Friday, May 20, 2011

Political Digest for May 20, 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.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
Info about my book. All royalties go to wounded veterans. Please forward and post where possible.

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.

White House shuts out Herald scribe
Excerpt: The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news “fairly.” “I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit. (If the White House feels secure in excluding mainstream papers like the Boston Herald for running an editorial for a candidate the editors would prefer to see as president, shouldn’t we take that to mean the administration is fully aware of—and therefore should be held responsible for agreeing with—the editorial positions of the papers, networks, and TV stations they DO allow? Mother Jones? Worker’s Daily? Tass? Al Jeezera? Do CBS, NBC, ABC and the rest feel comfortable with that? If not, what are they doing to support their fellow “press?” If they are comfortable with that, shame on them. Even Richard Nixon, who surely had reason to hate a newspaper if anyone ever did, never excluded the Washington Post from real “news” events. Ron P. Give us good coverage, or we will punish you by withholding access. It’s The Chicago way. ~Bob.)

They never learn: A trail of stalled or abandoned HUD projects
Your tax dollars at work. More fruits of government intervention in markets. ~Bob. Excerpt: The federal government’s largest housing construction program for the poor has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on stalled or abandoned projects and routinely failed to crack down on derelict developers or the local housing agencies that funded them. Nationwide, nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million have been idling for years, a Washington Post investigation found. Some have languished for a decade or longer even as much of the country struggles with record-high foreclosures and a dramatic loss of affordable housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the nation’s housing fund, has largely looked the other way: It does not track the pace of construction and often fails to spot defunct deals, instead trusting local agencies to police projects.

Worth reading: The Myth of Green Energy Security
Excerpt: Europe started trying to build up its energy reserves back in the 1960’s. Likewise, every American president since Richard Nixon in the early 1970’s has tried, and failed, to reduce dependence on foreign oil. A new trend, though, is that policies that just a few years ago were being touted to fight climate change are being presented as a necessary way to increase energy security. Against the backdrop of the financial crisis, and as public support for climate-change policies scrapes new lows in many developed countries, we hear less from leaders about the threat of global warming, and more about the supposed economic benefits of climate policies. This shift is hardly surprising, given the increasing number of analyses that demonstrate that current – unilateral – climate policies will have virtually no impact on the rise in global temperature.

In recording made shortly before his death, bin Laden praises protests sweeping Middle East
Huh. Osama and Obama both praised what is happening in the “Arab Spring.” Assuming they are not on the same side, which given Obama’s ordering the hit on Osama would indicate, one of they didn’t get what was happening. ~Bob. Excerpt: Shortly before his death, Osama bin Laden recorded a message praising the Middle East protest movements and predicting that revolutions would spread across the region. “I think that the winds of change will blow over the entire Muslim world, with permission from Allah,” bin Laden said in the 12-minute message released online Thursday.

Moderate Jon Huntsman, possible 2012 candidate, tests the waters in today’s GOP
Excerpt: Jon Huntsman Jr. sets off Thursday on his first campaign-style swing through New Hampshire, testing whether his moderate brand of politics can find a place in today’s Republican Party. In a likely presidential bid, he would bring with him a political resume punctuated by his stint as President Obama’s ambassador to China and loaded with centrist positions on immigration, cap-and-trade climate legislation and gay rights. That could be an uneasy fit in a GOP primary season that is already pushing candidates to the right.

Manhunt Inc.: Firm 'Tags' Terrorists for Special Ops
Excerpt: When trading ended Tuesday night at the New York Stock Exchange, the closing bell wasn’t rung by a titan of finance or an imported celebrity. It was sounded by the CEO of an obscure defense firm with deep ties to the U.S. intelligence and special operations communities. The traders on the floor may not have recognized Mary Margaret “Peggy” Styer. But her company’s products are well known by the small group of commandos and spies who hunt down top terrorists. Over the last decade Styer’s company, the Virginia-based Blackbird Technologies, has become a leading supplier of equipment for the covert “tagging, tracking and locating” of suspected enemies. Every month, U.S. Special Operations Command spends millions of dollars on Blackbird gear. The U.S. Navy has a contract with Blackbird for $450 million worth of these so-called “TTL” devices. “Tens of thousands” of Blackbird’s devices have been sent to the field, according to a former employee. And TTL is just one part of the Herndon, Virginia firm’s multifaceted relationship with the special operations, intelligence and traditional military services. “Blackbird has hit the trifecta: They’ve got people to sell, people to perform the job, and people to keep it all secret,” says one well-placed Defense Department contractor. “Everybody keeps their distance.”

Worth Reading: The Failure of American Schools
Excerpt: During my maiden testimony before the State Assembly, I said that we would end patronage hires, which were notorious under the old system of 32 school districts, run by 32 school boards and 32 superintendents (a 2002 state bill granting Bloomberg mayoral control of the city’s schools abolished the 32 boards). At my mention of patronage, the legislators, like Captain Renault in Casablanca, purported to be “shocked.” Nevertheless, after the hearing, when I went to thank committee members, one took me aside and said: “Listen, they’re trying to get rid of a principal in my district who runs a Democratic club for us. If you protect him, you’ll never have a problem with me.” This kind of encounter was not rare. Similarly, I faced repeated requests for “constituent services,” meaning good school placements for wired constituents. After we reorganized the system and minimized the power of the 32 local superintendents—the go-to people for politicians under the past regime—a local official called me and asked, “Whom do I call for constituent services after your reorg?” I replied, “What’s that?” Impatiently, he asked, “How do I get a kid into a school when I need to?” I jokingly answered, “Oh, we must have left out that office in the reorg” (actually thinking, silly me, that the school system should use equitable rules for admission). He said, “Go fuck yourself,” and hung up. Despite our constant efforts, or because of them, this kind of political pressure—and payback if we weren’t responsive—happened at every level. Even more important, politicians can reap enormous political support from the unions representing school employees. The two national unions—the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association—together have some 4.7 million members, who pay hundreds of millions of dollars in national, state, and local dues, much of which is funneled to political causes. Teachers unions consistently rank among the top spenders on politics.

Have the Media Totally Forgotten About the Unemployed?
Excerpt: So here's an unemployment post (you know, for old time's sake). Today's job market looks nothing like anything we've seen in the last 50 years and a recent IMF report has the graphs to prove it. (It's not good for BO and the Dems, so no coverage is good coverage. ~Bob.)

Schwarzenegger's Secret Child Born Five Days After Maria Shriver Gave Birth
Excerpt: While the identity of the boy, now 13, is being protected, observers have noted that his mouth and teeth closely resemble the star. Neighbours today described the teen as 'is the type of kid you just want to be around. He is so sweet, funny, and handsome.' He is said to enjoy sports, school and is involved in local charities. Sources today claimed Guatamala-born Baena, whose duties included cleaning, laundry, cooking and other chores, began to 'pursue Arnold' in the late Nineties. It has been reported that Schwarzenegger and Baena had unprotected sex in the family home during the affair. Baena did not sleep in the marital home and instead Schwarzenegger, who is described as having a strong sexual appetite, would have unprotected liaisons with her during the daytime, the website reports. (I wonder if she gets Food Stamps. - Kate in LA)

Microsoft: One in 14 Downloads is Malicious
Excerpt: So increasingly, instead of hacking the browsers themselves, the bad guys try to hack the people using them. It's called social engineering, and it's a big problem these days. "The attackers have figured out that it's not that hard to get users to download Trojans," said Alex Stamos, a founding partner with Isec Partners, a security consultancy that's often called in to clean up the mess after companies have been hacked. Social engineering is how the Koobface virus spreads on Facebook. Users get a message from a friend telling them to go and view a video. When they click on the link, they're then told that they need to download some sort of video playing software in order to watch. That software is actually a malicious program.

The Sue Me, Sue You LAPD Blues
Can’t figure out why LA and other cities are broke. ~Bob. Excerpt: In my most recent column, I described the exasperation felt by many front-line LAPD officers and detectives at having to work for superiors whose courage, intelligence, integrity, sobriety, or sanity is less than we might wish. But I neglected to inform readers that vexation within the ranks is hardly the only price that’s paid for poor leadership in the department. Sometimes it comes down to real dollars, lots and lots of them. On May 8, the Los Angeles Times published a story on the multi-million-dollar jury awards some LAPD officers have received as the result of lawsuits based on claims of suffering at the hands of department managers. The story, by Times writer Joel Rubin, told of such cases as these: Two motorcycle officers were awarded a total of $2 million after alleging their captain and other supervisors retaliated against them when they complained about illegal ticket quotas. (The L.A. Times seems surprised by the remarkably litigious officer corps of the LAPD. I'm not. –DH)

Death of the War Powers Act?
They don’t get it. Making war without Congressional approval is only wrong if Republicans do it. Democrats, being the Holy, anointed Holders of all Virtue, can bomb whom they please. ~Bob. Excerpt: This week, the War Powers Act confronts its moment of truth. Friday will mark the 60th day since President Obama told Congress of his Libyan campaign. According to the act, that declaration started a 60-day clock: If Obama fails to obtain congressional support for his decision within this time limit, he has only one option — end American involvement within the following 30 days. Obama has not only failed but he hasn’t even tried — leaving it to Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, to call for a “specific resolution that would give [the president] authority.” Neither the president nor the Democratic congressional leadership has shown any interest. They have been sleep-walking their way to Day 60.

Obama to offer debt relief to Egypt in Mideast speech
Hey, times are good, unemployment is low, the economy is booming, we have a budget surplus and we know there are no anti-American Jihadists involved in the new Egyptian government, so why not pour some US tax dollars on them. Don’t bitch, you stingy rich people, just spreading the wealth around. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Barack Obama will unveil an economic aid program for Egypt and Tunisia on Thursday as part of a broad effort to support democratic reform in the Middle East and North Africa, U.S. officials said. Senior advisers to Obama, previewing parts of his speech, said Wednesday the United States would offer debt relief totaling roughly $1 billion "over a few years" to Egypt through a debt swap mechanism that would invest the money to boost youth employment and support entrepreneurs. Washington would also loan or guarantee loans up to a total of $1 billion through the Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC) for Egypt to finance infrastructure development and boost jobs, the officials told reporters on a conference call. Several billion dollars in additional financing would come from multilateral development banks as well.

VIDEO: Allen West Interview with The Daily Caller's Ginni Thomas
Excerpt: On what surprises him most about working in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve never seen people that are so comfortable with lying in my life.” (That's how I feel in LA. Never seen anything like it. If you scroll down to the first video segment and it doesn't work, keep scrolling. There are more.- Kate)

VIDEO: Liberals Trash Church Service to Trash Israel
Excerpt: Last Sunday, Pastor John Hagee in San Antonio, TX devoted a church service to honoring Israel, God’s chosen people who regained in 1948 the homeland God gave them more than 3,000 years ago. Apparently, some pro-terrorist liberals caught wind of his plans and had a bunch of their raucous number in the crowd to slander Israel and Israelis, and disrupt this church service. This is typical behavior of the ultra-Left. These outright lies about Israeli’s firing on innocent Palestinian civilians, genocide and all that nonsense is a kissing-cousin to the same Leftist malarkey which claims American solders are genocidal slayers of innocent civilians and babies.

Conservative: The New Cool
Excerpt: We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. – C.S. Lewis. Comedian Jim Wiegand – aka “Jim Wiggins, the last hippie in America” – is a throwback to a bygone era. The hilarious 70-year-old wisecracker is known for, among other things, a quite liberal worldview. He’s also known for raising Joe Wiegand, his rebellious, good-for-nothing son. Apart from sharing both a sharp sense of humor and mutual love and admiration, father and son see eye to eye on little else. Joe, a good friend of mine, isn’t a rebellious good-for-nothing in the conventional sense. He’s a 40-something Illinois-based GOP strategist, a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator without equal and a buttoned-up evangelical Christian.

German Chancellor on the Offensive: Merkel Blasts Greece Over Retirement Age
Excerpt: It was the kind of criticism that one isn't used to hearing from Angela Merkel. Normally sober and analytical to a fault, the German chancellor on Tuesday evening blasted a handful of heavily indebted southern European countries, saying they needed to raise retirement ages and reduce vacation days. Keeping debt under control, Merkel said in a speech at an event held by her party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union, in the western German town of Meschede, isn't the only priority. "It is also important that people in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal are not able to retire earlier than in Germany -- that everyone exerts themselves more or less equally. That is important."

Civil War in Sweden
Excerpt: Report from Europe. Malmö in South Sweden will be the first major European city with Muslim majority. A civil war-like situation is developing very fast. Malmö’s firefighters are carrying stone-proof face masks and military grade bullet-proof vests. Recently more than a hundred immigrants violently attacked the police — short video clip (35 sec.). A machine gun was used during another attack on the police — short video clip (2 min.). A bullet hole through the side mirror of a police car shows that it was a miracle that no one got hurt.

Are Progressives Smarter Than Fifth-Graders?
Excerpt: "It's hard, if not impossible," he writes, "to tell whether the positions taken by the New York Times are so consistently wrong out of ignorance, denial, or a deliberate attempt to gloss over problems that get in the way of the newspaper's Progressive agenda (this is actually a problem with most Progressives). " Life, with its shades of gray, often frustrates the empiricist -- and political persuasions are often about far more than facts. Kernen cites a psychological theory that divides people into two groups: " 'Internals' believe that they are in control of their own lives, while 'externals' see themselves as subject to outside forces they can't control." [Yah, nobody home in there. - Kate] Not shockingly, "externals" tend to be progressives -- and cultural attitudes can influence and encourage this belief. Smart people (and not just progressives, by the way) cling to dodgy ideas for all sorts of reasons. Some may give them a sense of identity. Some, like "humans bad, trees good" environmentalism, have an almost religious appeal. Some are powered by persuasive marketing. And some ideas are so appealing on the surface that people, quite simply, just want them to be true. Facts alone won't change their mind.

Muslims to Obama: We’re not into you
Excerpt: President Obama is attempting to salvage his flagging Middle East strategy. In his scheduled speech today on the events in the Middle East and North Africa, Mr. Obama may also try to claim a measure of credit for the changes sweeping the region. This will be a tough sell, especially to the supermajorities of people in that part of the world who simply don’t like America. The latest polling from the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitude Project shows that Mr. Obama’s much-heralded outreach to the Muslim world has failed. In Egypt, site of the June 2009 Cairo speech that kicked off the effort, the United States has a 20 percent favorability rating, seven points below where it was in 2009. In Pakistan, U.S. approval is 11 percent, a five-point drop since the Cairo speech. These surveys were conducted before the flap over charges of violating Pakistan’s sovereignty in taking down Osama bin Laden. ("Oderint, dum metuant" – Seneca)

Fox National News - Drug Smuggling War Spilling into the U.S.
This is inevitable. Obama’s plan is to pander to the Hispanic vote and try to keep the lid on the violence until after November, 2012. ~Bob.

Nikki Haley muscles up for 2012
Excerpt: With noted smackdowns of two top GOP 2012 contenders, a high-profile presence at the May 5 Fox News debate and a schedule heavy with cable news show appearances, the first-term Republican governor is signaling her intent to use South Carolina’s key early presidential primary to claim a place on the national stage. Haley’s recent muscle-flexing came at the expense of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, both of whom are still licking their wounds after her frank—and non-constructive—criticism of them.

Corruption: Why Texas is Not Mexico
Excerpt: As one studies Mexico’s cartel war, it is not uncommon to hear Mexican politicians — and some people in the United States — claim that Mexico’s problems of violence and corruption stem largely from the country’s proximity to the United States. According to this narrative, the United States is the world’s largest illicit narcotics market, and the inexorable force of economic demand means that the countries supplying the demand, and those that are positioned between the source countries and the huge U.S. market, are trapped in a very bad position. Because of this market and the illicit trade it creates, billions of dollars worth of drugs flow northward through Mexico (or are produced there) and billions of dollars in cash flow back southward into Mexico. The guns that flow southward along with the cash, according to the narrative, are largely responsible for Mexico’s violence. As one looks at other countries lying to the south of Mexico along the smuggling routes from South America to the United States, they too seem to suffer from the same maladies. However, when we look at the dynamics of the narcotics trade, there are other political entities, ones located to Mexico’s north, that find themselves caught in the same geographic and economic position as Mexico and points south. As borderlands, these entities — referred to as states in the U.S. political system — find themselves caught between the supply of drugs flowing from the south and the large narcotics markets to their north. The geographic location of these states results in large quantities of narcotics flowing northward through their territory and large amounts of cash likewise flowing southward. Indeed, this illicit flow has brought with it corruption and violence, but when we look at these U.S. states, their security environments are starkly different from those of Mexican states on the other side of the border.
Worth reading: How Assimilation Works
And why we face collapse. ~Bob. Excerpt: The choice was hard, at times even brutal. Racism, ethnocentrism, and prejudice could make the work of becoming American notoriously difficult. But people understood that to have a nation composed of immigrants, there had to be a unifying common culture in the public sphere. Transmitting that common culture was the job of the schools. My mother’s mother came from Maschito, an Albanian village in southern Italy. Many Maschitans settled in Fresno, where every year they celebrated the feast of their ancestral village’s patron saint, Santa Elia. But I never heard a word about any of this in school. We were busy learning about George Washington and the Constitution, Valley Forge and the Gettysburg Address, the nation’s history and heroes, its virtues and ideals—and, crucially, those core American principles. It was at school that the immigrant learned American history and celebrated the leaders who had created the country, fought in its defense, and embodied its most cherished values. In short, he learned how to be what he or his parents had freely chosen to become: American. This process has been compromised over the past 40 years as the ideology of multiculturalism has colonized schools, government, and popular culture. Today, immigrants learn to embrace a sense of entitlement and grievance and to demand that schools and government acknowledge and atone for America’s sins.

Excerpt: Because somebody in the Wisconsin Democratic party needs to be the adult in the David Prosser/JoAnne Kloppenburg state Supreme Court recount, here. This nonsense has gone on long enough: three weeks and a quarter-million taxpayer dollars later, it has - not ‘become’ obvious that Prosser has won. It’s been obvious since they certified the results. What’s more properly ‘become’ obvious is that the Kloppenburg camp has decided to simply wait until the recount is over, then challenge the results in court on the grounds of democracy. Which is why the Democrats are doing things like disenfranchising nuns; it’s all about the narrative that they hope to present, at this point. As to why the Democrats need to find some adults, fast… it’s for their own self-preservation, really. Shark & Shepherd gives the reason: even postulating that a successful challenge to and overthrow of legitimate election* results occurs (which neither he or I think is likely), the consequences to the Democratic party of Wisconsin would be disastrous.

"If there are no armed force of Muslims, no Jihad and no fighting, nobody would allow us to establish the Sharia of Allah"
Excerpt: How is it that Dokka Abu Usman, who situates everything he says in the context of Islam and frequently quotes the Qur'an, have misunderstood Islam so thoroughly as to think that Muslims must fight in order to impose Sharia? Can some Muslim in the U.S. please explain how his vision of Islam differs from Dokka's, and what he would say to Dokka if he had the chance to try to convince him that his understanding of Islam was wrong?

Islamic supremacism and hate taught in "moderate" Nashville mosque
Excerpt: And of course the mainstream media runs interference for the Islamic supremacists.

Briton insulted Islam, Prophet in Dubai shop, court told
Excerpt: A 40-year-old tourist appeared in court this morning accused of insulting Islam during a conversation about the Taliban, calling the Prophet Mohammed a terrorist.

Blind Marine Competes in Warrior Games
Excerpt: “I cried when I heard the news,” said Roger. “I remember Chuck placing his hand on my arm and he signaled for a pen.” On the piece of paper Chuck wrote, “‘I can handle this. However, you can do one thing for me; read the bible to me every day.’”("I can handle this." Words born from character instilled by his parents and refined at Marine Corps Boot Camp. Ooh Rah Chuck Sketch. You just became one of my heroes. MasterGuns)

Back when the debt limit was only $8 trillion….
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. --Senator Barack H. Obama, March, 2006

Standing Against Sharia in Melbourne
Excerpt: Whenever we Americans think about Australians, we picture a bunch of tough, straight-talking people who take no nonsense from anyone, and never give in to bullying. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that despite the growth of Islam and Multiculturalism, no group has mounted a significant anti-sharia demonstration in Australia. Until last Sunday, that is. On that day anti-jihad activists, led by the newly-formed Australian Defence League, gathered in Federation Square in Melbourne to protest the Islamization of Australia. (How about an American Defence League for us? - Kate)

Being Effective in Tennessee
Excerpt: You know you’re being effective when CAIR comes after you. The anti-sharia volunteers of Middle Tennessee are definitely being effective. According to Lou Ann Zelenik, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, Muslim lobbying groups such as CAIR have been pushing back in the wake of her organization’s event featuring Geert Wilders. “We definitely stirred things up,” she told me in a phone conversation last night. “CAIR demanded an apology from the Williamson County Republican Party for hosting Geert’s press conference. Can you believe that? An apology! “Well, they can demand all they like, but they’re not gonna get one.”

Electoral schooling
Excerpt: …[I]n Worcester, GOP poll watchers did follow up. Citing “fraud” at three of Worcester’s 50 precincts, they drafted up a 12-page list of complaints and anecdotes, submitted it to the Worcester Election Commission and asked that it be forwarded to the state’s Elections Division. Alleging electioneering, out-of-state licenses accepted as identification, inaccurate voter lists, “helpers” aiding voters, “interpreters” showing voters who to vote for, and a food-for-voting exchange, the GOP activists zeroed in on organizing group Neighbor to Neighbor, a contingent made up mostly of African American and Latina women who overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates. The following Worcester Elections Commission meetings turned contentious. Neighbor to Neighbor testified against the claims that its T-shirts and mission made it a “political party,” which therefore shouldn’t be allowed inside polling places. The group also testified against the complainant’s premise that, because ballots are printed in both English and Spanish, there’s no need for interpreters. (This is a very detailed look at the outcome of recent local allegations of election fraud. While not involved in the process personally, I know some of those who are quoted below, and believe them to be people of integrity who wouldn’t “make up stories” like this. Desiree Awiszio, who worked tirelessly for the congressional campaign of Marty Lamb (of “barf bag” fame), is both hyper-competent and honest. Ron P.)

Spanish Revolution: Thousands gather in Madrid's Puerta del Sol Square [Video]
Excerpt: Some 10,000 protesters gathered in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square Wednesday to demand jobs, economic equality, and “real democracy” in the fourth day of protests that mimic the Middle East uprisings. “La Puerta del Sol in Madrid is now the country’s Tahrir Square, and the Arab Spring has been joined by what is now bracing to become a long European Summer,” writes Pablo Ouziel in Political Affairs.

Hugo Chavez's influence on the wane in Latin America
Excerpt: Here on Brazil’s northeast coast, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dreamed of building an oil refinery and naming it after a Brazilian adventurer who had fought for Venezuela’s independence. The joint venture with Brazil, he said in trips here, would help unify Latin America against his adversary, the United States. The $15 billion refinery is now two years away from completion, but with little input from Venezuela or its mercurial president, who for years backed projects regionwide in his drive to make Venezuela the vanguard of a new era in Latin America.

Chris Matthews Attacks Gingrich as 'Evil Joker,' Praises Obama as 'Our Hero Batman'
Excerpt: Just when you thought MSNBC's Chris Matthews couldn't stoop any lower he magically finds new ways to trash his political opponents while praising the man that gives him a thrill up his leg. On Wednesday's "Hardball," the host in his concluding segment attacked Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as the Joker looking "for ways to manipulate public opinion, interrupt the TV news, and bring his evil intentions and motives and instincts into reality" while praising President Obama as "our hero" Batman full of "goodwill, generosity and glamour" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

The union label stifles growth and jobs
Excerpt: Danaher's closing," said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., lamenting the loss of a plant that had employed 330 people in Massachusetts. "Now, those jobs are going to Arkansas and to Texas." It was April 2005. Neal was taking the opportunity of a House committee hearing on competition with China to complain instead about how his own state was losing jobs to states with less hostile business climates. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, mildly rebuked Neal's deviation from the topic, noting that Massachusetts had shot itself in the foot with high taxes and compulsory union membership. Thomas added that "at some point perhaps the good citizens of Massachusetts will pick up the drift."

Ryan, Daniels may have a 'rendezvous with destiny'
As Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels inched closer to a decision on whether to seek the presidency in 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced this week that he would not run for the U.S. Senate. Their collective decisions could end up having a momentous impact on the nation's future. By choosing to stay at his post as House Budget Committee chairman rather than attempt to become a junior senator, Ryan put his interest in solving the nation's long-term debt crisis ahead of higher political ambition. As a senator, he would have been in a stronger position to run for president in 2016.

Poisonous in Pakistan
Excerpt: It's a mess, ain't it Sheriff? If it ain't it'll do till a mess gets here. -- Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men. For years, we have poured billions of dollars into Pakistan, and the payoff is that two out of every three Pakistanis regard the United States as an enemy. After the discovery that Osama bin Laden had been living there for years, the feeling in America is: Right back atcha. Some marriages can't be saved, and this looks like one of them. Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has treated Pakistan as an indispensable asset while leaning on its rulers to do our bidding. They have taken the money and, often as not, sabotaged our interests. The Obama administration, however, resists all calls to end or curtail our aid.

Obama: Palestinian State Must Be Based on 1967 Borders
Just because the Arabs failed to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews when they attacked them in 1967 and again in 1973, no reason not to give them another chance. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Barack Obama delivers a policy address on events in the Middle East at the State Department in Washington. President Obama, in a sweeping address tackling the uprisings in the Middle East and the stalled peace process, on Thursday endorsed Palestinians' demand for their own state based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. The break with longstanding U.S. policy is likely to aggravate the Israelis, who want the borders of any future Palestinian state determined through negotiations. The declaration comes ahead of a meeting in Washington between Obama and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "The status quo is unsustainable," Obama said. "A lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples." The U.S. had previously endorsed the concept of a Palestinian state, but not the demand for permanent pre-1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps.

Congressman Allen West Response to President Barack Obama's Call for a Two State Solution in Israel
Excerpt: Today’s endorsement by President Barack Obama of the creation of a Hamas-led Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, signals the most egregious foreign policy decision his administration has made to date, and could be the beginning of the end as we know it for the Jewish state. From the moment the modern day state of Israel declared statehood in 1948, to the end of the 1967 Six Day War, Jews were forbidden access to their holiest site, the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, controlled by Jordan’s Arab army. The pre-1967 borders endorsed by President Obama would deny millions of the world’s Jews access to their holiest site and force Israel to return the strategically important Golan Heights to Syria, a known state-sponsor of terrorism. Resorting to the pre-1967 borders would mean a full withdrawal by the Israelis from the West Bank and the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Make no mistake, there has always been a Nation of Israel and Jerusalem has been and must always be recognized as its rightful capital.

The Globalization of South Los Angeles: How government policy replaced American blacks with illegal immigrants in the South L.A. drug trade
Excerpt: But, as Big explains to me, South L.A. has undergone some changes since then. The decline of the black gangs and the rise of a new Hispanic force based around 18th Street is a fascinating tale of globalization, endemic crime, and social turmoil. Likewise, the ignorance displayed by Hollywood and its environs north of the ghetto offers a glimpse into the myopia of West Coast liberalism. Put simply, South L.A. used to be majority black; now it is majority Hispanic. In 1980, 71 percent of the population was African-American. According to the 2010 census, that figure has fallen to 31 percent, while the proportion of Hispanic residents is now 62 percent. One fun innovation the Hispanic migrants have brought with them is a culture of raising livestock at home. In contemporary South L.A., it is not unusual to be woken up at 6 a.m. by the sound of a rooster crowing. While turning onto Gage Avenue, I nearly drove my car into a goat. The demographics of South Los Angeles have changed, but its problems have remained exactly the same.

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