Saturday, April 2, 2011

Political Digest for April 2, 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.

There’s a lot of Libyan news and opinion today, but do read it. It’s getting VERY weird. It’s actually pretty funny if you don’t think about the real people dying at the other end of the ordinance. ~Bob

I find the claim that "NATO" is fighting this war and we're not makes about as much sense as saying, "I'm not punching you in the face, it's just my right hand doing that. –Jonah Goldberg

CIA Sends Teams to Libya; US Considers Rebel Aid
Excerpt: The CIA has sent small teams of operatives into Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a U.S. fighter jet that crashed, and the White House said Wednesday it was assessing "all types of assistance" for rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi's troops. Battlefield setbacks are hardening the U.S. view that the poorly equipped opposition probably is incapable of prevailing without decisive Western intervention, a senior U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press. Lawmakers, in private briefings with top Obama administration officials, asked tough questions about the cost of the military operation and expressed concern about the makeup of the rebels. Members of Congress quoted officials as saying the U.S. military role would be limited, and heard President Barack Obama's director of national intelligence compare the rebel forces to a "pick-up basketball team." (This is getting really interesting. As one Senator said in an interview this morning, sending the CIA in and providing weapons was how things got started in Viet Nam. Here's the thing- the more we invest in this situation, the more we have to lose if we don't commit to really, absolutely, making it succeed. And that will take more resources than some CIA teams and a couple of loads of ammo for the rebels. It'll take a lot of air strikes, enough to wipe out every bit of Gadhafi's armor and artillery and aircraft, blow up his supply depots, and probably provide direct support to offensives by the rebels. And maybe somebody will get the bright idea of putting "advisors" on the ground, and better yet, find whatever sniper teams we don't have in Afghanistan and send them over to really wreak havoc on the Gadhafi forces. The spreading out of resources and risks to our people that would ensue would sure make me nervous. But trying only medium hard to support the rebels and having them lose anyhow would totally destroy our ability to impress anybody anywhere anymore. It all sounds like serious risk any way you cut it. –Del. Difference is, the South Vietnamese government was pro-American, whatever it’s faults. We do not know what the “pick up ball team” government would be like. Chances are, a lot more corrupt, oppressive and anti-American than the South Vietnamese. ~Bob.)

Undisciplined Libyan rebels no match for Gaddafi's forces
Excerpt: If there's an ammunition shortage, no one has told Khalif Saed. He was firing off a large machine gun welded to the back of a pick up truck, sending the contents of the heavy belt of bullets darting through the weapon and in to an empty sky.….What it was not was aimed at was the enemy. Asked why he was shooting when the revolution's military leadership has appealed for discipline and its fighters not to waste ammunition, Saed said simply: "It's my gun." It isn't. He concedes that he seized it from a military base in Benghazi as Gaddafi's forces fled at the beginning of the revolution. But it says much about the state of the loosely organised rebel militia which foreign governments are now considering arming…. In the past two days their disorganisation has shown as they have been badly outmanoeuvred by better-trained forces that have outflanked them with sweeps through the desert. The revolutionaries lack any cohesive defensive plan. Instead they fire wildly at the enemy and argue among themselves about what to do next and who should be giving orders before turning and fleeing. (Maybe not ready for the big leagues. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: During "In the Arena," Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer for The New Yorker reporting from Benghazi, Libya, tells Eliot Spitzer that the number of opposition fighters on the front lines are fewer than anyone would think and that they are poorly armed and badly trained. Anderson says, "Effective number of fighting men, well under 1,000. Actual soldiers, who are now in the fight, possibly in the very low hundreds on the opposition side." (Maybe Obama’s “pick up team” of “brave freedom fighters” isn’t even ready for the little leagues! ~Bob.)

NATO Warns Rebels Against Attacking Civilians
Cool—we may soon be bombing BOTH sides. That would be a first, I think. ~Bob. Excerpt: “We’ve been conveying a message to the rebels that we will be compelled to defend civilians, whether pro-Qaddafi or pro-opposition,” said a senior Obama administration official. “We are working very hard behind the scenes with the rebels so we don’t confront a situation where we face a decision to strike the rebels to defend civilians.”

Clinton To Congress: Obama Would Ignore Your War Resolutions
Thank God we don’t have that Cowboy Bush starting wars anymore. ~Bob. Excerpt: The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.

Senator Dianne Feinstein: Missiles won’t do it so … it’s time we arrest Gaddafi
Excerpt: I wish I were kidding with this headline, but I am not. The Senator from California knows air raids won’t cut it. So far so good. So she believes it’s time we … arrest him?

Until uprising, Gadhafi’s son was on U.S. internship
Excerpt: When unrest exploded in Libya last month, Khamis Gadhafi--the youngest son of the country's embattled leader Muammar Gadhafi--wasn't around. He was on an internship program in the United States. Khamis, who runs Libya's special forces, quickly returned to his home country, where he has led a military unit that has brutally suppressed rebel forces. The internship, which lasted a month, was sponsored by AECOM, a Los Angeles-based global engineering and design company that has been working with the Libyan regime to modernize the country's infrastructure. Khadis made stops in San Francisco, Colorado, Houston, Washington, and New York City, meeting with high-tech companies (including Google, Apple, and Intel), universities, and defense contractors like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. While in the Big Apple, Khamis even took in the Broadway show "Mamma Mia." News of Khamis's internship, which was approved by the State Department, was first reported by ABC News.

The Mystery Behind Gadhafi's Birth: Some Say He's Jewish
Excerpt: What if the biggest mystery surrounding Col. Moammar Gadhafi had nothing to do with his long, brutal reign as the world's most eccentric and violent leader turned pariah? And what if a long-lost letter from a Catholic cardinal who knew Gadhafi's true identity was evidence that could have solved the mystery? To many Libyan people, the biggest question mark about Gadhafi does not involve his repressive and dictatorial rule, delusional statements or brazen lies. Behind closed doors, for years, they've wondered if he is Jewish. Last week the issue came out in the open, as NBC's Richard Engel reported from Libya that one in five rebels was fighting Gadhafi because he believes the leader is Jewish.

At least 40 civilians dead in Tripoli strikes: Vatican official
Excerpt: At least 40 civilians have been killed in air strikes by Western forces on Tripoli, the top Vatican official in the Libyan capital told a Catholic news agency on Thursday, quoting witnesses. "The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli," said Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli. (The price of war, er, kinetic military action. ~Bob.)

See the key paragraph, below: Bahrain hardliners to put Shia MPs on trial
Excerpt: Saudi officials say they gave their backing to Western air strikes on Libya in exchange for the United States muting its criticism of the authorities in Bahrain, a close ally of the desert kingdom.

Gates calls for limited role aiding Libyan rebels
Excerpt: The U.S. should avoid developing a closer relationship with Libyan opposition forces, defense leaders said Thursday, telling an often hostile Congress that foreign nations must now take over airstrike responsibilities and any effort to train and equip the rebels. With the U.S. role in Libya at a turning point, the next critical decision is how, if at all, the U.S. chooses to support the opposition forces, particularly in the face of the ongoing budget crisis at home. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he is opposed to arming the rebels, a step his boss President Barack Obama has not ruled out. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was time to turn the bulk of the conflict over to NATO. (Good, wash our hands of it, turn it over to NATO. Which is commanded by American officers, and with American dollars and troops the biggest contributors. ~Bob.)

Obama Self Destructing Over Libya
Excerpt: Barack Obama barely had time to enjoy his Egypt moment before mad dog Muammar Gaddafi threatened to kill innocent protesters in his own country. Clearly, the Libyan debacle hit the fan before Obama had time to test which way the wind was blowing. Politico is reporting that a new poll shows the President's approval rating dropped by 4 points since the beginning of March. The downward shift may in part be the result of dissatisfaction over U.S involvement in Libya, with 47 percent of those surveyed saying they oppose it. Unlike Egypt, Obama had no time to change guises or to fine tune his delivery. There was no "new beginning for Muslims and America" Tripoli speech like the one he gave in Cairo two years before the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

The Libyan Boomerang: Obama is unintentionally creating the most favorable conditions for the worst-case scenario.
Excerpt: The worst thing that could foreseeably happen in Libya is for the situation to degenerate into an indefinite insurgent conflict in a failed state. Just a few weeks ago, that possibility did not realistically exist. It was created by our intervention, which managed somehow to combine the qualities of being too late, too hasty, and of the wrong kind. The beginnings of Libya’s slide into a chaotic insurgency are plain to see in the tactics Qaddafi’s forces have adopted: They now dress like the rebels and drive around in “technicals” (armed pickup trucks) rather than tanks. In a classic example of asymmetric strategy, Qaddafi has stopped presenting the West with its preferred targets: warplanes, military vehicles, and identifiable installations. His forces are melting into the urban landscape, and it will not take them long to start appearing well behind rebel lines.

We should watch for some very strange things in Libya in the days ahead: (a) Euros bet on the wrong rebel horse, and if Qaddafi survives, he will surely “renegotiate” his massive oil exports to Europe, or perhaps prefer to deal with the Chinese. So Britain, Italy, and France will become increasing panicky and want us to ratchet things up. (b) Expect to hear less and less about the UN and the Arab League as Obama, to win, needs more and more to ignore their restrictions on using American ground troops and direct bombing of Libya’s assets. (c) Expect the Left to get increasingly antsy as it weighs the viability of Obama’s progressive domestic agenda versus their own humiliation at having to keep still and support a preemptive bombing campaign against a Muslim, Arab, oil-exporting nation, without congressional approval, that was not a national-security threat to the U.S.

Chavez Embraces Gaddafi and Tehran
Thought Chavez was Obama’s buddy? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Libyan war has nothing to do to with humanitarian concerns, a senior member of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's ruling party said this week. According to Carlos Escarra Malave, vice president of Venezuela's standing committee on foreign policy, the United States and its European allies "invaded" Libya so they could confiscate $200 billion in frozen assets belonging to the family of Muammar Gaddafi. They "could save their own economies by confiscating those assets," he said. "That's the true reason for the invasion." Malave's bizarre comments serve to highlight the Venezuelan regime's reflexive support for rogue states and its hostility towards the West. But Chavez's burgeoning relationships with Iran and terrorist proxy Hizballah have been a much greater concern for American policymakers and law enforcement officials for years.

Farrakhan: Libya has lent Nation of Islam millions
Excerpt: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan reiterated his defense of Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday, calling the embattled Libyan leader a friend and Muslim brother who's lent the movement $8 million over the years. Farrakhan, speaking at a rare news conference, railed against the media and said Gadhafi isn't the monster being portrayed by Western governments. The 78-year-old minister criticized the U.S. government and President Barack Obama — whom he also called a brother — for launching military action against Libya without justification. He accused Americans of just wanting Gadhafi out of the picture to secure oil interests.

Obama representative explains exactly what a kinetic military action is
Excerpt: According to the Obama administration, acts of terrorism are now “man-caused disasters.” The global war on terror is now “overseas contingency operations.” Taxes are now “investments.” And wars are “kinetic military actions.” In this clip, an unidentified representative from the Obama administration explains exactly what a kinetic military action is. As he says at the very end, “It’s not cheap, but I’m sure the government will buy it.”(Finally, an explanation of "kinetic military action" that the average person on the street can understand. --MasterGuns)

At Least Eight Killed During Koran Burning Protest at UN Office in Afghanistan
Excerpt: At least eight people, many believed to be foreigners, were killed Friday at a United Nations office in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif when demonstrators at a Koran-burning protest went on a shooting rampage. There were conflicting reports that as many as 10 had been killed. Afghan officials said the demonstrators stormed the UN office, opening fire on guards and setting fires inside the compound. The demonstration was organized to protest a purported Koran burning last month by Florida pastor Terry Jones. Gen. Daud Daud, commander of Afghan National Police in several northern provinces, said the dead included five guards working for UN and two other people employed at the complex. Daud said one other person was wounded.

Dry Run or Wrong Turn? 3 Mid-East Men Try to Enter Calif. Marine Base
Excerpt: Was it just a wrong turn, or something more sinister? Marine base Camp Pendleton — one of the largest military bases in the country — is reportedly on high alert after three Middle Eastern men tried to enter the base last weekend on multiple occasions in multiple vehicles. And while the men initially claimed they didn’t know each other and simply took a wrong turn, new information from a local gas station about “hateful comments” and “terrorist threats” casts doubt on their story: (Probably some of the “brave freedom fighters”—as CNN calls the Libyan rebels—got lost. But in the story, two of the guys have Armenian names. ~Bob.)

An Anti-Blasphemy Measure Laid to Rest
They will be back. There is no end to the Jihadists’ determine to impose their religion on our freedoms. ~Bob. Excerpt: A long-term campaign by the U.N.’s large Muslim bloc to impose worldwide blasphemy strictures — like those in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran — was given a quiet burial last week in the Human Rights Council, the U.N.’s main human-rights body. At the session that ended in Geneva on March 25, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), sensing defeat, decided not to introduce a resolution calling for criminal penalties for the “defamation of religions” — a resolution that had passed every year for more than a decade. This is a small but essential victory for freedom. The lessons in how this campaign rose and fell will be important in protecting the international human rights of freedom of expression and religion against other threats, particularly as the U.S. engages with the new order in Egypt and other Arab states.

Green Regulation in California: Academic Fraud, Retaliation and Science Denial
No bigger sin than questioning a Greenie determined to save the world, needed or not. ~Bob. Excerpt: New rules on diesel emissions make Dwayne Whitney’s trucks illegal to operate without enormously expensive additions, rules CARB imposed because of a study on particulates produced by Dr. Hien Tran that linked the emissions to 2000 “premature deaths” in California each year. However, another researcher who found no connection between diesel particulates and “premature deaths” decided to check on Tran’s credentials, and discovered that his PhD had come from a diploma mill, bought for $1000. When the researcher, UCLA’s Dr. James Enstrom, blew the whistle on Tran and insisted that CARB needed to consider his work before passing the new regulation, a curious thing happened. After 34 years on the job, UCLA fired Enstrom. Why? (From Kate in LA)

Japan's Nuclear Rescuers: 'Inevitable Some Of Them May Die Within Weeks'
Excerpt: Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation. “He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.” The woman spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity because, she said, plant workers had been asked by management not to communicate with the media or share details with family members in order to minimize public panic. 9may be over wrought. Every Vietnam vet who dies, his family blames agent Orange. Otherwise, we’d have all lived forever. ~Bob.)

Media exploiting Japan's nuclear tragedy.

White House affirms opposition to EPA riders in spending bill
Have to ruin our economy while China goes on pumping out carbon, building their military. ~Bob. Excerpt: The White House restated its opposition Thursday to GOP spending bill riders that would thwart administration environmental policies, comments that come amid rising fear among green groups that a budget deal could block climate change rules. “As the administration has made clear, the funding bill should not be used to further unrelated policy agendas, and we remain opposed to riders that do that, including as it relates to the environment,” said Clark Stevens, a White House spokesman. The House GOP’s fiscal year 2011 spending plan would block funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s implementation of greenhouse-gas rules, as well as rules to curb mercury and other emissions from cement kilns, and for federal policies related to mountaintop removal mining, among others.

False fears about concealed guns
Excerpt: The problem for opponents is that they have sown fear from the beginning, only to harvest a meager crop. A generation ago, few states allowed concealed-carry. When Florida captured national attention by legalizing it in 1987, critics forecast mass carnage. When other states followed suit, the same predictions were heard. But they turned out to be false alarms. Instead of an epidemic of violence, the nation saw a drop. Since 1991, the murder rate has been cut nearly in half. You don't have to believe that "shall-issue" laws caused the decline to grasp that they certainly didn't get in the way.

Heavy fighting after Ouattara troops reach Abidjan
Excerpt: Heavy weapons fire rang out in central Abidjan on Thursday after presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara's forces marched into Ivory Coast's main city, and his camp said incumbent Laurent Gbagbo had just hours left in power. Residents reported heavy fighting near the state broadcaster, RTI, as well as in neighborhoods in the south of the city after pro-Ouattara forces swiftly advanced on the lagoon-side city from several directions. Gbagbo's elite forces took positions around the presidential palace while French soldiers were also deployed in the city to protect foreign residents. A United Nations helicopter gunship flew overhead. Gbagbo has refused to step down since a November election that U.N.-certified results showed he lost to Ouattara, triggering a bloody standoff that has killed hundreds and rekindled the country's 2002-3 civil war. (For God's sake, don't tell Obama. Oh, wait, they only have cocoa, no oil. Tough for them. ~Bob.)

Obama the Vacillator meets Christ the Redeemer: Sightseeing tour of Brazil ends while bombs and cruise missiles continue to pound Libya
Brit paper. ~Bob. Excerpt: As U.S. and British air strikes and cruise missiles pounded Muammar Gaddafi's Tripoli palace, President Barack Obama was on a sightseeing tour of Rio de Janeiro's iconic Christ the Redeemer hilltop statue.

Stall, Baby, Stall
It's unbelievable (literally) the rhetoric on "America's Energy Security" coming from President Obama this week. This is coming from he who is manipulating the U.S. energy supply. President Obama is once again giving lip service to a "new energy proposal"; but let's remember the last time he trotted out a "new energy proposal" - nearly a year ago to the day. The main difference is today we have $4 a gallon gas in some places in the country. This is no accident. This administration is not a passive observer to the trends that have inflated oil prices to dangerous levels. His war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production has caused us pain at the pump, endangered our already sluggish economic recovery, and threatened our national security.

Medicaid advocates expect Dem proposal for program cuts
Excerpt: Medicaid advocates came out of a meeting with Democrats this week expecting the party to propose cuts to the entitlement program. They expect those proposals would be smaller than the cuts that will be in the Republicans’ 2012 budget proposal, and some see them as a way for Democrats to start the bargaining process with the GOP. As many as 100 Medicaid advocates attended a meeting with House Democratic staffers Wednesday to try to craft a unified response as Republicans prepare to unveil their spending plan for next year, The Hill has learned. Democrats did not lay out a grand strategy or formally propose a plan to cut Medicaid spending, instead calling on advocates to keep the pressure on the GOP.

Leaked memo reveals Dem strategy for defending healthcare reg
The Obama administration is anticipating criticism that a new regulation released Thursday could force seniors to lose access to their doctor, according to internal talking points obtained by The Hill. The memo outlines the administration's defense of a new care coordination regulation released Thursday. So-called Accountable Care Organizations got a boost in the healthcare reform law and aim to reward coordination between physicians and hospitals by giving them a slice of Medicare savings. The memo instructs federal officials on what to say if asked whether seniors will be forced to join an ACO or change physicians.

Federal Agents Told to Reduce Border Arrests, Arizona Sheriff Says
Excerpt: An Arizona sheriff says U.S. Border Patrol officials have repeatedly told him they have been ordered to reduce -- at times even stop -- arrests of illegal immigrants caught trying to cross the U.S. border. Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever told that a supervisor with the U.S. Border Patrol told him as recently as this month that the federal agency’s office on Arizona's southern border was under orders to keep apprehension numbers down during specific reporting time periods. “The senior supervisor agent is telling me about how their mission is now to scare people back,” Dever said in an interview with “He said, ‘I had to go back to my guys and tell them not to catch anybody, that their job is to chase people away. … They were not to catch anyone, arrest anyone. Their job was to set up posture, to intimidate people, to get them to go back.”

Competition in Electricity Markets Proves Success in Texas
Excerpt: Introducing competition into Texas' retail and wholesale electricity markets has made Texas the greatest success story in the United States -- if not the world -- by moving away from the model of heavily regulated public utilities, says Bill Peacock, Vice President of Research & Planning and Director of the Center for Economic Freedom. That success is largely due to policymakers' willingness to let markets work and not manipulate prices or other policies for political reasons. The transformation of American electricity markets was dominated elsewhere by a political competition to "design" markets. However, Texas did not "design" a market in any meaningful sense -- it instead set general rules for market participants and allowed them to compete. The resulting predictability of Texas markets helps explain why the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) territory has seen investment in new generation to a level that continues to maintain reserve margins adequate for powering Texas' future economic growth. While other states have competitive wholesale markets, no state comes close to the competition found in Texas' retail market. Three measures detail the high level of competition: First, the percentage of electricity sold by incumbent retail electric power providers has plummeted -- none of them has even a 40 percent share in the market where each used to have 100 percent before competition. Second, almost 82 percent of consumers have actively chosen competitive rate plans, while the other 18 percent have benefitted from competition through lowered rates on old plans or getting competitive rates through move-ins. Finally, the average Texan in ERCOT can choose from about 138 different plans offered by 29 different providers; this is up from five providers offering eight plans in 2002.

Excerpt: Oil is the world’s most critical and scarce energy resource. Only oil is easily divisible, transportable, and vital for most transportation. Japan’s shuttered nuclear plants mean new demand for more millions of barrels of fuel oil to generate electricity for its cities and factories. Libyan oil production will now be shut down for months or years. There is almost no spare capacity in world production. Here’s a tough fact to face: World prosperity is critically dependent upon the stability of a single decrepit, corrupt dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. While the regime there has been quick to put down calls for expanded rights, the protests for political, civil, and economic rights continue. Chaos in Saudi Arabia, which produces about 12 percent of the world’s oil, would cause such shortages of oil in Asia and Europe that the whole world could be thrust into major economic crisis. Closed factories in China, Japan, and Korea would crash commodity prices and world trade. Banks would again be tottering and calling in loans. Russia with its supplies would have a stranglehold over a dependent Europe. And Americans might be lined up for hours at gasoline stations, maybe with ration cards.

I like where they woke up the guy who had been in a come for four years and told him a black guy who’s middle name was Hussein was president. ~Bob.

Teflon Liberals
Excerpt: In 1994, Soros gave a speech to the collected faculty and administration of Columbia University. It was not your typical academic speech. In large part, it was devoted to death -- in particular the deaths of Soros' parents. He'd learned a lot from the experience. What he'd learned was that Americans knew nothing about death and needed an ultra-wealthy immigrant to explain it to them. His next project, he told the collected Columbia savants, would be to change the American culture of death. In cooperation with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a health-care advocacy group closely linked with Johnson & Johnson, Soros established the Project on Death in America, supposedly embodying the mission of promoting palliative and hospice care. Both were legitimate medical techniques, palliative care developed to control extreme pain and hospice care established to provide terminal patients with a homelike, relaxed atmosphere for their final weeks. Dr. Kathleen Foley, a longtime proponent of these methods, was appointed head of the project. In prospectus, the project appeared perfectly straightforward. But odd things tend to happen when George Soros is involved.

Climate Change This Week: Green for Green
Excerpt: Stimulus funds for "green energy" just happened to be directed to some of Barack Obama's biggest campaign donors. For instance, the government is backing a $535 million loan for a solar panel manufacturing plant in California. An investor in the company "bundled" between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama's campaign. The company promised 1,000 new "green" jobs with the taxpayers' green, but a year later, 200 workers were laid off when the plant shut down. Four companies in another venture capitalist's portfolio received more than $500 million in loans, grants or other stimulus money. The venture capitalist bundled $500,000 for Obama. This backscratching was repeated for another big donor whose investment firm backs Fisker Automotive, an electric car company. Fisker received a $528 million loan. All told, the inspector general of the Department of Energy has "64 open investigations" into stimulus funding channeled through that department. Meanwhile, George Kukla, a retired professor of paleoclimatology at Columbia University and researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is predicting another ice age. He also says, "The only thing to worry about global warming is the damage that can be done by worrying. Why are some scientists worried? Perhaps because they feel that to stop worrying may mean to stop being paid." Well said.

Great Column: Lighten Up for Earth Hour
Excerpt: I tend to get a little put off when being preached to by hypocrites who swim in their own heated pools, travel in private jets, play sports under bright lights at night, heat cavernous homes they’re not even living in for months at a time, trash national monuments when celebrating politicians who are going to save the environment, and ride in limo caravans to speeches where they tell the rest of us how our pickup trucks, lawn mowers, hamburgers and 75-watt light bulbs are killing the planet. (Gee, I forgot to turn off my oxygen machine for an hour. My bad. ~Bob.)

Alaska to Consider Lowering Drinking Age for U.S. Troops
Excerpt: Defense Secretary Robert Gates doesn't support lowering the drinking age for U.S. troops, but that hasn't deterred one Alaska lawmaker from renewing the debate over whether military members old enough to fight and die for their country are responsible enough to drink and smoke. The argument dates back decades to the Vietnam War, and now Alaska state Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Rep. Bob Lynn is proposing a bill that would allow military members in his state under 21 to legally drink and smoke there. Alaska residents can't legally drinking until they're 21 and legally smoke until they're 19.

Democrat Congressman: Drug Cartel Violence in U.S. Has Decreased; Only 29 People Murdered in San Diego in 2010
Excerpt: “There were 472 murders in Tijuana, while only 29 occurred on the other side of the border in San Diego, California,” Thompson said. And while 2,700 people died in Ciudad Juarez in 2010, only 4 people were murdered in El Paso, Texas – just across the U.S. border from that Mexican city, he added. (Bet their families are relieved. I still think it’s going to get worse. A lot worse. ~Bob.)

Uncovered: New $2 billion bailout in Obamacare
Excerpt: Investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee have discovered that a little-known provision in the national health care law has allowed the federal government to pay nearly $2 billion to unions, state public employee systems, and big corporations to subsidize health coverage costs for early retirees. At the current rate of payment, the $5 billion appropriated for the program could be exhausted well before it is set to expire.

Obama, Donald Trump and the Collective Unconscious
Excerpt: While conservatives don't have to practice gutter politics, we do need our message to penetrate the collective unconscious. Enter the intrepid Donald Trump. Trump has been beating the drum lately about Obama's birth certificate -- and the lack thereof. Trump has also been wondering whether there's something else on Obama's birth certificate (who's his daddy?) that Obama doesn't want anyone to know. Fortunately for conservatives, when Donald Trump talks, people listen. And this is why Trump needs to keep raising the birth certificate issue. He shouldn't stop even when the left ridicules him. I hope that he expands his mission to include the salient question of whether unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers penned Obama's autobiography.  We need a magnetic figure like Trump going where no man or woman has been able to go. Because if Trump keeps putting the heat on Obama, something amazing may happen. (I still think the “birthers” are a political gift to Obama, taking attention, focus and energy from the issues that are destroying us. ~Bob.)

News updates, April 1
Excerpt: Efforts are still underway to pump water from the turbine buildings of the reactors. Water in the turbine buildings is being pumped directly into the reactors’ condensers. The IAEA reported yesterday that the condenser of Unit 1 has been completely filled and that the pumping of water from Unit 1’s turbine building has ceased. All units are currently being cooled by injection of fresh water, using temporary pumps, with backup power supplies in place in case of further electrical power issues. TEPCO reports that water temperatures in the units are below 100 C in the pressure suppression chambers, and that no reactor coolant is being leaked to containment. (...) The EPA has continued to monitor the potential pathways for radiation exposure of the U.S. population. To date, radiation detected in milk is on the order of picocuries (10-12 Curie) per liter. This is 5,000 times lower than the FDA’s Derived Intervention Level.

Michigan Groups Ask Court to Force Schools to Release Teachers' Emails that May Show Illegal Union Strike Plans
Excerpt: Michigan’s Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Press Association (MPA) filed documents last week asking the state’s Supreme Court to reconsider a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) denial appeal the Court didn’t take up last December – when the court leaned more left. Now, though, the court leans right, so the Mackinac Center is looking for e-mails between teachers and their union bosses discussing a potential “job action,” which may include a strike – it is illegal for teachers to strike in Michigan. According to the Mackinac Center, many of those emails were sent, received or viewed on school computers in districts throughout the state.

Freedom Group (Cerberus) Acquires Barnes Bullets
Very Concerning as Soros is one of the most anti-gun, anti-American and anti-freedom people on the planet. Not surprising...The Cerberus Capital Group (George Soros' investment firm) has been buying up gun and ammo companies...interesting to say the least. –JS. Excerpt: Cerberus Capital Managment, through its Freedom Group holding company, has acquired yet another well-known gun industry company: Barnes Bullets. On December 31, 2009, Freedom Group, Inc. entered into a purchase agreement to acquire certain assets of Barnes Bullets. In recent years, Cerberus/Freedom Group has acquired Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin, H&R, DMPS and other smaller firearms-related companies. By acquiring Barnes, the Freedom Group gains entry into the ammunition component business at a time when brass, bullets, and powder remain in high demand. As the Freedom Group continues to build a vertically integrated firearms-related mega-corp, one wonders if Cerberus will look to acquire a powder-maker next. Freedom Group already sells Remington-brand factory-loaded ammunition.

Excerpt: Why the delicacy for Assad? “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” — Hillary Clinton on Bashar al-Assad, March 27 Few things said by this administration in its two years can match this one for moral bankruptcy and strategic incomprehensibility.

Relics of Defeat: Marines uncover insurgent caches
Excerpt: Like tomb raiders, the Marines unearth the deadly treasures of those who no longer rule Helmand province. Scouring dry creek beds and abandoned compounds, they collect caches of AK-47s, Soviet era grenades and homemade explosives buried by the Taliban. Capt. Walker Koury, the commanding officer with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, said his troops find caches every day as citizens of Northern Marjah warm to the Marines.

Retired Teachers in California Make More Money Than Working Teachers in 28 States
Excerpt: First note that the average annual salary in 2010 for active working educators enrolled in the system was $64,156. The next table states that the average retirement benefit paid out in 2010 was $4,256 per month. That’s $51,072 annually. In other words, the average retired teacher in California made more than the average working teacher in 28 states, according to the salary rankings published by NEA. [I have a friend who is a retired teacher here in California. I don't know what her retirement benefit amounts to, but I do know she taught for 32 years and was incensed after reading a recent article in The LA Times about the plight of a woman who'd worked for only ten years as a part-time teacher and is now not only on $65,000 a year retirement allowance but is also COMPLAINING about that because she can't afford the payments on her CONDO. This was the LA Times, remember, and the article was sympathetic to this whiner. –Kate.]

VIDEO: Felony Charges Filed Against Teacher in Wisconsin Email Death Threats, but She is Not Arrested [Check out the house she lives in.]
Excerpt: Charges have been filed in an investigation of e-mailed death threats to Republican state Senators last month during the budget-repair debate — but oddly, no arrest has taken place. Prosecutors filed two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts against 26-year-old Katherine Windels of Cross Plains, Wisconsin, but only after the Wisconsin Department of Justice sent the district attorney a sharply-worded memo of its own, wondering why prosecutors hadn’t done anything with the referral. It turns out that the woman who sent death threats to sixteen Senators and their families and claimed to have already built the bombs to kill them had never been arrested despite admitting to the charges: (Probably went off based after hearing Sarah Palin. ~Bob.)

Stop ATF's Anti-Gun Zealots
Excerpt: Second Amendment activist Mike Vanderboegh, who helped expose the ATF's emerging Project Gunrunner scandal (in which botched sting operations have allowed straw purchasers monitored by the feds to walk untold thousands of guns across the southern border), says Traver is known to be a "managerial bad apple in ATF circles." He rose through the agency hierarchy, "all the while making friends of notorious Illinois anti-firearm rights politicians of both parties. He has had personal friendly contact with Barack Obama and Hizzoner, the King of Chicago Richard Daley. He has worked with the virulently anti-firearm Joyce Foundation ... putting his efforts and his name to a report which calls for more firearm bans and regulations that amount to the gutting of the Second Amendment." NRA's Chris Cox summed up the nomination bluntly: "You might as well put an arsonist in charge of the fire department." (My guess is neither side is sure of winning. So, they’ll do nothing and he’ll become a recess appointment. Ron P.)

Stop Sending Jobs Overseas
Excerpt: Owning the world’s highest corporate tax rate is a jobs killer. Imagine you are a global corporation looking to invest in a new factory that will produce goods for American consumers. Do you build your factory with hundreds of new manufacturing jobs in Canada, where the top central government tax rate is 16.5 percent? Or do you choose a location in the United States, where the top tax rate is 35 percent? Is that even a choice? Our high corporate tax rates are a huge manufacturing job repellent. Liberals have long argued that corporate tax cuts are not necessary since the effective corporate tax rate (calculated by dividing the amount businesses pay in taxes by their incomes) is comparable to other OECD countries. But gaming the tax system to reduce your effective tax rate is not free. It requires a substantial investment in tax lawyers and lobbyists for major corporations to get your tax bill down

Dems Go to Extremes in Budget Battle
Excerpt: Patton was as profane as he was professional, as feared by the enemy as he was famous on the home front. In one of Scott’s most memorable scenes in the film, with the war won in Europe, he goes over the top arguing in favor of war with the Soviet Union — then still an ally of the United States. “In ten days I’ll have a war,” he says, “and I’ll make it look like their fault.” It’s the perfect cinematic metaphor for the budget negotiations currently underway in Washington. With a lot of help from a compliant, even complicit national media, the Democrats are maneuvering their way towards a government shutdown — all the while making it look like it’s the Republicans’ fault.

We've Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers
Excerpt: If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government. It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

The Secret to Brazil's Energy Success
Excerpt: The Obama administration's energy policy is in the midst of transition from being stubbornly ideological to being wholly incoherent. That much was clear when President Obama unveiled his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future this week. With gasoline prices climbing above $4 a gallon, the administration is talking about tapping our Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a desperate attempt to hold down pump prices. It's also expanding subsidies and incentives for energy supplies that cost a lot more than oil, and it's aiming to reduce our dependency on foreign oil by one-third over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, in a bizarre turn, Mr. Obama recently expressed enthusiasm for aggressive offshore drilling—in Brazil.

State blocks Taiwan arms
Excerpt: The State Department is holding up final approval of Taiwan’s request for a multibillion-dollar arms package to upgrade Taipei’s fleet of aging F-16 jets. U.S. national security officials close to the issue said the arms package, along with a report to Congress on Taiwan’s air power that is more than a year late, is being delayed by senior Obama administration officials, including Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who are seeking to avoid a third rupture in U.S.-China military relations over Taiwan arms sales. The report’s delay is prompting at least one senator to threaten the expected nomination of Mark Lippert, a friend of President Obama, to be the new assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Lawmakers want the report, which the administration has linked to the F-16 upgrade deal, before allowing Mr. Lippert to take the strategic Pentagon Asia policy slot.
Excerpt: Americans are desperately seeking employment as the Democrats seek to belittle any and all efforts of Republicans to assist in the increase of employment. Instead of being creative and looking for ways to get jobs for citizens Democrats are constantly seeking to smear, demean and outright lie to remain in office rather than displaying a 'can do' attitude. In November 2010 there was a vote. Americans concerned with lack of employment and an outrageous rise in our national deficit voted in a huge group of new Republican Congressmen and women thinking there would be a solution to both employment and the deficit. Rather than a solution being arrived to either the Democrats 'dug in.'

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