Sunday, April 3, 2011

Political Digest for April 3, 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.

Must Read: Mark Steyn: If there's no mission, when's it accomplished?
Excerpt: So this isn't your father's war. It's a war with a U.N. resolution and French jets and a Canadian general and the good wishes of the Arab League. It's a war with everything it needs, except a mission. And, if you don't have a mission, it's hard to know when it's accomplished. Defense Secretary Robert Gates insists that regime change is not a goal; President Sarkozy says it is; President Obama's position, insofar as one can pin it down, seems to be that he's not in favor of Gadhafi remaining in power but he isn't necessarily going to do anything to remove him therefrom. According to NBC, Gadhafi was said to be down in the dumps about his prospects until he saw Obama's speech, after which he concluded the guy wasn't serious about getting rid of him, and he perked up. He's certainly not planning on going anywhere. There is an old rule of war that one should always offer an enemy an escape route. Instead, British Prime Minister David Cameron demanded that Gadhafi be put on trial. So the Colonel is unlikely to trust any offers of exile, and has nothing to lose by staying to the bitter end and killing as many people as possible.

Must watch: Eat the Rich video
This really puts the deficit in perspective.

"Just Win, Baby"
Excerpt: Maybe we should let Al Davis command in Libya. Colonel Duck's air forces and air defenses would long ago have been annihilated, the Marines would again be ashore in Tripoli and the Duck would be… out of power. Al, at least, understands winning. Of course, were this struggle merely a football match, Coach Qaddafi might be fired, to make room for someone more effective, aggressive, innovative, ruthless; someone able to rally the team and lead it back next season. Which illustrates the difference between winning and victory.

Rangel: Obama Needed Congressional Authorization for Military Intervention in Libya
Excerpt: Following a closed briefing for members of the House on the U.S. military operation in Libya, Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) told that President Obama did not have the constitutional authority to use military force in Libya without Congressional approval. Rangel added that he would “like to believe” members of Congress are looking into whether or not the President’s action is an impeachable offense.

Arizona law denying bail to jailed migrants upheld
Excerpt: A federal judge this week upheld a voter-approved Arizona law that denies bail for inmates suspected of being in the country illegally. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a ruling Tuesday denying a lawsuit brought by a group of defendants who claimed the law violated suspects' rights to due process and denied them constitutional protections that provide counsel and prevent excessive bail. The American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrant Rights Project brought the legal action and plans to appeal Bolton's ruling.

Roman Legion Bumper Sticker
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt. (cerpt: 2011nd is not responsible for any errors in this work. hes it known that his last name is a coincidence, that he is notWhen catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults. --Richard)

Syria on the boil
--Richard)atapultas habebunt. "Excerpt: The other day, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke his silence to ask the people to keep quiet until a commission reports on "needed reforms" on April 25. Yesterday, Syrians ignored him with marches calling for an end to half a century of despotism. The regime responded by unleashing its security forces with orders to fire with live bullets. By the time of this writing, sources inside Syria reported that a number of demonstrators were killed and dozens injured. Seven were killed in Homs and five in Al-Sanamin, the scene of a massacre last month. Regime snipers shot dead 12 demonstrators in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. According to my sources, dozens have been arrested and taken to unknown destinations. The regime and its opponents both saw yesterday as a test. The regime hoped Assad's "appeal to the nation" would calm things down; the opposition hoped that larger crowds would take to the streets. Both sides fell short of their expectations.
DHS: Illegal immigrant students not a target for deportation
PC first, law second. ~Bob. Excerpt: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday that illegal immigrant students and young adults who meet the criteria in last year's failed legalization bill in Congress are not a "priority" for her department's law enforcement efforts. Wading into an increasingly thorny debate, Miss Napolitano said she cannot unilaterally ignore deportations laws for broad groups of illegal immigrants, but said students and young adults who would have been legalized had last year's "Dream Act" legislation passed Congress are not a chief target of federal authorities. "I will say, and can say, that you know what? They are not, that group, if they truly meet all those criteria, and we see very few of them actually in the immigration system, if they truly meet those [criteria], they're not the priority," the secretary said at an event sponsored by NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy group, on the future of the nation's border policies.

As Wisconsin'​s Battle Heads to Court, Unions Try to Oust a Judge
Excerpt: Next Tuesday's judicial election could swing the state Supreme Court majority from right to left. Three weeks ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill restricting the power of public-employee unions and increasing what their members pay for health and pension benefits. But the law hasn't yet taken effect—and its opponents have found a judge to issue a highly questionable ruling threatening sanctions against any official who implements it. It seems "Wisconsin Nice" is now gone with the wind. It began in February, when 14 Democratic senators left the state in order to avoid giving Republicans the quorum they needed to pass Mr. Walker's bill. Unions bused in thousands of members and supporters to protest it. Death threats were made against several legislators (on Thursday, felony charges were filed against one woman for allegedly emailing legislators about plans for "putting a nice little bullet in your head.") After four weeks, Republicans finally passed the bill after amending it so it required a smaller quorum. The Democratic senators returned, but promptly backed a blizzard of lawsuits to block the bill from taking effect. They found an ally in Judge Maryann Sumi of Dane County. She issued a restraining order against publication of the law, arguing that it was likely that plaintiffs would prove it was passed without the required notice in the state's Open Meetings Law. On Thursday, she followed up with an order declaring the law "not in effect." Legal analysts say it's preposterous for a judge to enjoin publication of a law before it has even taken effect, as citizens don't have standing to challenge a law until they are subject to it. In a similar case in 1943, the state's Supreme Court ruled that a judge had no such authority. In 1977, another state Supreme Court opinion reiterated that under separation of powers "no court has jurisdiction to enjoin the legislative process at any point." Rick Esenberg, an assistant professor of law at Marquette University, says he is "speechless" over the fact that Judge Sumi "has failed to articulate why she has the authority" to issue her ruling. (Because her son is a left wing activist and former SEIU organizer. That's all she needs. The law be damned. ~Bob.)

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Find New Partners
Excerpt: Toth explained that U.S. intelligence agencies have for the past 12 months been working with new security partners: the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood. “This once-controversial group, which long ago renounced the use of force, has an incredibly far-ranging web of connections,” Toth said. “Their assets extend through every Middle Eastern country, a number of nations in Asia, and even extend to a network of campus student organizations in the U.S. They have so much to offer us, now that we have won their trust,” Toth said. “It took time for us to convince some of the 'Old Guard' inside our intel agencies that we have no long-term quarrel with the Brothers,” Toth told Fox reporters. “But this administration has been unrelenting about this, making a number of transfers and forced retirements in order to clear away irrational opposition to our new approach.” (Well, some in the west thought Hitler wasn't all that bad. At first. ~Bob.)

Will the Islamophobia never stop? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Staten Island terror charged with viciously bashing a young female middle-school classmate while demanding to know "Are you a Muslim?" is himself the son of a Muslim woman, his dad revealed today. "How could a Muslim have another hate crime against a Muslim?" asked Frank Davies, 32, about his son Osman Daramay. Davies added that while the family does not regularly attend a mosque, they pray at home, and that Osman joins in those Islamic prayers with his Muslim mom, Agnes Daramay.

Bangladesh: Teenage girl who died after Qur'anic punishment for adultery had been raped
Excerpt: Because of Islam's nearly impossible demand of four witnesses (much more detail can be found here), the only thing that mattered was that Hena had sexual contact outside of marriage -- consent be damned. This incident -- this murder -- happened in February, but it is noteworthy both that CNN has just run a report on it, and while they do attribute the punishment to Sharia, the report in its present form sidesteps the fact that the punishment comes directly from the Qur'an (24:2): "The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment." Why the omission, CNN? Readers want to know. "Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death," by Farid Ahmed and CNN, March 29. (Why the omission? Because the murder of a 14-year-old is no reason not to be PC. ~Bob.)

Euphemistically Speaking
Excerpt: When I was growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, there was an area, about half a mile downtown from me, known as "The Bowery." One of the most elegant areas of the city during the 1800s, by 1900, the Bowery devolved into low-rent concert halls, flop houses, beer gardens, brothels and streets that became the living quarters for hundreds of people with no visible means of support. These days, people in those circumstances are called "homeless" or "temporarily unsheltered." In those days they were known as Bowery Bums. The word, bum, simply refers to someone who refuses to work and tries to live off of others. Those who either chose, or were thrust into such penury, were also called beggars and tramps. Such references were made during a time in our history when euphemisms were rare. Today, there are euphemisms for just about every activity that, if given the specific title, would be deemed offensive to civil discourse, also known as polite conversation. Hence, in a continuing effort to soften our language and distort reality, we find words that make us feel better about who we are and how un-judgmental we can be. Those who are extremely overweight are not referred to as obese or fat. Instead, a man would be called heavy-set or husky, while a woman would be full-figured. People who used to be called handicapped or crippled are now labeled physically challenged. The famous comedian Henny Youngman told a joke about his brother-in-law who claimed to be a diamond-cutter. Later, it was learned that he was in charge of mowing the lawn at Yankee Stadium. Ed Norton, the famous sewer-worker from "The Honeymooners" television show, introduced himself as "an engineer in subterranean sanitation." Employees are never fired from their jobs; they are "let go."

The President’s New Energy Plan: What’s wrong with it? Just about everything.
Excerpt: If you want to lower the price of something, the best solution is to produce more of it. This is basic Econ 101 stuff. But nowhere in the administration’s new energy proposals, presented by the president this Wednesday in a speech at Georgetown University, is the idea of pumping more oil in the United States addressed, except to say it is impossible. To reach this conclusion, the president had to speak a gross untruth, one he tells so often that he even felt a need to apologize before saying it again: that the United States sits on only 2 percent of the world’s oil supplies, while using 25 percent of the world’s oil. As I pointed out in an article recently, the Department of Energy, which most assuredly vetted this speech before it was released, has known for years this is wrong. In just one 35-miles-square area of the Midwest there is more recoverable oil than in the entire Middle East. (Unfortunately, most voters have not taken Econ 101. ~Bob.)

Corrupt Elections are Undermining Governance
Excerpt: In state after state corruption is beginning to undermine the credibility of the fairness of elections. We all remember the election officials in Florida holding up ballots looking for hanging chads in the Presidential race between Al Gore and George W Bush. The presidential race in 2000 was sadly decided in the US Supreme Court, and it undermined the credibility of President Bush until his more convincing re-election victory in 2004.

Leadership Will Be a Key Issue in 2012 Presidential Election
Excerpt: This time next year, we could have the two presidential candidates in play. Only God knows who the Republicans will decide upon, but President Obama is a lock on the Democratic side. The big issues that will most likely decide the election of 2012 are the economy and leadership. And now there's new data on the leadership front. According to a Gallup poll released this week, Obama has fallen more than 20 points in the leadership category in less than two years. Right now, 52 percent of Americans believe he is a strong and decisive leader, while 47 percent say he is not. Bad news for the prez.

Keeping the Fight Alive
Excerpt: "We can't leave our troops on the beach." Ilario Pantano, a former sniper, sat in my office, rolling his shirtsleeve back down after showing me the United States Marine Corps tattoo on his arm. He wasn't showing off. He was making a point. "If my country is worth dying for, it's worth fighting for." Which is what brought him to Washington. He's put his life on the line in the Marines, and now the North Carolina resident is in the embryonic stages of his second run for Congress. Last year, he fared reasonably well in a district that's been voting Democrat since the Reconstruction. The problems that called him to duty on the campaign trail have not gone away, and the people who had faith in him still deserve an alternative to their current representation. So Pantano feels like he owes them a second try. And with his national-security and economics experience available during a critical time in our history, he owes his country another effort, too.

What's the "Flicker" Uncle Sucker's Helping?
Excerpt: This week, the commander of NATO, U.S. Adm. James Stavridis, let the jihad out of the bag. He told the U.S. Senate that among the Libyan rebels -- you know, our guys, the ones on whose behalf we've fired off about $1 billion worth of ordinance at Libya -- "we have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al-Qaida, Hezbollah." That means the U.S. military is fighting on behalf of the flickers that took down the World Trade Center in 2001 and the Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983. Does anyone care? Next question: Wouldn't we all salute if Stavridis had next told the Senate that, as a result of this heinous policy, which orders U.S. forces to participate in a mission to advance the cause of global jihad, he would be stepping down from his command in protest?

Al-Shabaab Said to Recruit Two Canadian Women
Excerpt: Two Somali-Canadian women who travelled to Somalia in early January are believed to have joined the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, community members told the Toronto Star. It marks the first known example of the terrorist organization enlisting women, although the group has recruited several dozen young men from the Somali émigré community in Canada and elsewhere in the West. "No one knows what happened ... how they were brainwashed," said Mohamed Gilao of Dejinta Beesha, a Somali-Canadian organization. "It's very, very worrying."

When tattoo guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have tattoos. ~Bob. Excerpt: Instead of reporting to school each morning, 15-year-old Byron Preston is reporting for work in his father’s barber shop and nail salon. Byron was expelled from Laurel High School three months ago. He was found with a device called a “tattoo gun” in his possession. A tattoo gun fires no bullets or other projectiles. Like a solder gun or a caulking gun, it is a tool. “They said it was a weapon because it could inflict bodily harm,” explained the high school sophomore, who added he had no intention of tattooing himself or anyone else. Byron said he just wanted to practice tattooing on pieces of fruit.

Clear conscience, clogged arteries: a Union-approved alternative to Brat Fest
Forget about the many charities that Bratfest has benefited over the years - Here's the Union Version--Rod. Excerpt: diehards who love the other Brat Fest but feel queasy knowing the vendor is Johnsonville Brats—known Scott Walker campaign contributor—can pig out with a clear conscience. Wurst Times will be held Saturday, May 28 at Reindahl Park from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The organizers are busy sourcing bands and brats (including a veggie version), hoping to mix groovy music with Union-centric activism. At eleven hours, this has the potential to be an epic party/rally.

Ex-CIA Operative: Obama Never Properly Vetted
Excerpt: As an executive recruiter, I provided a 100 percent guarantee to my clients. When my candidate showed up for the interview, that candidate was ready, willing, and able to do the job. However, the most crucial step was vetting the candidate. The candidate provided references and signed releases to allow me to obtain records of his education, citizenship, criminal history, civil court actions, and other documents. As a CIA case officer, I dealt with people of dubious backgrounds, making outrageous claims, in search of solutions to their problems. I had to assess their personalities, motivations, and the basics of their story. Were they who they said they were? Did they have access to what they claimed? This process relied on my street smarts, people skills, and assessment abilities. I was successful, because I ran operations like a business — with results required. Meeting and developing a relationship with a potential espionage agent requires the same care as recruiting a computational linguist for a Silicon Valley start-up, but the stakes are much higher. Not in monetary terms, but for the security of our country. Lives are at stake.

President Barack Obama's First Ad of 2012

Why no one watches CNN
Excerpt: No, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke, although one could be forgiven for thinking that they’ve landed in Bizarro World in watching this interview of Michael Scheuer on CNN yesterday. Newsbusters has the whole transcript, which you will want to read in full, but one particular exchange had my head swimming — and it had nothing to do with anyone carrying water:

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to Attend Anti-Mining Soiree Tonight
Excerpt: I was really surprised to read this morning that acting EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson plans to attend an event sponsored by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in an activist effort to block a gold mine in Alaska. While this sort of private passion is all well and good in the private sector, it doesn’t have a place in the public sector. In the public sector, America needs Lisa P. Jackson to have the wisdom and character of Solomon instead of pushing her personal agenda in such public view. In our public officials, I expect neutrality, I expect pragmatism, and I expect exemplarism — leading by example and maintaining a strong sense of integrity, commitment to the public good, and a focus on America’s greater interests.

U.S. Embassy Cables: 90 Percent of Mexican Drug Cartels' Most Lethal Weapons Come From Central America--Not USA
Excerpt: The most lethal weapons used by drug cartels in Mexico are smuggled from Central America, not from the United States, according to U.S. Embassy cables unveiled by WikiLeaks, reported La Jornada, a leading newspaper in Mexico City. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City reportedly wrote the cables following three bilateral conferences on firearms trafficking that took place in Mexico between March 2009 and January 2010.

Excerpt: Wisconsin’s public sector unions will be joined by Democratic Socialists of America and Communist Party USA on April 4th to protest their loss of collective bargaining privileges. How nice - the coalition of the willing. Putting aside the obvious company-you-keep argument, there are two basic problems with collective bargaining for public workers: the collective part and the bargaining part. None of the factors that frame collective bargaining outcomes in the private sector – competition, price, profit and loss, bankruptcy, creditworthiness – exist in the public sector. Government workers have no “right” to collective bargaining for the same reason they have no right to strike – because government has the monopoly on government. Besides, rights are universal, and yet only 52% of government employees in Wisconsin enjoy the collective bargaining privileges that all this fuss is about. Public sector employees already enjoy protections under civil service laws that far surpass those extended to private sector workers; a public sector union is redundant. 

AUDIO: Mark Steyn Rips Media Dishonesty of 'Parties Working Together' Storyline
Excerpt: “There’s a dishonesty — there’s a level of dishonesty about the reporting of these stories,” Steyn said. “I always love the way that people say, ‘Oh you know, Americans want the parties to work together to get things done.’ No, that’s actually not want Americans want. The message from November was that you’ve done too much. Stop doing stuff. You did all this stuff – you passed Obamacare and nobody knew what was in it.” “America’s undocumented anchorman,“ as the Canadian-born columnist labels himself when filling in on Limbaugh’s program, explained what bipartisanship has achieved and said that was embarrassing for a “republic of free citizens.”

Man gets 23 years for robbing Ill. lottery winner
If you win the lottery, they put your name and town in the paper so the crooks can find you. ~Bob. Excerpt: A 35-year-old suburban Chicago man who targeted and shot an Illinois Lottery winner has been sentenced to 23 years in prison. Robert English pleaded guilty Friday to attempted murder and home invasion in the September 2009 robbery at a Rolling Meadows home. The victim was shot four times, including twice in the chest, and survived. English is one of two men charged in the robbery. His co-defendant, 49-year-old Carmine Palella, is set to stand trial Monday.

Ammo seized at border crossing
Excerpt: Nearly 150 AK-47 magazines and 6,000 rounds of ammunition headed into Mexico were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as part of the agency's southbound operations at the Stanton Bridge in El Paso this week, officials said. Jose Guadalupe Hernandez Loya, a 38-year-old Mexican national who lives in Juarez, faces federal weapons smuggling charges after the magazines and ammunition were found in his 1999 Chevrolet Express van. He remained in the El Paso County Jail without bond Friday. Chief Ruben Jauregui, public affairs liaison with CPB, said no weapons were found during the inspection. The contraband was found hidden in the upper front roof compartment of the vehicle. A M4 magazine was also found. "It makes you wonder what they're going to do with all those magazines," Jauregui said.

Thousands call for freedom in Syria
Killing his own people. Don't tell Barack. ~Bob. Excerpt: Activists said Syrians took to the streets after Friday (1 April) prayers in the capital Damascus, Homs to the north of the capital, Banias on the coast, Latakia port and the southern city of Deraa, where the unprecedented protests challenging Assad’s 11 years in power began in March. Witnesses in the Damascus suburb of Douma said the three killed were among at least 2,000 people who chanted “Freedom. Freedom. One, one, one. The Syrian people are one,” when police opened fire to disperse them from
Municipality Square

Precautionary Principle Power Grab
Great essay on how we got to where we are on so many environmental issues! I delighted in the final five sentences. Ron P. Excerpt: Precaution is now an established tenet of environmental governance, law, and public policy at the international, national and local levels. When it comes to pollution, toxic chemicals, genetically modified organisms, endangered species and climate change, the so called precautionary principle has become the guiding doctrine for timorous souls everywhere. But more than that, it is a codification of the idea that before anything new is allowed, it must be proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to cause no harm to anything in anyway, under any conditions, anywhere—period. It is “look before you leap” on steroids and a major legal weapon used by environmentalists and neo-Luddites everywhere to hamstring human progress. Raising angst to an art form, progress hating activists have managed to block needed energy and industrial expansion at a critical time in humanity's development. (...) Note that, in the case of climate change, the trigger is not scientific certainty that CO2 emissions will have any impact on Earth's climate, or whether that impact will affect the environment in any measurable way. It is only the possibility that something bad might happen.

1 comment:

  1. TM:
    I LOVE the Roman "bumper sticker".
    I married a LATIN teacher and I will HAVE to pass this along to her.
    And as usual, a very good read - better than most all the newspapers and I really like the "cost".

    Stay safe out there.
    Semper Fi.