Sunday, July 17, 2011

Political Digest for July 17, 2011

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.

Obama's Strategy to Kill the Space Program
Excerpt: The Shuttle is now history. There is no near-term replacement. Mars is off the table. The NASA team that kept the U.S. in the game is being dispersed, with a small remnant retained for work on the Orion project, scheduled to fly by 2016, though we'll see inevitable "slips" from year to year. A favored liberal method of shutting down anything they are opposed to is the "replacement" technique. They insist on replacing the program in question with an alternative that is nowhere near as good but which mollifies the opposition. Then, once a little time has passed, they shut down the replacement while ridiculing opponents for trying to put over something so second-rate and useless. We saw this most recently with the F-22 v. F-35 debate. F-22 Raptor production was shut down on the grounds that the F-35 would act as a "replacement." Now, several years on, we're hearing that the F-35 is simply "not good enough." One of Panetta's first moves in the Department of Defense will be an attempt to shut it down. (For some reason, both the Republican Party and the conservative establishment have found it very difficult to wrap their collective minds around this process. The libs pull it time and again, and each time it comes as a surprise. I'm not sure why -- it doesn't strike me as being particularly complex.) (Fairness compels me to point out that while Obama is no supporter of manned space, the slow process of abandoning space began with the Congress (with help from both parties) back in the 80s, and has continued to this day. Then, the opposers condemned "the immorality" of the Strategic Defense Initiative [known to the MSM as "Star Wars"], as though there was something inherently evil about being able to protect ourselves with weapons that had no offensive function. It was largely the SDI program that bankrupted the USSR, and having vanquished its first foe without even being completed, doves in Congress made sure SDI never got finished. Surely no other country would ever possess an ICBM or IRBM capable of being armed with a nuclear warhead (except Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and a few not-terribly-dependable allies). Thousands of years have taught us an important lesson in military history: hold the high ground. If nothing else, the rocks you throw will be going faster and hurt more when they hit if you start out higher than your opponent. If you need a pleasant lesson on this, see "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein.  Space is the ultimate high ground, and we are abandoning it, at least for the next four to five years. Think about how much computers have changed in the past five years. Do you really want to give up that much edge in space? Ron P.)

Ionospheric airglow signature of tsunami waves confirmed
Excerpt: The signature, caused by the March 11 earthquake that devastated Japan, was observed in an airglow layer 250 kilometers above the earth’s surface. It preceded the tsunami by one hour, suggesting that the technology could be used as an early-warning system in the future. The findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters. The observation confirms a theory developed in the 1970s that the signature of tsunamis could be observed in the upper atmosphere, specifically the ionosphere. But until now, it had only been demonstrated using radio signals broadcast by satellites. (Still another way science—and especially spaceflight—can make us safer. It’s raining soup out there; where are our spoons? Ron P.)

Excerpt: And it would work like this, if the government made travel arrangements for one third of the population and penalized anyone else who didn’t let an employer make theirs.

Robber who broke into hair salon is beaten by its black-belt owner and kept as a sex slave for three days... fed only Viagra
You think this isn't political? Could lead to a huge crime wave! ~Bob. Excerpt: A Russian man who tried to rob a hair salon ended up as the victim when the female shop owner overpowered him, tied him up naked and then used him as a sex slave for three days. Viktor Jasinski, 32, admitted to police that he had gone to the salon in Meshchovsk, Russia, with the intention of robbing it. But the tables were turned dramatically when he found himself overcome by owner Olga Zajac, 28, who happened to be a black belt in karate. She allegedly floored the would-be robber with a single kick. Then, in a scene reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, police say Zajac dragged the semi-conscious Jasinski to a back room of the salon and tied him up with a hair dryer cable. She allegedly stripped him naked and, for the next three days, used him as a sex slave to 'teach him a lesson' - force feeding him Viagra to keep the lesson going.

Contempt of Cop: What’s the Law Say About Photographing Police?
Excerpt: Emily Good: the name sounds like a school teacher, a virtuous heroine, and “Mitchell Crooks” surely is an evildoer. What do these two have in common? They’ve both been cited for, essentially, “contempt of cop.” They dared to photograph police officers in the act of performing their usual, apparently unremarkable duties. The arrest — even beating — of citizens who have done nothing more than photograph police officers has been happening recently, a disturbing and potentially dangerous trend. (…) Can citizens photograph police while they are doing their duties? In general, yes. It is clearly established law that the police may watch, listen to, or photograph citizens without a warrant and without notice or permission in public places wherever they do not have “a reasonable expectation of privacy.” (…) The same general rules apply to the police. When they are in the full view of the public, doing what the public pays them to do, any citizen is within their rights to observe those officers, and even to film them. In such circumstances, the police have no reasonable expectation of privacy. It can be reasonably argued that as public employees doing the business of the public, they have even less expectation of privacy than the general public.

Turkey charges 14 militants with anti-US plot
Excerpt: A court has charged 14 suspected al-Qaida militants for allegedly planning to attack the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital. The charges — which were filed by an Ankara court late Friday — come as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits Turkey's cultural capital of Istanbul for a meeting on religious tolerance. The 14 suspects were captured just before Clinton's arrival. A 15th suspect was released, though may later also face trial. (As close as Turkey has recently been with Iran, it’s hard to tell if this is a positive sign for us, a negative sign for the Iranians, or both, and to what degree. A few weeks ago, Iran gave Turkey a “warning” not to stay too close to the US or NATO militarily. This could just be the Turks’ way to say “stuff it in your, uh, hat.” Nobody likes bossy neighbors. Ron P.)

Two never-used Navy ships head to scrapyard
Big government in action. These are the folks who want to run healthcare, the economy, etc. ~Bob. Excerpt: I’m not sure precisely what lesson there is to be learned from this, other than it being an example of precisely how wrong things can go when a massive bureaucracy’s thousands of left hands lose track of what its thousands of right hands are doing. But you won’t need many guesses as to who gets stuck with the bill. Two ships ordered for the Navy back when Ronny was still president are on their way to be converted into razor blades this year. That, in itself, is not all that unusual. The “ghost fleets” are periodically trimmed in this fashion. The startling aspect of this story is that these ship never saw a single day of service.

1 million+ libyans gathered in Sabha to support Gaddafi
Bomb them for dissing Obama's "No march Zone." ~Bob. Excerpt: Mass support for Gaddafi 8th July 2011. Demonstration took place in Sabha. A million libyans if not more, came out in the streets of Sabha to show their support to Gaddafi.

Letter to the Editor for your possible use, from a blog reader
I have been watching various television reports about the political doublespeak now going on about trying to find a way to dramatically cut our federal budget deficit. The hang-ups in not agreeing to anything seem to be coming from President Obama and the Democrats who want to raise taxes and keep spending levels close to where they are now, while the Republicans, who are resisting raising taxes in an extremely fragile economy where the unemployment rate is still above 9 percent, see the problem as not being a revenue problem but, instead, is an overspending problem. Historically, tax cuts have always resulted in greater revenues coming to the federal government, while tax increases have done the opposite. Such a tax reduction would also, clearly, induce a much wanted increase in hiring, while, in the process, dramatically decreasing this nation’s unemployment rate. (If you don’t believe the fact that tax reductions result in revenue increases to the federal government, then I would urge you to “Google” it.) A federal law was passed and enacted in 1974 called the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. Among other things, the Act requires the President to submit, and the Congress to pass, a budget scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). No budgets for consideration have been submitted since 2009. The defiance of this Act by the President and his previously Democratically-controlled Congress is the primary reason for the current federal budget crisis and blamefest that has been going on for way too long. More specifically, the blame goes directly to the President and the U. S. Senate for not submitting any kind of a budget as required by the Budget Act. While their political posturing has put most business decisions on “hold,” the uncertainty over interest rates have also squashed any hope of a recovery in the home sales market, it’s time for all Americans to write or call their U. S. Senators and Congressional Representatives and demand that they stop this childish game of “chicken” and get the U. S. “house” back in order. Sincerely, Your Name.

Afghan women rally, turning men red-faced with anger
Should read, "In any other country without a Muslim majority. Few of these kinds of marches in Saudi Arabia. ~Bob. Excerpt: In any other country, the sight of a group of women holding colorful placards, marching and protesting is commonplace. But not in Afghanistan. In fact, a women’s protest on the streets of Kabul on Thursday was the first of its kind. On a hot, muggy day, about 30 women of all ages mustered up the courage to speak up against the age-old indignity of sexual harassment by men. With banners that read "This street also belongs to me" and "We won't stand insults anymore,” they marched with a confident stride from Kabul University to the Afghan Human Rights Institute. ... During the Taliban’s rule, women were forbidden to work or even leave their home without a male escort. Seeking medical help from a male doctor was also forbidden. Still, today in Afghanistan, a staggering 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate and the average life expectancy for women is just 44 years, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Buddhists massacred by Islamic rebels in the South: the first challenge for new government
Excerpt: Bangkok (Fides Service) - While the country is looking for a "common ground" on which to rebuild the fabric of a split society, and seeks paths for "national reconciliation" after the general elections won by the young leader Yingluck Shinawatra, the Muslim onset in the south of the country strongly returns. Violence and bloodshed are carried out against defenseless families: the victims are mostly Buddhists in the extreme south of Thailand, in the three provinces where most of the people are Muslims (Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat) on the border with Malaysia, and this is where the victims, a small minority live and are targeted by rebel groups who use terrorist methods. (If only the evil Buddhists would stop supporting Israel, all would be peaceful. ~Bob.)

Valley Center Teacher Accused Of Giving Teens Alcohol
Excerpt: A Valley Center Middle School teacher is accused of supplying minors with alcohol and violating a county social host ordinance after sheriff's deputies say she threw an out-of-control party for her daughter's high school graduation. "It was like a scene from 'Animal House,'" said San Diego County Sheriff's Sgt. Bob Bishop. "I don't believe the deputies ran into anybody who was sober." Deputies said Valley Center Middle School teacher Nancy Hildebrand threw a large out-of-control party at her home on Sunday night. Bishop described the road and driveway leading up to Hildebrand's home on Puma Trail as a "debris field" with beer cans and bottles everywhere. "When they got up to the house, they were met at the front door by a group of about 50 kids… all of them well underage," said Bishop. ... In another bedroom, deputies found a strip poker game in progress. Four teenage girls were playing cards in their underwear while several boys took pictures of them with their cell phones.

The Un-American American President
Excerpt: Something is wrong with Barack Obama. We all know it. We all see it. When he speaks about America, Americans cringe. There is a strangeness to his manner, an unease when he talks about America. He appears awkward and uncomfortable. His speech seems performed and practiced yet, oddly halting. It's reminiscent of American POW's in Vietnam or Iraq reading a forced confession. His eyes, expressions, and vocal tone are disconnected from his words. The words themselves often sound American, but the delivery is clinical and detached. His attempts at patriotic sentiment ring hollow and phony. "Once again, with feeling!" is how Americans are left feeling. He just doesn't seem right. He doesn't seem like, of us. Before anyone "goes there" and makes accusations of racism, this is about a pervasive, nagging, national perception that Barack Obama does not intuitively understand or appreciate America or Americans. Not our past. Not our present or future. He just doesn't act or sound like an American. In fact, there are good reasons and ample evidence for why.

Poll Exposes Palestinians' Peace Opposition
Excerpt: More than 60 percent of Palestinians reject a two-state solution with Israel and support the Hamas charter's call for killing Jews, according to a new poll conducted in the West Bank and Gaza. American pollster Stanley Greenberg surveyed more than 1,000 Palestinians in conjunction with the West Bank-based Palestinian Center For Public Opinion. The poll was sponsored by the Israel Project, a nonprofit research group advocating "people-to-people peace" between Arabs and Israelis. But If the poll (which has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points) is any indication, most Palestinians have little interest in compromise or peace with their Israeli neighbors. Palestinians were asked about President Obama's statement that "there should be two states: Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people and Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people." Those surveyed rejected Obama's formulation by a 61-34 margin. (It takes two sides to make a peace, only one to make a war. Israel can no more make peace with those who want to destroy her than a woman can make peace with a rapist. ~Bob.)

Sarah Huckabee Joins Pawlenty Campaign
Excerpt: Sarah Huckabee, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s daughter and political director for his 2008 presidential run, will join former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign. Ms. Huckabee has signed on as a senior adviser and will lead strategy in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state. It’s a strategic move for Mr. Pawlenty, who is seeking to replicate Mr. Huckabee’s 2008 success with social conservatives in the Hawkeye State. When Mr. Huckabee decided not run for president earlier this year, it was unclear if Mr. Pawlenty would gain his support.

‘You Are Entering a Shariah Controlled Zone’: Group to Wage Islamic Law Campaign
Excerpt: “Muslims Against Crusades” (MAC), an Islamic group based in the United Kingdom, plans to wage a propaganda campaign to make a portion of London accept Sharia law. They are calling it the “Islamic Emirates Project,” and it is designed to create beachheads for sharia across the UK. The MAC group is specifically encouraging Muslims, who comprise 15% of Waltham Forest in northeast London, to enforce Islamic legal codes banning alcohol, gambling, drugs, smoking, pornography, prostitution and music concerts in their borough.

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