world leaders don't know what to make of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group's leaders can't even reach consensus amongst themselves. Amidst the chaos of what is being dubbed the Papyrus Revolution, the leaders of Egypt's primary opposition party are taking to the airwaves worldwide in droves. From the United States to the United Kingdom, and Russia to Japan, senior Brotherhood members are being questioned about how they would manage the Egyptian state should they accede to power in the aftermath of President Mubarak and the ruling National Democratic Party. Of primary concern to many is the Brotherhood's stance on women's rights, the implementation of Islamic law, policies toward Egypt's sizeable Coptic Christian minority, and its projected plan for relations (or a lack thereof) with its neighbor, Israel. On that last issue, the Brothers just can't seem to project a unified message. On Monday, shock headlines made their way around the web that, when in power, the Brotherhood planned to scrap Egypt's more than 30-year peace treaty with Israel. The Egyptian people "should be prepared for war against Israel," senior London-based MB leader Muhammad Ghanem said to Iran's Arabic-language news station, Al-Alam.

Good Guys In The Middle East?
Excerpt: As we watch the demonstrations on the streets of Egypt, specifically in Cairo, it’s hard to know who the players are without a scorecard. I watch the LEFT, the media, and the White House cheering for the Street Demonstrators OPPOSED to Mubarak, and wonder if they have any idea who they’re really cheering for, since I don’t see any good guys on either side of the great divide. We’re also watching the epitome of Amateur Hour at the White House where Vice President Biden states that Mubarak isn’t a Dictator. Obama says the White House shouldn’t impose itself within the business of a foreign nation while HE DOES JUST THAT. And Hillary Clinton changes her story from interview to interview on what Mubarak should or shouldn’t do.

Laid-Back Attitude Leavens the Revolution [in Yemen]
Excerpt: For the past three weeks, protests have rocked this impoverished Middle Eastern capital. Some were massive; others were tiny. But one thing has remained constant: Most of the protests ended before 2 p.m. That's when many Yemenis enter khat-chewing sessions in their homes or cars, practically anywhere. "In Yemen, chewing khat is like drinking water," said Samir al-Sami, an aid worker observing the demonstration. "We can't live without it." Among its effects, khat is said to induce euphoria, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. The World Health Organization classifies it as a drug that, if abused, can cause mild psychological dependence. It is an illegal substance in the United States. In Yemen, researchers estimate that as much as 80 percent of the population chews khat leaves, the vast majority starting at a young age. (“Hey, Dude, we demand, like. Democracy or Islam or something, you know?” ~Bob)

Egypt Protests: Muslim Brotherhood to Join Talks
Why not—what could go wrong? ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: Egypt's most influential opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, says it will enter talks with officials on ending the country's political crisis. The group told Reuters the talks would begin on Sunday and would aim to assess how far the government was "ready to accept the demands of the people". The Brotherhood had earlier said it would not take part in the negotiations with Vice-President Omar Suleiman. President Hosni Mubarak has rejected protesters' demands that he quit now. He has said he will not seek re-election in elections in September, but huge crowds have been on the streets of Cairo and other cities in the past few weeks to demand his resignation. "We have decided to engage in a round of dialogue to ascertain the seriousness of officials towards the demands of the people and their willingness to respond to them," a spokesman for the Brotherhood told Reuters news agency.

Ready for the Muslim Brotherhood
Excerpt: As a participant in an election campaign, I learned a few basic lessons: The party must have a political program all members commit to with a vision of how to govern the country until the next election. Dissent within the party is a sure way of losing elections. Candidates must articulate not only what they will do for the country but also why the other party’s program will be catastrophic for the nation. The party has to be embedded in as many communities as possible, regardless of social class, religion or even political views. Candidates must constantly remind potential voters of their party’s successes and the opponent’s failures. The secular democratic and human-rights groups in Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world show little sign of understanding these facts of political life. The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, gets at least three out of four.

Chessboard: Balance of Power Changing Rapidly
Excerpt: What is striking about the Chessboard moves and the current crisis in Egypt is the rapidly changing scene and evolution of events and uprisings. The Chess Masters in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are playing out their moves very judiciously and both fully understand the domino effect of radical Islam, the caliphate and Jihad. Yes, we do have three games in one: Chess, Poker, Dominoes! This is not a set of events that one has the luxury of focusing upon individually. Egypt is key but not the only chess move in play. The chess board, or match, is a series of matches with many simultaneous games being played at once. The master is adept at playing many at once as Grand Master Boris Spassky and others did in worldwide chess competition. The moves on the chess board have global impact because of energy, global trade, and finances. If the trade routes are cut off or disturbed when oil and other goods cease flowing, the world economy (already at a precipice) could implode in hours and days with a twelve day global financial collapse scenario. After-all, it ostensibly started as a food problem in Tunisia; say the pundits, but of course, it is much more.

Obama's Egypt Flip-Flop
No one has ever accused Daily Beast or Leslie Gelb of being conservative, but he makes sense here. Ron P. Excerpt: As the Egyptian earthquake rumbles into its second week—with implications for U.S. security in the Middle East rivaling those for the Soviet Union during the 1989 uprisings in Eastern Europe—three matters roil my mind: First, most of the American talkocracy is now so utterly intoxicated with protestocracy, which they call democracy, that they outright neglect the enormous trials of getting from the streets to a real democracy. It's hard as hell, and the process lends itself to hijacking by extremists. Second, the Muslim Brotherhood jumps immediately to mind as hijackers, but don't overlook the potentially equal or greater threat to democracy from Egypt's beloved armed forces. The history of venomous domestic and foreign-policy pronouncements by the MB should keep us all awake at night. And never forget that the murderers of the great President Anwar Sadat were Muslim Brothers embedded in the army. All who ignore this history are naïve, best suited to cable-TV commentary, not policymaking. Third, the Obama White House hasn't helped matters by shifting policy ground almost daily, causing confusion, and thereby squandering America's credibility and limited but precious influence. President Obama has got to learn the fundamental rule of dealing with careening crises: State your basic principles and then shut up publicly!

Obama Well Knows What Chaos He Has Unleashed
Excerpt: My fear is that Obama is not naïve at all, but he instead knows only too well what he is doing, for he is eagerly promoting Islamic power in the world while diminishing the West and Israel, however much innocent blood will flow as a result. Inevitably, sooner or later, the Muslim Brotherhood will take power, usher in a barbaric Islamist power in Egypt that will control the Suez Canal, and show no mercy to its own people or its perceived foes. So now we see what the present incumbent in the White House has wrought, and so can our few remaining allies. They must now wonder what confidence they can ever have in any future alliance with the United States. We should be aware of what endemic Islamic violence has wrought in the past. For example, assassinations of Arab leaders are not an infrequent occurrence. After the 1948 Arab-Israel War, the King of Jordan, Abdullah, was murdered by followers of the Muslim fanatic, the Mufti of Jerusalem. (I tend to belong to the “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence” school. ~Bob.)

Regime Seeks an Exit for Mubarak
Excerpt: In a sign of how the huge turnouts, after 11 days of protests, are tilting political calculations in the country, members of Egypt's ruling class stopped by [Tahrir] square for the first time; opposition leaders, meanwhile, began hashing out a provisional constitution.
President Barack Obama, in Washington, urged Mr. Mubarak to consider his legacy when considering whether to leave office before elections scheduled for later this year. But Mr. Obama didn't call for his immediate resignation—though Washington has been urging an immediate transition of power. Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi visited the square early Friday with other senior officers, the highest-level government figure to do so, in what appeared to be a bid to boost the army's morale and burnish its image as a neutral mediator in the standoff. Arab League chief Amr Moussa, once Mr. Mubarak's foreign minister and a potential presidential candidate, also spent time in the square. Both men were warmly welcomed by protesters.

No comments:

Post a Comment