Saturday, March 12, 2011

Political Digest for March 12, 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.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

Probably no post Sunday, as the Granddaughter has plans for me Saturday.

Missing in Seattle--Can You Help?
Posted Friday Afternoon if you missed it.

Wisconsin Assembly approves bill to slash union rights for public workers
The photo shows union thugs on the floor of the House screaming at legislators. Since when in America do we allow lobbyists to come on the floor of a legislature and try to intimidate legislators? Will the left and the media roll over if the Tea Party adopts these tactics? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Wisconsin State Assembly approved a bill Thursday that would slash union rights for public workers. The vote comes a day after the state Senate used a legislative maneuver to pass the bill without the 14 Democratic senators who fled the state in an effort to block it. The bill, proposed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, is considered the most devastating blow to labor unions in many years and in the last three weeks has drawn thousands of union supporters to the state Capitol in protest. The measure passed the Assembly, 53 to 42. Republicans agreed to two hours of debate before calling a vote. Before the vote, police briefly locked down the Capitol in Madison Thursday as thousands of protesters swarmed outside and members of the GOP-led State Assembly neared a final vote on a bill that would slash union rights for public workers.
The Assembly session was delayed when some Democratic representatives could not make it into the chamber as at least 100 protesters packed the hallway of the Capitol and pounded on drums.

Wisconsin governor wins his battle with unions on collective bargaining
What a blatant power grab! Damn Republicans got themselves elected in the majority, then stayed at their jobs and voted while Democrats fled the state, and shirked their sworn duty. Outrageous to win that way and not give in to the absent minority. ~Bob. Excerpt: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has won his drive to strip the state's government workers of nearly all of their collective-bargaining rights, prevailing after a three-week standoff that brought tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol and transfixed the political world. The new legislation, which Walker signed into law Friday, represents a major setback for organized labor, but the political battle over public employees and their rights to bargain is likely to continue - not only in Madison. The state Assembly passed Walker's proposal Thursday, a day after Republican senators outmaneuvered the 14 Democratic senators who had fled Wisconsin to deny a quorum needed for passing a budget measure. By stripping the bill of its spending language, they were able to pass it with only Republicans present. Despite losing the battle in Wisconsin, union leaders said it would have repercussions across the country.

NPR Muslim Brotherhood Investigation Part II

Sen. Rand Paul on Consumer Choice in Energy Committee Hearing

NPR Was Going to Accept Muslim Education Action Center Donation and Hide It from the Government
Excerpt: Liley said a $5 million donation would amount to about “10 years of support.” Kasaam follows up by asking: “The fact that NPR is not only a tax-exempt organization, but also receives direct contributions from the government — does that invite some sort of government oversight or government examination of contributions, et cetera?” Liley answered: “They have audited our programs at times and, I think, as part of that, they can look at our audited financials. If you are concerned in any way about that, that’s one reason you might want to be an anonymous donor. And, we would certainly, if that was your interest, want to shield you from that.” Liley mentioned a precedent at NPR — in more than $80 million in donations from universities. “As I said, like this guy that I used to work with who gave – where I used to work for the university, I don’t know, $5 or $10 or $12 million, he was just entered into the database as anonymous,” Liley said. “I knew who he was and about five other people did, but there was no paperwork in any official place that identified him as that donor.”

Compelling Testimony, Political Theater at Radicalization Hearing
Excerpt: When members of Minneapolis' Somali community realized their sons had disappeared and likely gone back to Africa to join a jihadist group, mosque leaders told them to keep quiet. If you go to the FBI, you could end up in Guantanamo Bay with alleged terrorists, some were told. If authorities learn about it, mosques in America might be shut down in response. You, the worried relatives were told, will pay for that in the afterlife by being damned with "eternal fire and hell." Abdirizak Bihi's nephew was among those missing. Burhan Hassan later would be killed in Somalia after joining the al-Shabaab terrorist group. How this promising A-student grew so radical that he gave up the American dream was supposed to be the focus of a hearing Thursday before the House Homeland Security Committee. The spike in homegrown Islamist terrorism cases in recent years – driven by a targeted recruitment effort of young Muslim Americans by al-Qaida, is a concern for American law enforcement and intelligence officials. The hearing's focus solely on Islamic radicalization generated criticism in the weeks leading up to it and throughout the more-than-four-hour proceeding. Committee Democrats repeatedly devoted significant portions of their time to attacking the hearing's focus on Islamic radicalization. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas wondered whether the hearing violated the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom. California Rep. Jackie Speier denigrated the panelists' experiences, calling them anecdotes that offered little from which to learn.

When Energy Efficiency Sullies the Environment
When bureaucrats substitute their judgment for consumers in the marketplace, things always get screwed up. But they never learn. ~Bob. Excerpt: Now, you might think that dirtier clothes are a small price to pay to save the planet. Energy-efficiency standards have been embraced by politicians of both parties as one of the easiest ways to combat global warming. Making appliances, cars, buildings and factories more efficient is called the “low-hanging fruit” of strategies to cut greenhouse emissions. But a growing number of economists say that the environmental benefits of energy efficiency have been oversold. Paradoxically, there could even be more emissions as a result of some improvements in energy efficiency, these economists say. The problem is known as the energy rebound effect. While there’s no doubt that fuel-efficient cars burn less gasoline per mile, the lower cost at the pump tends to encourage extra driving. There’s also an indirect rebound effect as drivers use the money they save on gasoline to buy other things that produce greenhouse emissions, like new electronic gadgets or vacation trips on fuel-burning planes.

A Private Alternative to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Excerpt: There is nothing unique, per se, about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that the private sector could not provide. Both Fannie/Freddie and the private sector have loan-underwriting models; both can purchase loans and create mortgage-backed securities (MBS); both the private and public sector can offer mortgage insurance. But the one thing that Fannie and Freddie have that the private sector does not is an explicit guarantee from the federal government, say Anthony B. Sanders, a professor at George Mason University, and Michael Lea, the Director of The Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate at San Diego State University. If the private sector can replicate Fannie and Freddie's only defining "virtue" -- a federal-government guarantee -- then there is no justification for keeping Fannie and Freddie around either in conservatorship or in their preconservatorship forms. Fannie and Freddie will not be missed nor will their absence make a difference to the housing market or the economy. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be phased out over a five-year period. Covered bonds (like in Denmark and Germany) and an improved private label MBS market are needed to take their places, along with increase lender portfolio lending. Without Fannie and Freddie, it is reasonable to expect a small drop in homeownership rates as well as a small increase in mortgage interest rates (100 basis points in the short run, less in the long run). In other words, not much will change in a world without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, other than saving taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in the future, say Sanders and Lea. (Year, but could the private sector provide huge bonuses to politically-connected hacks like Franklin Raines? Probably. ~Bob.)

The State Pension Time Bomb: Poor accounting rules and flagrant irresponsibility have sped up the states’ day of reckoning.
What’s been happening in Wisconsin and other states is nothing compared to what’s coming. ~Bob. Excerpt: For decades state officials have encouraged adults to believe in the financial equivalent of the Tooth Fairy: that state pensions can yield high returns while being risk-free. Now taxpayers are in for a serious toothache. Nearly every state offers defined-benefit pension plans for public employees. Financed through a mix of employee and employer contributions along with the investment returns on pension funds, a defined-benefit plan represents a contractual obligation to dole out a set amount in annual payments for as long as the recipient lives, regardless of whether there are sufficient assets in the fund at the time of the employee’s retirement. One would think this obligation to pay no matter what would have led states to invest conservatively and plan ahead. Instead, they have been following accounting rules that pretty much guarantee the funds will be unsustainable. First, by law, states are not required to pony up regular contributions to pension systems. Lawmakers generally jump on any opportunity to be fiscally irresponsible, so many states have deferred pension payments and used their share of the contribution to increase spending in other areas.

Market Solutions to Health Reform
Like day traders trying to game the stock market, leftists central planners always think they are smart enough to substitute their judgment for the judgment of millions of consumers made daily in the market—and they are never deterred by disaster. ~Bob. Excerpt: Government has become increasingly active in regulating and financing health care over the last 40 years -- increasing health care spending from 25 percent to more than 50 percent of overall spending. This increased intervention has led to higher, not lower, health care costs. The tendency to underestimate the costs of government intervention introduces a serious problem for advocates of more government control of health care, says D. Eric Schansberg, a professor of economics at Indiana University Southeast. So, what would it look like to have less government involvement in health care? Schansberg recommends, among other things: End, or at least reduce, the subsidy for health insurance obtained by workers through their employers. Eliminate payroll taxes on health savings account (HSA) contributions, allow HSAs to be used to pay insurance premiums and allow contributions to HSAs after age 65. Dramatically reduce insurance regulation. And repeal or replace labor regulations that unduly restrict the provision of health care services by trained medical personnel who are not doctors. It is increasingly obvious that government solutions to health care are not effective. People often find market outcomes appealing. Proponents of free markets in health care should work to make the most persuasive case for real reform and to achieve incremental reforms where possible, says Schansberg.

U.S. to send aid team to eastern Libya; Clinton to meet rebel representatives
I’m willing to go in with a Marine MEU, but an armed aid team? They are braver than me. Will Clinton wear a burka, or at least a hijab, as required for the inferior sex by believers? ~Bob. Excerpt: The White House announced Thursday that it will send a government aid team into rebel-held parts of Libya and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she will meet next week with representatives of the transition council, moves that edged the Obama administration closer to the formal Libyan opposition. But the administration stopped far short of recognizing the council as Libya's legitimate government and continued to wrestle with how to achieve its goals of pushing Moammar Gaddafi from power while ensuring that something better far replaces him. The White House rejected criticism from some lawmakers that its response has been too slow to fast-moving events on the ground. On Thursday, Gaddafi loyalists routed opposition fighters from Ras Lanuf, a strategic oil port the rebels had held for a week, and said they had retaken the town of Zawiyah, 27 miles west of Tripoli.

Electricity prices could be impacted by when electric vehicles charge up
Huh? The coal-powered Obama Volt is bad for the environment and will raise rates on poor folks? Surprise! No sweat. They don't have to plug in at five when they get home--just take an extension cord to work. Duh. ~Bob. Excerpt: Only a few people in the Chicago area will be part of the first wave of electric vehicle owners later this year. But their charging habits have the potential to affect everyone's electricity prices. If they plug in their cars at the wrong time of day, everyone will pay the price for the added burden on the electric grid. Moreover, there's the potential to do more environmental harm than good by forcing higher-polluting generating plants to work overtime to meet the extra demand. "If everybody comes home and plugs in those electric vehicles at 5 o'clock at night, that's going to be a problem," Mike McMahan, vice president of smart grid and technology at Commonwealth Edison Co., said at a meeting Wednesday of the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Fake Muslim in Video to Ousted NPR Executives: Now You Know What It Feels Like To Be An Everyday American
Excerpt: Shaughn Adeleye, one of the men who acted as a representative of the fake Muslim Brotherhood front organization that spawned the National Public Radio (NPR) sting videos conservative James O’Keefe released Tuesday morning, told The Daily Caller “it’s unfortunate that they [Ron Schiller and Vivian Schiller] had to lose their jobs over expressing what they believe.” “But, everything they have been saying is contrary to what they should have been saying and what they say that they are,” Adeleye said in a phone interview. “I do not feel bad for them that they got fired – well, they say they resigned. And, he lost his job at the Aspen Institute. He’s pretty much in the unemployment line, both of them, him and Vivian. You know what? Now they’re going to know what it feels like to be common, every day citizens who have lost their jobs or just struggling every day to pay bills and make a life for themselves.” Adeleye also told TheDC that the public might be missing the point of this investigation: “What would have happened if we were actually a Muslim group and we actually had everything laid out and we got to the point where we could show them the proof?” What would have happened is anyone’s guess, but Adeleye is almost certain NPR would have taken the money and said he expects NPR would adjust its news coverage in doing so – possibly drastically.

Russian Footprints
Old, but of current interest. ~Bob. The Kremlin may be the main winner in the Lebanon war. Israel has been attacked with Soviet Kalashnikovs and Katyushas, Russian Fajr-1 and Fajr-3 rockets, Russian AT-5 Spandrel antitank missiles and Kornet antitank rockets. Russia’s outmoded weapons are now all the rage with terrorists everywhere in the world, and the bad guys know exactly where to get them. The weapons cases abandoned by Hezbollah were marked: “Customer: Ministry of Defense of Syria. Supplier: KBP, Tula, Russia.” Today’s international terrorism was conceived at the Lubyanka, the headquarters of the KGB, in the aftermath of the1967 Six-Day War in the Middle East. I witnessed its birth in my other life, as a Communist general. Israel humiliated Egypt and Syria, whose bellicose governments were being run by Soviet razvedka (Russian for “foreign intelligence”) advisers, whereupon the Kremlin decided to arm Israel’s enemy neighbors, the Palestinians, and draw them into a terrorist war against Israel. (Now things really become clear. Terribly, frighteningly clear. --Del)

Mayor, police chief charged in gun smuggling probe
Excerpt: The mayor and police chief of a tiny New Mexico border town best known for a raid by Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa nearly a century ago were among 11 people accused Thursday of participating in a ring alleged to have illegally sent firearms to Mexico. A federal indictment said the defendants have engaged in a conspiracy - based in Columbus, N.M. - to buy firearms since January 2010. Law enforcement officers executed search warrants Thursday at the Columbus Police Department, a gun shop and eight homes. The indictment alleges the defendants purchased firearms favored by Mexican cartels, including AK-47-type pistols, weapons resembling AK-47 rifles - but with shorter barrels - and American Tactical 9 mm caliber pistols. Authorities also said 12 firearms purchased by defendants were later found in Mexico. Mayor Eddie Espinoza, Police Chief Angelo Vega, and town Trustee Blas Gutierrez were among those accused of firearms and smuggling charges in the 84-count indictment unsealed Thursday afternoon. The defendants bought approximately 200 firearms over a 14-month period from Chaparral Guns in Chaparral, N.M., which is owned by defendant Ian Garland, authorities said. They're accused of falsely claiming they were buying the firearms for themselves when they were actually acting as "straw purchasers" - buying firearms on behalf of others.

Todd Stroger applies for unemployment benefits
Excerpt: Like thousands of Illinoisans who have lost their jobs, former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has applied for unemployment benefits. But newly minted Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s administration officially “protested” the claim with the state’s unemployment agency. “. . . Former Board President Todd Stroger did submit an application for unemployment,” said a source in the Preckwinkle administration who is familiar with the application. “That application was protested because, as a former elected official, he is ineligible.”

Mann UVA case clears a roadblock
Excerpt: It seems the process to get supporting evidence from University of Virginia has overcome a roadblock. From the Virginia Court System: Appeals Granted Case KENNETH T. CUCCINELLI, II, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF VIRGINIA v. RECTOR AND VISITORS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA (Record Number 102359) (The Appeals Court ruled the lower court erred in five particulars when it shielded the University of Virginia from responding immediately to the Attorney General’s demand for documents and information about Dr. Mann’s work. When combined with Dr. Wahl’s revelations (see “To Serve Mann” in TOJ on 10 Mar 2011), this has to make Dr. Michael Mann and his friends/accomplices very uncomfortable. It is just possible this could be the big break we’ve been waiting for since the Climategate emails came out. Ron P.)
Excerpt: Elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group whose ideology has inspired terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, are in the United States and have supported terrorism here and overseas, FBI Director Robert Mueller told a House committee Thursday. Mueller joined seven other Obama administration intelligence and law enforcement officials at a hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. They spoke of the Brotherhood's U.S. ties as word spread in Egypt that President Hosni Mubarak was prepared to resign. Mubarak has repeatedly said his administration, in place since 1981, is the one thing keeping an Islamic state led by the Brotherhood from taking over Egypt.

Profile Me, Please! King's Muslim Hearings Are No Witch Hunt
Excerpt: In recent days, Rep. Peter King has been accused of starting a “witch hunt” by holding hearings, starting this Thursday, called “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response.” As an American Muslim woman who has lived in this country for 42 years, I firmly believe the hearings on Muslim radicalization are not a witch hunt and King is no Joe McCarthy, the senator who led hearings on communism in America. Our worst enemies in America, I would argue, are Muslim interest groups and leaders, who do more to deny the problem than defeat it, thus furthering frustrations with the Muslim community. We need to acknowledge that there is a problem. We have seen the encroachment of extremist interpretations of Islam into our American Muslim community, and as a community we have largely sat on the fence about these very serious issues. I know because, for most of my life, I sat on the fence, calculating, like many in our community, that it was just easier to look the other way than confront difficult truths. Starting in the 1970s, I saw puritanical, intolerant ideologies creep into my community. I also watched as many moderate Muslims simply cowered or walked away, intimidated into thinking they were less pious or faithful—or concluding it wasn’t worth the bother. I was among them. Social ostracism was one weapon in silencing dissent. Sept. 11, 2001, was my wakeup call.

Excerpt: When House Homeland Security Committee Chair Pete King holds hearings on the source of homegrown terror Thursday, he should zero in on the radical Muslim Brotherhood. FBI case agents who've investigated Brotherhood-controlled mosques, charities and other fronts here in America say that virtually every major terror case points back to the Egypt-based Brotherhood. Over the last few decades, the Muslim Brotherhood has stealthily built an impressive infrastructure of support for terrorists, from Washington to New York, from Chicago to San Diego. Pre-9/11, much of their activity went unnoticed by even law enforcement. But now the US Justice Department says -- albeit quietly, through a growing body of post-9/11 court records -- that most major Muslim groups in America are fronts for the Brotherhood. And these US fronts have raised millions of dollars for Hamas, al Qaeda and other terror groups.

When I heard that the Muslim Brotherhood paid for Ellison's hajj, I felt like weeping, too
Excerpt: Ellison's pilgrimage to Mecca was paid for by the Muslim American Society, an organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ellison's crocodile tears are in service of a deception. The existence of Muslims who truly accept American Constitutional freedoms does not mitigate or refute the existence of jihadists, jihad sympathizers, and Islamic supremacists among Muslims in the U.S., and vice versa. This would be an elementary point taken for granted by everyone were it not for the determined efforts of Congressman Ellison (D-Muslim Brotherhood) and his allies to obfuscate it.

Pakistani hospitals see epidemic of marital rape: "If I refuse the angels will curse me all night"
Excerpt: Who could possibly tell a woman such a thing? Muhammad: "If a husband calls his wife to his bed [i.e. to have sexual relation] and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning" (Sahih Bukhari 4.54.460)." And there is more: "By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself [to him for sexual intercourse] she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel's saddle" (Ibn Majah 1854)." And of course, Qur'an 4:34's instruction to beat disobedient women sets the precedent for answering supposed "disobedience" with violence. Women in the Muslim world continue to suffer the consequences of these instructions from their prophet. "Silence on spousal sexual assault jarring: Doctors," by Saleha Rauf for the International Herald Tribune, March 10. (But, as Whoopi Goldberg would say, it’s “not rape, rape.”)

Islamophobia or homophobia?
Author doesn’t understand that in the PC game, Muslim now trumps Gay. Muslim violence and intimidation of Gays is excused. Just part of their culture, you know. ~Bob. Excerpt: Now, can we please have a proper conversation about homophobic violence? Because, quite frankly, I'm sick of it. Sick of hearing that friends have been intimidated. Sick of being told that parts of London are a 'gay-free zone'. Sick of the right-wing columnists who fan the flames of homophobia. Sick of the left-wing apologists who make excuses on the basis of culture or religion. In the last few years there have been more and more reports of homophobic incidents in Tower Hamlets, often involving attacks on gay men by gangs of young Bangladeshis. In one case, a gay man was stabbed seven times and is now paralysed. When his Bangladeshi attacker was jailed, a gang stormed the George and Dragon pub, a popular haunt for the gay community. A few weeks ago, for the second time, stickers appeared close to the George and Dragon and other gay venues in the area, quoting passages from the Koran and declaring the borough a 'Gay-Free Zone'.

Meet a True Muslim Patriot
Excerpt: Looking at Zuhdi Jasser, you wouldn't expect him to be a national lightning rod. Polished and polite, he is a medical doctor and Navy veteran who finds no contradiction between being a proud Muslim and a patriot willing to die for his country. It is precisely that mutual love of Islam and America that led Dr. Jasser to speak out in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when he was disgusted by a parade of Muslims taking to the media to blame "U.S. foreign policy" rather than Islamic fanaticism. Of course, in covering Peter King’s (R-NY) hearings yesterday on Islamic radicalization at which Dr. Jasser testified, the media didn’t bother to tell his compelling and only-in-America life story.

President of China?
Excerpt: “Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’” Mr. Obama is right. If you’re president of China, people around the world who are fighting for freedom don’t really expect you to help. If you’re president of China, you don’t have to put up with annoying off-year congressional elections, and then negotiate your budget with a bunch of gun-and-religion-clinging congressmen and senators. If you’re president of China, you can fund your national public radio to your heart’s content. And if you’re president of China, when you host a conference on bullying in schools, people take you seriously. Unfortunately for him and us, Barack Obama is president of the United States. That job brings with it certain special responsibilities. It’s a tough job—maybe tougher than being president of China. But Barack Obama ran for president of the United States. Maybe he should start behaving as one.

3 men who discovered bomb say they later lost jobs
Excerpt: Three cleanup workers who were hailed as heroes after finding a live bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane said they later lost their jobs after supervisors questioned their handling of the situation. The men were employed by Labor Ready and working under contract for the Spokane Public Facilities District when they found a backpack containing the bomb about an hour before the scheduled start of the Jan. 17 parade. They alerted police, who were able to defuse the bomb. "For the first two days, basically all we did was get chewed out," worker Mark Steiner told KHQ of Spokane. "We did this wrong. We did that wrong. I don't know what you consider calling 911 wrong after two minutes after we found it." (No good deed goes unpunished. –LW)

CBP Seizes Less Than 1% of Drug Money Smuggled Into Mexico Across Southwest
Excerpt: The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency over the last two years has seized about $65 million along the southwest border in illicit bulk cash being smuggled out of the United States. That’s less than 1 percent of the estimated $18-$39 billion in drug-trafficking proceeds ferreted across the border, a government report states.

A Letter To America
Excerpt: The following essay is adapted from the Encounter Books Broadside, "Why America Must Not Follow Europe," No. 19 in a series. On a U.S. talk-radio show recently, I was asked what I thought about the notion that Barack Obama had been born in Kenya. "Pah!" I replied (or words to that effect). "Your president was plainly born in Brussels." American conservatives have struggled to press President Obama's policies into a meaningful narrative. Is he a socialist? No, at least not in the sense of wanting the state to own key industries. Is he a straightforward New Deal big spender, in the model of FDR and LBJ? Not exactly. (A very thought provoking essay from someone in the perfect position to comment along these lines. I think he's really hit something here, and without any cutting criticism of Mr. Obama personally. I do see the thrust of moving us in the directions Hannan describes, and agree strongly that it's the wrong direction for this nation. We need to improve various things here, notably the health care system, and maybe some election reform (if we could get any politicians to actually back it), but to go in the direction of the untouchable bureaucracies and what some call the nanny state is not a good thing for us. According to the writer, and some others I know living in Europe, it hasn't been all that good for Europe either. One definition of intelligence is the capacity to watch others making mistakes, observing them suffering penalties thereby, and learning something. Seems like a good idea for us. --Del)

From a reader in Indianapolis
In case you haven't seen this today there were as reported, about 8,000 protesters at the State Capitol building here in Indianapolis. These were state employees in the union protesting the Government wanting to cancel their collective bargaining deal. Here's how that 8,000 breaks down. 1. 75 bus loads of union government employees from Illinois, those are Continental Trailways type buses that brought them in. 2. 20+ buses from Ohio with the banner on them, "Ohio Teamsters". 3. Several buses (number not known) from Kentucky. 4. Several buses (number not known) from Washington, DC. Doing a little calculation says that AT LEAST 90% of the 8,000 there today were from out of state. You must know that they are paid by the union to come to these protests. What you might not have considered is the following. The Union gets their money from the dues paying union members. The dues paying union members get their money from the government in their paychecks. The government gets their money in order to pay those people from the TAX PAYING PRIVATE SECTOR. So the reality is those of us in the private sector are paying for our own demise. --TF

Hero sues New York Times for accusing him of complicity in terrorism
Excerpt: A Texas man who helped the FBI defuse a plot to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention is suing the New York Times for libel for claiming he was part of the violent conspiracy. The man with the bull’s eye on his back is Brandon Darby, formerly a far-left community organizer. This defector from the left stands accused by the New York Times and by angry radical groups of being an agent provocateur. It’s just about the worst thing one can be accused of in radical circles. Unhinged anarchists across the country would love to get their hands on Darby, as The Daily Caller reported a year ago. As he filed his lawsuit today, Darby said he was “proud of having participated in the FBI’s successful efforts to keep Americans safe” at the convention that nominated the John McCain-Sarah Palin presidential ticket. He said he was “deeply saddened” that the New York Times claimed he “‘encouraged’ the very bomb plot at the 2008 convention I put myself at risk to prevent.” (I hope his lawyer is working on contingency. When Gen. Westmoreland sued for libel, proved his case, and the NYT was found guilty, the jury award was only $1. Still, good luck to him; maybe he can put them out of business. Anybody suing those anti-American scumbags has my sympathy. Ron P.)

North Korea Nears Completion of Electromagnetic Pulse Bomb
Excerpt:  Since March 4, Pyongyang has been trying to disrupt GPS receivers critical to South Korean military communications apparently in protest of the ongoing joint military training exercises between South Korean and U.S. forces. Strong jamming signals were sent intermittently every five to 10 minutes. (…) The jamming, however, has raised questions about whether the Korean peninsula is bracing for new electronic warfare.  The North is believed to be nearing completion of an electromagnetic pulse bomb that, if exploded 25 miles above ground would cause irreversible damage to electrical and electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers, radio and radar, experts say. (…) The current attempts to interfere with GPS transmissions are coming from atop a modified truck-mounted Russian device. Pyongyang reportedly imported the GPS jamming system from Russia in early 2000 and has since developed two kinds of a modified version. It has also in recent years handed out sales catalogs of them to nations in the Middle East, according to South Korea's Chosun Ilbo. (This could be more ominous than it sounds. Most of South Korea's military equipment—and much of our own—is dependent on COMMERCIAL GPS to locate itself and navigate. We used to say "There were few malfunctions with the battle ax." What we meant was the more complex something becomes, the easier it is to mess it up to the point of uselessness. Only an elected politician—and, one with no military background at that—would opt to buy military equipment dependent on insecure civilian systems that an opposing force will take out in the first seconds of an attack. Ron P.)

Compelling Testimony, Political Theater at Radicalization Hearing
Excerpt: Bledsoe, like Bihi, described his own family tragedy. His son Carlos grew up happy and well-adjusted, until he was "manipulated and lied to" after converting to Islam by local Muslim leaders who helped him go to Yemen and study with radicals. In June 2009, Carlos Bledsoe, now called Abdulhakeem Mujahid Muhammad, opened fire at a Little Rock, Ark., Army recruiting office, killing one soldier and injuring a second. His father testified that other "hunters" for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are trying to recruit more Muslims to join their jihad. He repeatedly stressed that he has other Muslim relatives, whom he described as "modern, peaceful, law abiding people." He wondered why a conversation about radicalization among Muslims like his own son generated so much angst. "It seems to me that the American people are sitting around and doing nothing about Islamic extremism, as if Carlos's story and the other stories told at these hearings aren't true. There is a big elephant in the room, but our society continues not to see it."

Obama Ratifies Bush
And the media, which excoriated Bush, is silent about The One. ~Bob. Excerpt: No one has done more to revive the reputation of Bush-era antiterror policies than the Obama Administration. In its latest policy reversal, yesterday Mr. Obama said the U.S. would resume the military tribunals for Guantanamo terrorists that he unilaterally suspended two years ago, and he may even begin referring new charges to military commissions within days or weeks. The political left is enraged by what it claims is a betrayal, but we're glad to see Mr. Obama bowing to security reality and erring on the side of keeping the country safe—with one exception, about which more below. On a conference call yesterday, senior Administration officials tried to sell their military commissions process as more "credible" than Mr. Bush's, but their policy changes are de minimis. In 2009, Congress made technical reforms for handling testimony and classified information. By executive order, a new panel will now also conduct a "periodic review" of detentions. But the bipartisan Military Commissions Act of 2006, or MCA, had already included "administrative review boards" dedicated to the same goal. The White House yesterday also stressed its commitment to civilian terror prosecutions going forward, but that also doesn't mean much. Last year the Democratic Congress barred funding for transferring enemy combatants from Gitmo to the U.S., and that won't change with a Republican House.

State Workers and N.Y.’s Fiscal Crisis
Fox News? No, the NYT! Of course, they go on to blame Republicans for distorting the issue. ~Bob. Excerpt: At a time when public school students are being forced into ever more crowded classrooms, and poor families will lose state medical benefits, New York State is paying 10 times more for state employees’ pensions than it did just a decade ago. That huge increase is largely because of Albany’s outsized generosity to the state’s powerful employees’ unions in the early years of the last decade, made worse when the recession pushed down pension fund earnings, forcing the state to make up the difference. Although taxpayers are on the hook for the recession’s costs, most state employees pay only 3 percent of their salaries to their pensions, half the level of most state employees elsewhere. Their health insurance payments are about half those in the private sector. In all, the salaries and benefits of state employees add up to $18.5 billion, or a fifth of New York’s operating budget. Unless those costs are reined in, New York will find itself unable to provide even essential services.

Obama's Social Security Hoax
Excerpt: Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three -- Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- Social Security is the most solvable. Back-of-an-envelope solvable: Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula (from wage inflation to price inflation) and means-test so that Warren Buffett's check gets redirected to a senior in need. The relative ease of the fix is what makes the Obama administration's Social Security strategy so shocking. The new line from the White House is: no need to fix it because there is no problem. As Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew wrote in USA Today just a few weeks ago, the trust fund is solvent until 2037. Therefore, Social Security is now off the table in debt-reduction talks. This claim is a breathtaking fraud.

Rep. Allen West Slams Military Diversity Report
Excerpt: The Military Leadership Diversity Commission’s (MLDC) conclusion this week that there are too many white men in senior positions in the military “is a slap in the face” to those minorities who have achieved seniority, according to retired Lt. Colonel and Florida Republican Rep. Allen West. According to the MLDC’s report, released Monday, 77 percent of active duty senior officers are white, 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women. The report suggested the lack of minorities in military leadership is something that needs to change. To that end, the commission’s report includes 20 recommendations on how to increase the proportion of minority officers in the military in order to create a fighting force that better represents the make up of the population it defends. In an interview with The Daily Caller, West, who is black, was not pleased with the report, saying that the military is not a social experiment for outside groups to impose their theories. Rather, he said, it is a merit based organization where anybody can succeed.

Army reprimands 9 officers in Fort Hood shooting
Punished for keeping their mouths shut in the politically-correct, pro-diversity Army. ~Bob. Excerpt: Nine Army officers are being reprimanded for leadership failures in connection with the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, and their failure to detect and report problems with the accused shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, as he moved along in his medical career. Saying that although no single event directly led to the tragedy, Army Secretary John McHugh found that certain officers failed to meet expected standards, an Army statement said Thursday. The officers — all lieutenant or above — will receive punishments ranging from an oral reprimand to the far more serious written letter of censure that is considered a career-ender. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 shooting spree on the Texas military post. A Pentagon review last year found that Hasan's supervisors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he worked expressed serious concerns about his questionable behavior and poor judgment but failed to heed their own warnings. It said the Army psychiatrist's supervisors continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving up through the ranks despite worries about his strident views on Islam and worries about his competence. In one episode, Hasan reportedly gave a class presentation questioning whether the U.S.-led war on terror was actually a war on Islam. And fellow students said he suggested that Shariah, or Islamic law, trumped the Constitution, and that he also attempted to justify suicide bombings. (As I have said before, the Liberals have now achieved with the military what they did to police in the late 1960's on--putting them in the position of "Damned if you do--Damned if you don't" Let's imagine that one of these nine officers had DONE something, or advocated disciplinary action against Jihad Nidal. Where do you think that officer would have been now? I will tell you. He would now be a civilian-voluntarily or involuntarily. –DH. It sure took them long enough, given the readily available evidence of how everybody passed the buck on how to handle a clearly radicalized and poorly performing individual. I hope all the high ranking guys who knew about him and just transferred him, with even positive reviews, are on the street shortly. But this is really the result of PC worries in the military. Nobody wanted to get into the project of exposing and discharging a Muslim, because they knew it'd be a messy affair that might affect their careers. PC needs to be rejected wholesale in the military, but it seems to be staying as strong as ever, as we watch front line troops getting "sensitivity training" about gays in the military. Not to mention the push to get women into front line units, another PC idea with disaster written all over it. --Del)

Mindless Push for 'Diversity' in the Military Won't Win Wars
Excerpt: There are too many white men in the U.S. military. So says a report released this week by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC), commissioned by Congress to examine ways to "increase diversity" in the military. The MLDC report finds that 77% of active-duty senior officers are white, 8% black, 5% Hispanic, and 16% women (of unspecified race). What's the answer to this "problem"? Is the MLDC recommending that white males stop volunteering for military service? Do they want to start "selecting" who among them volunteers for service? Are they recommending that there be quotas for military service, as with the public university system? Or maybe the MLDC is going to recommend a mandatory draft for minorities and females until "diversity" is achieved? The military is currently all-volunteer. If there are "too many" white males, the obvious reason is because white males volunteer proportionately more than other races and women. (See the article above for the results of pushing for diversity rather than loyalty and competence. ~Bob.)

Bullied Teachers: 145,100 Public-School Teachers Physically Attacked by Students
Excerpt: What was not discussed at the White House conference was the massive number of American public-school teachers who, according to the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, have reported being physically attacked or threatened with injury by their students. In November, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics quietly released a report—“Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010”—indicating that 145,100 public school teachers had been physically attacked by students at their schools in the course of a single school year and that another 276,700 public school teachers had been threatened with injury by a student in that school year.

Expert Warns of Health Risks Associated With New Light Bulbs
Excerpt: In his testimony, Brandston claimed that parts of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act serve as a “de-facto ban on traditional incandescent light bulbs” and that compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs -- the most popular alternative to ordinary incandescent bulbs -- pose a risk to public health and safety.  “The compact fluorescent lamp contains mercury,” said Brandston. “One gram of mercury will pollute a two acre pond. This 2007 light bulb standard brings a deadly poison into every residence in our nation. (...) “Has anybody looked at the EPA recommendations put out in January 25, 2011 about what you do if one of these mercury light bulbs break in your home?” Risch asked. “In Idaho, we’ve had a number of instances where they’ve had a mercury spill in a science laboratory -- or something in the laboratory in the school -- and they immediately closed the school down for, I don’t know, a number of days while they cleaned it up,” he pointed out. (Article continues below the ad. Defenders say CFLs release less mercury than incandescent bulbs. If that was true, wouldn't the EPA require a several day clean-up every time an existing bulb was broken? I smell BS. Ron P.)

VIDEO: Mary Katharine Ham: Hammertime: Moore's National Resources
Excerpt: The grand total of the combined net worth of every single one of America’s billionaires is roughly $1.3 trillion. It does indeed sound like a “ton of cash” until one considers that the 2011 deficit alone is $1.6 trillion. So, if the government were to simply confiscate the entire net worth of all of America’s billionaires, we’d still be $300 billion short of making up this year’s deficit. That’s before we even get to dealing with the long-term debt of $14 trillion, which if you’re keeping score at home, is between 10 to 14 times the entire net worth of all of the country’s billionaires, combined. That includes the all-powerful Koch brothers ($40 billion between them), the all-powerful George Soros ($14.5 billion), all the Walton family (of the Wal-Mart fortune), Steve Jobs, Oprah (at a paltry $2.7 billion), the Google Founders, Michael Bloomberg, and the Mars family (of the candy bar empire).

Don’t put wire on your windows – it might hurt burglars! Villagers outraged after police order them not to protect garden sheds
Formerly Great Britain. ~Bob. Excerpt: Residents in Surrey and Kent villages have been ordered by police to remove wire mesh from their windows as burglars could be injured.
Home owners in the villages of Tandridge and Tatsfield in Surrey and in Westerham, Brasted and Sundridge in Kent have said they are furious that they are being branded 'criminals' for protecting their property. Locals had reinforced their windows with wire mesh after a series of shed thefts but were told by community police officers that the wire was 'dangerous' and could lead to criminals claiming compensation if they 'hurt themselves'.

One-third of U.S. wages are provided by the government
Excerpt: The average U.S. citizen currently has one-third of their wages made up government payouts, an all time record. This comes at a time of record government debt totaling $1.5 trillion for fiscal year 2011 and projected to grow to $7 trillion over the next ten years. So right when people are most aware of the need to cut government spending to avoid a financial meltdown, is the time that people are most dependent on the government for their day to day living. The majority of these handouts come in the form of healthcare spending and social security. According to a Heritage Foundation report, Social Security and Medicare alone represented 36% of the total federal budget in 2010. These numbers are expected to grow as our Baby Boomers continue to go into retirement. These numbers also don't reflect future projections for the new open-ended entitlement of Obamacare. Original projections slotted Obamacare at $900 billion over ten years.

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