Excerpt: The first Gulf War forced the genocidal Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, but left him in power in Iraq, where he continued to murder thousands. Hussein's reign prompted 12 years of UN-sanctioned no-fly-zones, "oil for food" graft, on-off American bombing against his regime-and, of course, another war. Twelve years later, and after the disaster of 9/11, George W. Bush finally got rid of Saddam. But the cost was steep. America lost 4,516 soldiers to achieve a peace and consensual government by 2008-only to have Obama effectively relinquish control of the country to Iran and ISIS in 2011. Afghanistan is now a 16-year effort. The evolving aims and strategic objectives of the intervention are still not clear. It started simply enough: find Osama bin Laden and punish the Taliban regime that harbored him. But before too long, mission-creep set in; the objectives became nation-building and protecting reformist Afghans from the Islamists. Ever since the times of Alexander the Great, Afghanistan has been an elusive conquest. In the eyes of the embittered Macedonians, the British, and the modern Soviets, the landlocked, resource-poor, and factional country was never worth the blood and treasure necessary to secure anything outside a few major cities. Bill Clinton's two rounds of bombing in the Balkans is often said to have achieved its purpose of forcing Milosevic out of power and stopping mass killings. Some argue sanctions or Russian pressure more likely prompted the collapse of Milosevic's government. Either way, it's interesting that neither the UN Security Council nor Congress approved the intervention before the bombs fell. The Hillary Clinton/Susan Rice/Samantha Power triad engineered the 2011 bombing of Libya that took out the monstrous Gaddafi, who was, it should be said, warming to the West, having given up his WMD projects and terrorist sponsorship. The intervention avoided American losses and an occupation. Yet the needlessly punitive bombing attack turned Libya into a wasteland and a terrorist recruiting ground. Its logical denouement was the lethal Benghazi fiasco. Obama bombed without congressional approval and by subverting UN resolutions that limited action to no-fly-zones and humanitarian assistance. Given Obama's performance in Libya it is probably understandable why he did not enforce his red line in Syria.
Excerpt: Dean cites three court cases, and he mischaracterizes the decisions in all of them. The first case he references, Snyder v. Phelps, was an 8 to 1 decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church’s freedom to chant the horrible slogans and hold up the horrible banners it favors at a military funeral. If the church is free to protest at a military funeral, it makes no sense to argue that Ann Coulter is not free to give a speech at Berkeley. Dean is perhaps unknowingly citing a case that argues the reverse of his position. The second case Dean cites, Virginia v. Black, struck down a state law that deemed cross-burning a prima facie attempt at intimidation. The decision was complicated, with multiple justices concurring in part and dissenting in part, but its upshot was that if prosecutors wanted to charge someone with a crime for burning a cross, they had to prove that the cross-burner intended his action as a threat.
Excerpt: As a group, black Americans have made the greatest gains — over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time — of any racial group in mankind's history. What's the evidence? If one totaled up the earnings of black Americans and considered us as a separate nation with our own gross domestic product, we would rank among the 20 richest nations. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, who once headed the world's mightiest military. Black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities, and a few are among the world's richest people. The significance of these and other achievements is that at the end of the Civil War, neither a slave nor a slave owner would have believed such progress would be possible in a little over a century — if ever. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks to the greatness of a nation in which such gains were possible. Nowhere else on the face of the earth would such progress be possible except in the United States of America. The big and thorny issue that confronts our nation is how these gains can be extended to the one-third or more of the black population for whom they have proved elusive.
Excerpt: An elite, dysfunctional family, the influence of
wealth, the incompetence of police, the failure of the local newspaper, a
poorly functioning judiciary, the targeting of three innocent individuals, and
the sway of the Kennedys—all these elements form the tableau surrounding the
murder of Moxley. Despite the conviction of Michael Skakel in 2002, he has been
out on $1.2 million bail for the past four years. And some closest to the case
remain divided as to who the actual killer is. What we can say with 100 percent
certainty is that Michael and/or his older brother Tommy, with the possible
assistance of their cousin Jimmy Terrien—all of them nephews of Ethel
This is impressive. A truly enormous stockpile of weapons carefully acquired, some rebuilt, etc, to be ready for distribution in Europe to anyone with some money? With all the gun laws of Europe, it seems the really organized Al Queda and ISIS branches have no trouble getting weapons and explosives. There are always those entrepreneurs and fanatics who are more than happy to serve any market. I'm still shocked to see a collection like this one, which is enough to equip a large military unit or set up big guerilla groups in numerous locations. Like the assorted "no go" zones in Europe. Hopefully this will make more people conscious of the dangers they face, and the reaction to force their politicians to get off the PC train and start acting responsibly will grow. It seems to have started that way in France. --Del
Excerpt: Aid has resulted in remarkably few significant shifts in economic growth and poverty reduction. The truth is much of aid’s promise has come up empty. It is striking that the aid establishment has not dug deeper into the reasons why. It has not listened to four decades of trenchant critiques, many of them by insiders. Countless articles and at least thirty widely read books about aid (such as Michael Maren’s 1997 The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity, or William Easterly’s 2006 The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, or Dambisa Moyo’s 2009 Dead Aid), have pointed out that outsiders cannot “nation build,” that development must be led by the people in the poor countries themselves, that dependency has been one of the few tangible results of the trillions we have spent, that the complexity and the context-specific nature of each country’s politics, social structure, and culture cannot be easily understood by outsiders and thus the short term three to five year aid “project” is a wildly inappropriate vehicle for aid, and so on. Moreover, a number of highly respected historians and economists like David S. Landes and J.K. Galbraith have pointed out that aid simply cannot produce development… The main reason there is so little change is that aid has become an industry, and is rapidly moving towards what a present day Eisenhower might call an “aid-industrial complex,” an interlocking set of players (NGOs, government agencies, and private contractors, among others) who have largely closed off outside criticism and internal learning and become self-referential and entrenched. The main goal of this complex is to keep the money flowing…
Bonnie and I wet to see The Promise movie on Saturday. Excellent movie about a love triangle set against the backdrop of the Muslim Turks genocide of the Armenian Christians over 100 years ago. The Turks still refuse to admit the crime, though well documented. Well worth seeing.
Excerpt: ...with polls showing Mrs. Clinton holding a comfortable lead, Mr. Comey ended up plunging the F.B.I. into the molten center of a bitter election. Fearing the backlash that would come if it were revealed after the election that the F.B.I. had been investigating the next president and had kept it a secret, Mr. Comey sent a letter informing Congress that the case was reopened. What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. (As a general rule, I look at anything originating at the NYT as being just more liberal propaganda. This long, in depth article restores a little of my long lost respect for their ability to get information and report it in a non-partisan way. Were all of the NYT’s reporting this even-handed, I might even be tempted to give it back the respect I had for it in the early 60s. Alas, it would’ve been the exception even then, I’m afraid. This explanation of what happened and why seems to make sense. Read it for yourself. Ron P.)
Excerpt: Aviation students at Indiana State University will need a new teacher. That’s because Professor Azhar Hussain was arrested on Friday for making up an assault, and also anti-Muslims threats. Not only might he face prison time, but his employers have already distanced themselves from him.
Excerpt: During nearly three years spent shuttling between an Egyptian jail and a Cairo courtroom cage in a case dismissed by human rights groups as “bizarre,” Aya Hijazi's American citizenship did not seem to count for much. She was a dual national at a time when Egypt was gripped by the widest-ranging crackdown in its modern history. Her case had become a national scandal, cast by state media as a victory of law and order. And despite calls for her release, the Obama administration seemed to have little leverage with the Sissi regime to make it happen. But on Friday, she entered the White House as a free woman, having flown home on a U.S. government plane after being acquitted in a Cairo court. The court's decision came after months of backroom negotiations between the Trump administration and representatives of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.
Excerpt: You should apparently have 'privilege guilt' for being average looking. According to an article in the social-justice blog Everyday Feminism, being “physically average” is now another “privileged class.” In an article titled “3 Unfair Ways Being Perceived as Physically Average Privileges and Protects You,” Rebecca Lays explains that although the social-justice movement frequently discusses the privilege of the “idealized images we see in media,” “it’s not often that we unpack the concept of ‘average’ when it comes to physical appearance.” “The more ‘physically average’ I look, the more privilege I hold, and the easier it is for me to live in my community,” Lays writes. (I used to be "physically average, but I got old. Very old. ~Bob)
Excerpt: Ladies and gentlemen, we have to fight back. We cannot abide the assault on religious freedom by the left, because the victims of our losses will be our children. While many of us have enjoyed lives lived under the cloak of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, ideals that for most of our lives the Republicans AND the Democrats have defended. If we don’t fight back now, our children will not know the freedoms that we have known. (Wouldn't then LGBTQ be a gang symbol?~JB)
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's only 218
pages, but it's not light reading. It delves into the philosophy and history of
how civilized values like tolerance developed. He points out that there will
always be utterly ruthless groups--it's a powerful tool--seeking to impose some
fantasy ideology such as Fascism, Nazism, Communism or Jihadism and thus
destroy civilization. "Hagel's point is that violence is inevitable once
people set out to reshape the world according to their own ideals--ideals that
turn out to be nothing more than a kind on intellectual make-believe. The
resultant complex is a fantasy ideology, one in which those promoting this
complex will stop at nothing simply because they have convinced themselves that
they--and they alone--have been chosen to advance the ideals they hold
dear." P-141. Not an easy read, but an important one.
What is the most interesting part of this video are the several short interviews with Swedes at the very end, who deny there is any problem with immigrants, and don't believe there is any limit on the number of immigrants that Sweden can take in and support. Having listened to two experienced Swedish cops and a very experienced woman journalist about the reality, not to mention videos and recordings of violence by immigrants, one can only conclude that some of these people haven't just drunk the Kool-Aid, they are addicted to it. No mere facts and logic can make any dent at all in what they choose to believe. Sayonara, Sweden. If you have any urge to visit, do it soon, in 10 years it will not be the same, and in 20 it won't be Sweden. --Del
Excerpt: The gender pay gap in the United States starts early — with what you choose as your college major. Majors that tend to lead to higher-paying jobs are dominated by male college students and majors that feed into lower-paying jobs are dominated by women, Glassdoor found in a new report. "Because men and women systematically sort into different college majors, they experience different early career paths, which pay differently," Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain and senior data analyst Jyotsna Jayaraman wrote in their report. "These pay differences in turn reveal themselves as major contributors to the well-documented gap between male and female pay in the labor market."
The latest in a long line of takeovers of industrial operations by the government is the GM automotive plant, which joins the crowd of factories closed and expropriated by the maniacs over the past years. The link takes you to a detailed story on all this, but the bottom line is simple, they have been choking the golden goose of jobs and economic development right to death and even as the national economy is in utter chaos, continue to do more destruction. This is literally insanity, but the guys in charge just keep on rolling no matter what, and it seems like it will take complete destruction of all order and a lot of blood in the streets before anything has a chance of changing. Heaven help them. --Del
Excerpt: Annie Dookhan is not the first. She will not be the last. Dookhan, who in 2013 pleaded guilty to 27 criminal counts involving obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence, was a chemist employed by Massachusetts to test evidence in drug cases. She was involved in thousands of them, and she routinely falsified evidence. For example, she declared samples positive for drugs without testing them and forged colleagues’ signatures on reports. On Wednesday, Massachusetts announced that it was obliged to throw out 21,587 drug convictions secured with questionable evidence. (the continued erosion of integrity in our society. WEe can't survive without it. ~Bob)
Excerpt: Here is a very true fact that should not be controversial. The more closely aligned a candidate was with Donald Trump, the worse the candidate did in the special election in Georgia. It is not meant to be insulting. It is just true. It is not bashing the President or attacking his supporters to point it out. The sixth congressional district is a district of high income, highly educated suburban Republicans and those voters tend to be the least Trump supporting of all Republicans. That is a reality borne out in the race and it is one the GOP is going to need to be mindful of as they map out 2018.
This is a nicely done, fairly concise and eminently reasonable explanation of the problem. Again, the parallel is that it wasn't all Germans who were the problem in 1932, it was the fraction who were fanatic Nazis and who bought into the ideology of Hitler, but in the end, their domination of events caused all the horrors. It is not by any stretch all Muslims who are the problem today, but the fundamentalists who have become a very significant fraction of them and who believe totally in the full depth of Islam, that is controlling both spiritual and physical life completely and the requirement to take over the world, they have become an enormous problem. One which has been ignored and excused for decades now in the name of Western tolerance, a concept which they themselves reject for others. The kind of conditioning that goes on in many (but not all) mosques where Saudi trained imams and other leaders preach incessantly about how Islam must rule, Sharia must dominate, and that assimilation is NOT what real Muslims do, brings on increasing levels of people who are by our standards radicalized. Lack of strong reaction to these problems and the de facto acceptance of "special zones", violent protests, mass prayer in public streets, car burnings, etc, and the police holding back from the kind of direct and forceful response that is needed to discourage such behavior, only assures a continual descent into ever greater difficulties. I don't know how all of this will work out, but it's hard to envision any positive solutions, and easy to conceive of any number of very negative things coming to pass sooner or later. Hopefully we in the USA will learn enough to avoid such here. -Del
Excerpt: HANOI, Vietnam — Villagers in Vietnam’s capital on Monday were holding more than 30 people, most of them policemen, over a land dispute in a rare defiance of the communist government. The standoff began over the weekend in My Duc, a district of Hanoi, when police clashed with villagers who allege their land was illegally seized for sale by a military-run telecommunications firm. Some villagers were arrested. (We can only pray they don't send in cops with weapons, and that in the end, the villagers' legitimate complaints are dealt with fairly for once. It'd be a great start. --Del)
Excerpt: Virulently anti-Trump professors -- by which I mean "most professors" -- feel pretty invincible. After all, when a video recently surfaced of a professor comparing the election of Trump to a terrorist attack, the student filming it got punished. So imagine Fresno State professor Lars Maischak's surprise last week when his tweet demanding President Trump be hung was reported to law enforcement by Fresno State's president: (Wow, we've got a professor who is just reveling in hatefulness, wants Trump to be hanged ASAP, and Republicans executed on a 2 for1 basis for any people being deported. Apparently for any reason, so deporting the illegal who's committed violent crimes against innocent citizens still counts better than two GOP lives. Any time I think we may have hit bottom with these maniacs, they prove me to be too naive. One has to wonder what students get from the kind of professors we're seeing so much of. But it doesn't bode well for the future of the nation. --Del)
Excerpt: A new book reveals that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was way more dysfunctional than we realized. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, the new book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, is absolutely gripping reading, chock full of juicy, revelatory reporting about the Democratic nominee’s campaign that you really wish you had read during the actual campaign. Alas, Allen and Parnes had to agree to save their best material for the book in order to receive the extraordinary access they were given. The authors are blunt about how what they observed of Team Clinton behind the scenes was completely different from what most of the public saw: Over the course of a year and a half, in interviews with more than one hundred subjects, we started to piece together a picture that was starkly at odds with the narrative the campaign and the media were portraying publicly. Hillary’s campaign was so spirit-crushing that her aides eventually shorthanded the feeling of impending doom with a simple mantra: We’re not allowed to have nice things.
Excerpt: The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, and says the U.S. has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program. However, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods," Tillerson wrote. He said the National Security Council-led interagency review of the agreement will evaluate whether it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States."
Social Security is not exactly an entitlement, since the vast majority of people on it have paid into it all their lives. Medicare is not exactly a total giveway program either. But these two programs are the real biggies in the budget, and with the changes in how long people live and how expensive medical costs are once past age 65, both need to be reworked seriously. The ratio of people collecting to those paying in is now way out of adjustment, and ignoring that is part fiscal mismanagement. But it will take real courage and leadership for Congress to address the situation, and lately, those two characteristics are in very short supply there. --Del
Telling It Like It Is About Social Security. By Charles Blahous
Excerpt: Many voters have said during this election season that they want a president who "tells it like it is." At the March 10 Republican presidential debate, the candidates were given an opportunity for such candor when the politically treacherous subject of Social Security was raised. With Social Security, "telling it like it is" requires recognition of several difficult realities including the following ones. #1: Social Security faces a large and growing financing shortfall. According to the latest trustees' report, Social Security faces a financing gap roughly equal to 21 percent of its scheduled tax collections or 16 percent of scheduled benefits over its 75-year actuarial valuation window. Even corrections of this large magnitude would produce only a temporary solvency finding, leaving program finances on an unstable course such that the shortfall would begin to re-emerge the very next year after the fix. Correcting the program's total structural shortfall would require larger adjustments, equal to roughly 33 percent of scheduled taxes or 23 percent of scheduled benefits.
Excerpt: Fat Leonard himself specialized in plying officers of the Seventh Fleet with cigars, liquor, pricey wristwatches, concert tickets, vacations, and other gifts—not to mention five-star dinners and suites in luxury hotels, often with prostitutes as an added bonus. In return, these officers threw business to GDMA, which then overbilled the U.S. government to the tune of several tens of millions of dollars. Scores of serving naval officers became Fat Leonard’s de facto agents in this sleazy enterprise. According to an investigative report in the Washington Post, “Francis doled out sex and money to a shocking number of people in uniform who fed him classified material about U.S. warship and submarine movements. …. He exploited the intelligence for illicit profit, brazenly ordering his moles to redirect aircraft carriers to ports he controlled in Southeast Asia so he could more easily bilk the Navy for fuel, tugboats, barges, food, water and sewage removal.” As of last year, 30 U.S. Navy admirals on active duty were under investigation for their suspected involvement in this conspiracy. That investigation, which dates from 2010, continues. Earlier this week, authorities arrested Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, a recently retired Navy intelligence officer, along with four retired Navy captains and a retired Marine colonel. Previously three other admirals had been censured and forced to retire. Another has pled guilty to related charges, as have several officers of lesser rank. Almost certainly, there will be further indictments forthcoming. (Yes, guys acting stupidly and posting intimate photos of women that were supposed to be private is very low class, and they deserve to be called out for it and strongly reminded that grown men of even reasonable mental maturity don't act this way. (And let's be fair, the women handing these images out need to rethink the wisdom of such actions, and either give it up or be ready for whatever happens.) But it ain't exactly a world ending mess. Flag officers selling out information and giving away overpriced contracts because of nice little benefits ranging from bottles of expensive Scotch to free time with lovely ladies, now that IS serious, very, very serious. Everyone who can be proven (let's hold back on the overly broad witch hunt, please) to have participated in this needs to be publicly humiliated and seriously penalized. From reduction in rank to prison time, whatever their actual actions were bad enough to justify. They must be seen to be dishonored, disgraced, and betrayers of their trust as servants of the nation. The concept of honor needs to be reinforced, heavily, not as some oldfashioned mythical notion, but as an absolutely real and critical part of military service. (And perhaps even for public service, although for most politicians today the concept of honor hardly exists at all.) --Del)