Friday, January 22, 2016

Today's interesting political news and opinion

Book Recommendation: The Lost Battalion: Controversy and Casualties in the Battle of Hue. By Charles A. Krohn 
Lost Battalion of Tet: The Breakout of 2/12th Cavalry at Hue Revised Edition. By Charles A. Krohn
The earlier edition of this excellent and interesting history was loaned to me by a Marine buddy, also a Vietnam vet but with infantry combat experience. It is the no-punches-pulled account of the Second Battalion, 12th Cavalry during the Tet offensive. The author, a retired Army LtCol, was the Bn. S2 as a captain. It is the story of what is known in classical military terms as a fustercluck. The 2/12th was sent forward with limited ammo and supplies, without packs, without arty and air support to attack an entrenched NVA force three times their size. The foul weather added to their misery and prevented air support and resupply for most of their ordeal. They took 60% casualties. They were surrounded at TFP for a considerable time, and only were extracted because the CO, LtCol. Richard Sweet, disregarding the opinions of higher command, exfiltrated at night through a weak spot in the NVA forces they found. It is difficult even for the author to place responsibility because there was so much chaos during the battle and so much CYA afterwards. But it seems clear the First Cav. Division CG, who hung a poor efficiency report on Col. Sweet, bears much of the responsibility. It appears that the Bn. fought well and was well led, but that the supply and support systems broke down, and higher command made things worse. The author does a good job on lessons learned, so the book is of value not just to Vietnam vets and military history buffs, but also to serving officers. Some quotes that will resonate with Vietnam Vets: "In one hamlet near Hue, we found the bodies of 15 women and children. 'They had all been shot at close range,' reported LtCol. Zane Finklestein, the Division's top lawyer. 'Some of the children had their skulls crushed by rifle butts.' Who knows the reason for this brutality? And nearly 25 years later, who remembers or cares? But everyone remembers My Lai." (P-127) "No one knows for certain how many civilians were executed by the NVA...but nearly 2,800 bodies were recovered in mass graves near the fields of execution." (P-141) "The (captured NVA) report also notes the 'elimination' (that is, murder) of '1,892 administrators, 38 policeman, 790 tyrants, 6 captains, 2 first lieutenants, 20 second lieutenants and many NCOs.' Assuming the administrators, police and 'tyrants' were civilians, the total acknowledged murdered is 2,748."

Worth Reading: Can Hillary take '13 Hours' of truth? Audiences can decide who to believe about Benghazi — self-serving bureaucrats or the men who lived through it. By Kirsten Powers 
Excerpt: Democratic partisans have seized on the new movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which portrays the fateful night that left four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, dead. ... Yes, the film is dramatic. How could the portrayal of a 13-hour attack by armed militants on a U.S. diplomatic mission and CIA annex be otherwise? But it’s also a decidedly non-political rendering of that night. Clinton is never mentioned, and President Obama makes a single brief appearance. Bay stuck closely to the story told in the best-selling book by Boston University journalism professor Mitchell Zuckoff and five CIA contractors who survived the attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Sep. 11, 2012. (A sixth contractor died.) But Hillary henchman Brock has blasted the movie, insisting that people ignore the horrifying firsthand account of these five men. (Ms. Powers has done a really nice job here, throwing back the lies of those attacking the film that just tells the factual story of events in Libya 3+ years ago.  The Liberals and Dems want this story to just go away, and they've worked hard at that since the moments any news about the attacks came out.  The film doesn't bring up any politics, so it should have been immune to the attacks, but just portraying anything truthful about that night sets of blaring alarms on the Left, and then it's attack, attack, attack. --Del)

Can't verify: White Refugees not Allowed in Germany
Excerpt: Genuine war refugees fleeing the conflict in the Ukraine have been denied asylum in Germany in 95 percent of cases (and will, from now on, all be refused that status)—while Angela Merkel’s government admits hundreds of thousands of “war refugees” from all over the nonwhite Middle East without question. (The original source cited is in German, and, alas, Ich bin dorch gefallen in Deutch in die hoch schula die zwita jarh in 1963. I flunked German the second year so I'm sure the spelling is way off here. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: The Enigma of Germany. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: What to fear in Germany — an ideologically driven leader who unilaterally is changing the demographics of the nation without public support, or an angry populist counter-movement that vows to keep Germans safe by any means necessary when the government won’t? Both, or neither? Is Germany postmodern in erasing borders, or premodern in bullying its neighbors to do the same? Does the world want Germans to stand up, reassert their pride in Western liberality and tolerance, and insist that migrants either integrate and follow Western values or go back home and stay there? Or does it want Germans to more or less continue to repress any expressions of cultural confidence? To even the least-informed observer, German chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent decision to allow tens of thousands of young Muslim migrants — about two-thirds of them young men — into Germany from the war-torn and terrorist-infested Middle East seemed unhinged.

Islamic State Militants Destroy The Oldest Christian Monastery In Iraq
This is really, really sad.  But as long as the world allows ISIS to continue in existence, nothing and no one is safe.  I keep hoping that some leadership will rise up to build a real alliance of nations committed to the total destruction of the "caliphate", but so far, it's been a bare effort to even contain these monsters.  What a sad commentary on how things are in what we like to call the civilized world today. --Del

Worth Reading: It's Still the Demography, Stupid. By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion. That didn't work out too great for the Shakers, but the Europeans figured it would be a piece of cake for them: "westernization" is so seductive, so appealing that, notwithstanding the occasional frothing imam and burka-bagged crone, their young Muslims would fall for the siren song of secular progressivism just like they themselves had. So, as long as you kept the immigrants coming, there would be no problem - as long as you oomphed up the scale of the solution. As I put it: To avoid collapse, European nations will need to take in immigrants at a rate no stable society has ever attempted. Last year, Angela Merkel decided to attempt it. The German Chancellor cut to the chase and imported in twelve months 1.1 million Muslim "refugees". That doesn't sound an awful lot out of 80 million Germans, but, in fact, the 1.1 million Muslim are overwhelmingly (80 per cent plus) fit, virile, young men. 

UK: Textbooks promoting stoning found in Muslim school

Video: Muslim migrants grope Swedish woman, demand she “make sex”

Muslim migrant: “German girls are just there for sex”

Hating Americans Is Official Saudi and Qatari Policy. By Raymond Ibrahim
Excerpt: As it happens, jihadi hate for non-Muslim “infidels” is not limited to the Islamic State, which U.S. leadership dismisses as neither a real state nor representative of Islam. Rather, it’s the official position of, among others, Saudi Arabia — a very real state, birthplace of Islam, and, of course, “friend and ally” of America. Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas—which issues religious decrees that become law—issued a fatwa, or decree, titled, “Duty to Hate Jews, Polytheists, and Other Infidels.” Written by Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999), former grand mufti and highest religious authority in the government, it still appears on the website. According to this governmentally-supported fatwa, Muslims—that is, the entire Saudi citizenry—must “oppose and hate whomever Allah commands us to oppose and hate, including the Jews, the Christians, and other mushrikin [non-Muslims], until they believe in Allah alone and abide by his laws, which he sent down to his Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him.”

Surprise: 'I decapitate you' Women workers threatened and forced to DRESS DOWN at refugee centre. By ALLAN HALL         
Excerpt: A FRUSTRATED refugee centre worker has revealed shocking incidents of cheating, death threats and demands for a luxury life from migrants.
 In a searing indictment of the behaviour of some refugees, the woman said her idealism has been eroded and virtually destroyed. At first she said was enthusiastic in her role of helping process tens of thousands of migrants arriving in Germany on a weekly basis. (Talk about having an educational experience!  But a sad one.  Slowly, so slowly, the reality hits of a lot of "refugees" from totally different cultures, and mostly young men, coming to the West expecting to be treated like princes in every way and resentful when not everything goes their way instantly.  And mostly with pretty poor ideas about giving women any respect.  It's what we call "reality therapy", where actual experience with situations and people impacts the unprepared mind that was fixated on a rose-colored view of the world.  Very disappointing for the poor idealists. --Del)

‘Angela Merkel You Have Killed Germany!’ – 16 Year Old Girl’s Migrant Fears Video That Some Claim Facebook Are ‘Censoring’

Excerpt: "Men of Germany, these people are killing your children, they are killing your women. We need your protection,” she goes on to say adding, “The politicians live alone in their villas, drink their cocktails, and do nothing.

Two more detainees released from Gitmo, one wants to stay behind
Excerpt: Two more detainees were released from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp on Thursday, according to officials, though a third man slated to leave is insisting on staying behind. According to reports, Mohammed Ali Abdullah Bwazir of Yemen, who is 35 or 36, and has been at the prison since 2002, was frightened to transfer to a country where he does not know anyone, his lawyer told reporters. Officials did not clarify to which country the prisoner -- tied in the past to both Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan -- would have been going.  (The emperor wants to build the caliphate.  Onward!  Transformation.  Maybe Planet X will intervene....Barb)

What could go wrong? Pentagon (Read "Obama") releases al Qaeda bomb expert from Guantánamo

Kerry admits some Iran sanctions relief money will go to jihad terrorism
But your life would be a small price to pay for Obama's legacy. ~Bob

Buddhism not a "Religion of Peace"? UK’s Daily Mail: Buddhist monk slashed tires “because of his religious beliefs.” By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: The mainstream media would never, ever say that a Muslim murdered 130 people in Paris or 14 people in San Bernardino or 13 people in Fort Hood “because of his religious beliefs,” even if that Muslim was screaming “Allahu akbar” during his attack and explained and justified it by reference to the teachings of the Qur’an. Our governing authorities play the same game. Even when a Muslim in Philadelphia shot and seriously wounded a police officer, and then explained: “I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic state. That is why I did what I did,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said: “In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on the screen….It is abhorrent. It is terrible and it does not represent the religion or any of its teachings. This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”

Afghanistan: Muslim cuts off wife’s nose after argument over his taking six-year-old as second wife

Worth Reading: The many contradictions of Hillary Clinton. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Hillary Clinton recently said she would go after offshore tax "schemes" in the Caribbean. That is a worthy endeavor, given the loss of billions of dollars in U.S. tax revenue. Yet her husband, Bill Clinton, reportedly made $10 million as an advisor and an occasional partner in the Yucaipa Global Partnership, a fund registered in the Cayman Islands. Is Ms. Clinton’s implicit argument that she knows offshore tax dodging is unethical because her family has benefitted from it? Does she plan to return millions of dollars of her family’s offshore-generated income?

Who had the worst week in Washington? Hillary Clinton. By Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
Excerpt: For Hillary Clinton, it’s starting to look like deja vu all over again.
Start a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination as giant front-runner. Check. Raise tens of millions of dollars and look unbeatable for large swaths of the year before the primaries start. Check. An insurgent challenger running to her ideological left? Check. Collapsing poll numbers on the eve of actual votes? Check.
Over the past week or so, Clinton has watched as her lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), a self-avowed socialist, has shrunk. And, far more important, Clinton’s standing vis a vis Sanders in the key early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire has eroded as well.

'Shoot the Watchdog': Hillary employs new tactic to deflect scrutiny of server use, former official says
Excerpt: The attacks on the Intelligence Community Inspector General may be Hillary Clinton’s “shoot the watchdog“ tactic to deflect scrutiny into her use of a private e-mail server, Joseph E. Schmitz, former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, told Fox News Thursday.  As first reported by Fox, an unclassified Jan. 14 letter from Inspector General Charles McCullough III  said that he has two sworn declarations "covering several dozen e-mails containing classified information" determined to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET/SAF levels. The letter was sent to the chairmen of two U.S. Senate Committees and also copied both to the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and to ranking Democratic members of the two Senate committees, Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff. It also went to the Inspector General of the State Department, Steve Linick.

When Salmon Tread Water. By Henry I. Miller
Excerpt: The U.S. Constitution was designed to create a fundamental tension between the legislative and executive branches of the government, a tension whose subtleties President Obama seems neither to understand nor respect. He regularly decides which laws to enforce, according to his whims and ideology. As he nears the finish line, the president’s overreach is sure to continue. Who can forget his arrogant boast, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone." In other words, when the president thinks he knows what’s best for the nation, the separation of powers and the rule of law be damned. 
Politics has even intruded on science-based regulation. Abuses of discretion create incentives to bad behavior among individuals and inhibit innovation. Consider, for example, the government’s hands-off attitude towards the illegal “misbranding” of foods by vigilantes—namely, consumers slapping misleading labels on foods on supermarket shelves.

Excerpt: Before the appointment of the (Democratic) emergency manager, Flint’s elected mayor and city council (Democrats) had decided to sever the city’s relationship with its drinking-water supplier, which was at the time the Detroit water authority. Flint intended to join a regional water authority that would pipe water in from Lake Huron, a project that was scheduled to take three years to come online. In a fit of pique, Detroit (a city under unitary Democratic control) immediately moved to terminate Flint’s water supply, leaving the city high and literally dry.

Worth Reading: How The Federal Government Botched Flint's Water Crisis. By
Arthur Delaney and Philip Lewis, The Huffington Post
Excerpt: That memo wasn't supposed to be released, but Curt Guyette, a reporter for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, obtained a copy from Lee Ann Walters, a Flint resident who had been given a copy by Del Toral after he took water samples from her house. She'd contacted the EPA because she was worried about her water and her kids. City and state officials downplayed Del Toral's report, and the EPA said it was only a draft that wasn't supposed to be released. Brad Wurfel, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, told a local reporter in July that "anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax." In August, department officials met with Flint residents -- including Walters -- and told them that Del Toral had been "handled" and that his report wouldn't be finalized. (Man, this is the worst EPA scandal in . . . like, six months.   [When the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River] --Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt.)

Excerpt: Trump’s political opinions have wobbled all over the lot. The real-estate mogul and reality-TV star has supported abortion, gun control, single-payer health care à la Canada, and punitive taxes on the wealthy. (He and Bernie Sanders have shared more than funky outer-borough accents.) Since declaring his candidacy he has taken a more conservative line, yet there are great gaping holes in it. His signature issue is concern over immigration — from Latin America but also, after Paris and San Bernardino, from the Middle East. He has exploited the yawning gap between elite opinion in both parties and the public on the issue, and feasted on the discontent over a government that can’t be bothered to enforce its own laws no matter how many times it says it will (President Obama has dispensed even with the pretense). But even on immigration, Trump often makes no sense and can’t be relied upon. A few short years ago, he was criticizing Mitt Romney for having the temerity to propose “self-deportation,” or the entirely reasonable policy of reducing the illegal population through attrition while enforcing the nation’s laws. Now, Trump is a hawk’s hawk.

Sarah Palin Jumps the Shark. By Pamela Geller
Excerpt: I am sure there are a great many conservatives who were deeply disappointed with Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump Tuesday. It was hard on the ears and harder on the heart. If anything, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump made Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX look more presidential. I do question her motives, because while Donald Trump is many things, one thing he most assuredly is not is a conservative. He isn’t. And that was always Palin’s touchstone — true conservatism. Until now.

Worth Reading: Trump Has Never Voted In A Republican Primary
Excerpt: A search of the New York state voter rolls shows that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has never cast a vote in a Republican presidential primary election in the state in which he has long been a resident. Trump’s official voting records, obtained by the Daily Mail, show that the 69-year-old billionaire failed to vote in any Republican presidential primary dating back to 1989. ... Trump has changed his party affiliation at least four times in the last 16 years — an average of once for each presidential election.

Worth Reading: From Immigration To Guns To Abortion, Donald Trump Must Reckon With His Progressive History. By Eric Owens
Excerpt: With that failed presidential run and with public appearances galore, Trump has established a sustained record of habitually inconsistent political positions which clash dramatically with the current tide of American conservatism. An in-depth study of Trump’s declared views on issues ranging from immigration to abortion to taxes to socialized health care shows that, in many ways, he would find a cozy home in progressive Democratic circles. In the first of two installments, The Daily Caller focuses here on immigration, abortion and gun control. Related:

If you wanted to know what kind of conservative could possibly stand against Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, the editors of National Review gathered a couple of names you might know to offer their thoughts . . .
Names like economist Thomas Sowell, Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III, TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck, former U.S. attorneys general Edwin Meese III and Michael B. Mukasey, syndicated radio hosts Dana Loesch and Michael Medved, syndicated columnists Cal Thomas and Mona Charen, The Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, First Things editor R. R. Reno, Commentary editor John Podhoretz, National Affairs editor Yuval Levin, novelist Mark Helprin, National Review contributing editor Andrew C. McCarthy, The Resurgent founder Erick Erickson, Club for Growth president David M. McIntosh, author and presidential scholar Steven F. Hayward, The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech, Cato Institute executive vice president David Boaz, editor Katie Pavlich, and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention. --Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt.

Always Worth Reading: The Goldberg File. By Jonah Goldberg
This seems lost on a lot of people these days. I keep hearing from folks who seem to think that if Donald Trump is popular or the front-runner, then National Review -- and yours truly -- must bow to the popular will. Get with the program, they say. See the writing on the wall. Get out in front of this. Instead, we went a different way, and the brickbats are flying in. We’ve disgraced ourselves, they insist. We’ve gone and read ourselves out of the conservative movement. Betrayed William F. Buckley. And that’s the calm and reasonable stuff. If say, you, offered some of the tantrums I’ve received in person instead of via e-mail and Twitter, the only reasonable response would be to call for the orderlies and ask how you slipped out of your restraints. So before we get into it, let me just say up front that rather than this being a low point or an epic fail or a betrayal, this is in fact one of National Review’s finest moments. If it costs us subscribers, or readers, or advertisers (all of which I doubt), so be it. What is it the Marines say? “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Well, such losses to National Review would be like dross being skimmed off freshly forged steel.

Interesting: China’s deeply flawed ascent. By George F. Will
Excerpt: The regime’s contract with its 1.4 billion subjects is that it will deliver prosperity and they will be obedient. Now the bill is coming due for the measures taken to produce prosperity. In 1978, when Deng Xiaoping began the regime’s attempt to leaven Leninism with market reforms, half of the Chinese people lived on less than $1 a day. In just six years, collective agriculture almost disappeared and grain production increased 34 percent, freeing people to move from the countryside to more productive urban employment.

Harvard's Ferguson: China's Behind Plunging Oil

Sanders prepares to challenge Clinton on Super Tuesday and beyond

Trouble Paying Medical Bills: Uninsured Do Better Than Obamacare Insured
By John R. Graham

Top EPA official resigns over Flint's toxic water crisis
Excerpt: The Environmental Protection Agency’s top Midwest official is resigning over the Flint water crisis, the agency announced Thursday, amid criticism over the agency’s alleged inaction in preventing the city’s water from being contaminated with lead. Region 5 administrator Susan Hedman offered her resignation and will leave in February after it was accepted by Administrator Gina McCarthy, the EPA said in a statement. Hedman, the EPA’s top Midwest official, had previously told News the agency knew about the lack of corrosion control in the water supply as early as April, after an EPA official identified problems with the drinking water, but did not make the information public. (Obama and feds trying to go after white Republican Governor, versus their own "folks."  Looks like one stepped forward to go under the bus. --Barb)

Worth Reading: PERFECT! By Col. Andy Weddington, USMC (Ret.)

These are the 25 worst passwords of 2015
“This may run contrary to traditional content, but I'd offer we all enjoy DISPATCHES and the lively exchange of topics and opinions by way of our Internet access. As with many complex issues, getting the fundamentals right sets the foundation for success. Unfortunately there are some fundamental Internet hygiene issues many folks still fail to grasp or simply ignore. The #1 target for hackers are the credentials we use to access our accounts. In many cases those credentials include a password, and far too often the passwords are simple and easily guessed. I'd hope this group not fall prey to such ignorance or negligence, but the following article offers a list of the 25 worst passwords for 2015…. Of note, the article that follows refers to 2 factor authentication (used by many financial systems), and password managers such as LastPass, KeyPass, etc..  2 factor authentication is a great layer of additional security. Password managers are certainly better than weak passwords, but are obvious targets have been known to be compromised as well….” --Dave

Ancient 'massacre' unearthed near Lake Turkana, Kenya
Excerpt: The 10,000-year-old remains of 27 people found west of Lake Turkana show that they met violent deaths. They were left to die there rather than being buried. Many experts have argued that conflict only came about as humans became more settled.

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