Friday, March 12, 2010

Political Digest March 12, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Sorry for no digest yesterday. Traveling and unable to get on line—which meant over 300 e-mails today at my three accounts. Had to delete many without reading. I really appreciate those folks who send me new items they find on news sitesas opposed to forwarding stuff that’s been floating around the net for months—or years.

Artificial Stupidity by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: A woman with a petition went among the crowds attending a state fair, asking people to sign her petition demanding the banning of dihydroxymonoxide. She said it was in our lakes and streams, and now it was in our sweat and urine and tears. She collected hundreds of signatures to ban dihydroxymonoxide -- a fancy chemical name for water. A couple of comedians were behind this ploy. But there is nothing funny about its implications. It is one of the grim and dangerous signs of our times. This little episode revealed how conditioned we have become, responding like Pavlov's dog when we hear a certain sound-- in this case, the sound of some politically correct crusade.

Dan Rather Apologizes For 'Watermelons' Comment,2933,588755,00.html
Rather was plain wrong to suggest that Obama couldn’t sell watermelons. After all, as Harry Reid pointed out, Obama is light-skinned and doesn’t have a Negro dialect. He should do fine selling any product. Used cars come to mind.

5 face voter fraud charges
ACORN workers charged with vote fraud? I’m shocked, shocked. I mean, the President himself worked closely with that organization. Next some nut will claim they assist tax fraud and under age prostitution.

'Hurt Locker' Producers Sued by U.S. Army Soldier
Excerpt: Those named in the suit include 'Locker' director Kathryn Bigelow, distributor Summit Entertainment and screenwriter Mark Boal. The lawsuit alleges that Boal, working as a journalist, spent time embedded in a bomb-dismantling unit with Sarver in Iraq, which Boal then turned into a 2005 article for Playboy. That article was later adapted to become the script for 'The Hurt Locker.' The suit also alleges that Sarver himself coined the term "the hurt locker." (Hummmm. Lot of guys will testify the term “Hurt Locker” has long standing from at least Vietnam. Anyone says different, I’ll smack him in the snot locker….)

Harvey’s mayor in line to also be its schools chief,0,5834888.story
Welcome to a poor town in Cook County, where the living is easy. Excerpt: Mayor Eric Kellogg had to like his chances when Harvey Public School District 152 voted to select a new superintendent. Of the school board members who voted 4-2 for Kellogg to lead the district, one is his sister, one is his cousin and two are on the city payroll, working under Kellogg. The board did not conduct a search or interview for a successor to Supt. Lela Bridges, who is retiring in June. Instead, board members tapped Kellogg as "superintendent designate." For seven years he has led south suburban Harvey, an impoverished city of 30,000 plagued by crime, scandal and red ink. "If I were a voter in Harvey, I would be very concerned with those conflicts of interest," said David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. Kellogg, 54, is poised to take over one of the poorest districts in the state. Nearly 96 percent of the 2,600 students in the elementary school district are low-income, Illinois school report card data show. Kellogg could be in line for a hefty pay raise, though he has not been offered a superintendent contract. He makes nearly $107,000 a year as District 152 assistant superintendent, while Bridges makes $202,000 a year. Kellogg also makes nearly $60,000 a year as mayor and has a $30,000 expense allowance.

New Message to Obama From We The People

The Che iPhone App
You knew it was coming. Well, now you can carry around Che Guevara's quotes on your iPhone -- as just announced by the good folks at iPhone! Alas, many of us, though not customer of this unquestionably hip product, suspect that most of Che Guevara's hippest quotes are missing from this hippest of iPhones. Among those we fear were overlooked: "My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood...Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any surrendered enemy that falls in my hands! With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!" (From Che's own diaries, later immortalized as The Motorcycles Diaries, though we note that executive producer Robert Redford "overlooked" this unquestionably dramatic citation for his movie.) "Hatred as the central element of our struggle!...Hatred that is intransigent....Hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold- blooded killing machine...We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow!... The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we'll destroy him! These hyenas (Americans) are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!" (thus spake the icon of flower-children)

Emperor Obama and the Kamikaze House Democrats
Excerpt: "I am not going on this mission for the Emperor or for the Empire...I am going because I was ordered to." These words were spoken by one of Japan's first kamikaze pilots, Lieutenant Yukio Seki, after being compelled to volunteer for a suicide mission. Though apprehensive, the pilot maintained the insight to comprehend that "Japan's future was pale if it was forced to kill one of its best pilots." So it is in Washington, D.C. as a "divine wind" blows through the nation's capital. Although in the majority, Democrats are experiencing decreased capacity to successfully wage political war. Disregarding plummeting polls and lost elections, which comprise a formidable opposing armada amassing on the horizon; Barack Obama remains resolute in his reluctance to surrender. During WWII, Takijiro Onishi, Vice-Admiral of the Japanese Navy, faced down a huge invasion in the Philippines. Anticipating crushing defeat, Onishi requested that the suicide Thunder God Corps be utilized as a tactic to assure that Japanese bombs made contact with American warships. Human being-guided, bomb-laden aircraft on a volatile suicide collision with enemy targets is a tactic that bomb-thrower Obama may employ if he passes health care reform by detonating the "nuclear option" of reconciliation. Presently, when it comes to health care reform, the future of the Democrat Party is as pale as Japan's ability to prevail with a hundred operational aircraft confronted by an American flotilla. In response, Obama has decided to implement a similar last-ditch effort in an attempt to "snatch victory from the jaws of defeat." Under the command of Emperor Obama, and in an attempt to avoid a rout, Democrats are being coercively recruited to take part in assault death units. What's the mission? Prevail in the president's policy war -- even if it costs political lives. For a year now, winning the health care reform battle has been a difficult hit-or-miss undertaking for Obama. Blue Dog Democrats and conservative Representatives in the House and Senate, aware that constituents are opposed to the cost and control aspects of the sweeping health care reform bill, resist supporting Obama's legislation. Thus the war drags on and on as Democrats portend the scope of defeat. As a result, Emperor Obama has requested that Democrats transform themselves into health care reform "smart bombs," sacrificing all for the cause.

House vote pressures ethics to probe Dem leaders on Massa
Excerpt: The House voted Thursday to have the ethics panel consider an investigation into what Democratic leaders knew of allegations of sexual harassment against former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.). Only two members cast votes against the resolution, which came up after GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) offered a privileged resolution to ask ethics to open an investigation.
Boehner's resolution asks that the ethics panel look into what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and other Democratic leaders and staffers knew about allegations of sexual harassment against Massa, and when they became aware of the situation. Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) called to end debate on Boehner's resolution, and then to vote to send it to the ethics committee.

House Democrats' 'no' votes are piling up on healthcare reform
Excerpt: More than two dozen Democrats are expected to vote against the healthcare reform bill that will hit the House floor in the coming weeks. At least 25 House Democrats will reject the healthcare reform legislation, according to a survey by The Hill, a review of other media reports and interviews with lawmakers, aides and lobbyists. Dozens of House Democrats are undecided or won't comment on their position on the measure. The 25 opposed include firm "no" votes and members who are likely "no" votes. Most Democrats on The Hill's whip list are definitely going to vote no, but others, such as Reps. Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Harry Teague (N.M.), could vote yes.

Nearly $3 Trillion in Tax Increases
Excerpt: When he released his new budget proposal on February 1, President Barack Obama asserted that the government "simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences; as if waste doesn't matter; as if the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like Monopoly money; as if we can ignore this challenge for another generation." Yet the President's new budget does exactly that -- raising taxes by $3 trillion and federal spending by $1.6 trillion over the next ten years. If enacted, this budget would increase the 2010 deficit to more than $1.5 trillion, and leave a deficit of more than $1 trillion even after an assumed return to peace and prosperity. Overall, the President's budget would double the national debt over the next decade, says Brian M. Riedl, an economist with the Heritage Foundation. President Obama's budget would: Permanently expand the federal government by 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over 2007 pre-recession levels. Raise taxes on all Americans by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade. Raise taxes for 3.2 million small businesses and upper-income taxpayers by an average of $300,000 over the next decade. Borrow 42 cents for each dollar spent in 2010. Run a $1.6 trillion deficit in 2010--$143 billion higher than the recession-driven 2009 deficit. Leave permanent deficits that top $1 trillion as late as 2020. Dump an additional $74,000 per household of debt into the laps of our children and grandchildren. Double the publicly held national debt to over $18 trillion.

Politics, shaky economy create no rush to restructure Fannie and Freddie
Remember how the Democrats assured us there was no problems at Fannie and Freddie and those programs wouldn’t cost taxpayers a nickel? Excerpt: The federal government has spent the past half year seeking to roll back its emergency efforts at propping up the financial markets -- with the notable exception of its involvement in mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As the government has pledged more and more money to cover the companies' losses, it has assured the public that planning was underway for overhauling the firms so the bailouts would end. As recently as December, the Obama administration said it expected to release a preliminary report on how to remake Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac around Feb. 1.

Hot Flashes, Dead Bugs, and Cocaine for Monkeys: The 10 Worst Federal Stimulus Projects in North Carolina
Your tax dollars at work—makes a guy proud. Excerpt: Prior to signing his federal “stimulus” bill in early 2009, President Obama warned, “If we do not move swiftly to sign (the act) into law, an economy that is already in crisis will be faced with catastrophe.” Here in North Carolina, Governor Perdue similarly declared that we were “facing the consequences of the national economic crisis,” and that failure to pass the stimulus bill would “jeopardize the education of our children and the health care of our citizens.” She further noted that the stimulus will help “create jobs, stimulate the economy, and provide relief to North Carolina's families.” One year later, the debate over the stimulus bill’s effectiveness rages on. A close inspection of stimulus grants and contracts awarded to North Carolina reveals a rather questionable strategy for the disbursement of stimulus funds. Many projects seem completely unrelated to avoiding an economic “catastrophe,” but rather an ad hoc satisfaction of countless dubious wish lists.

The Mystery of Healthcare Policy
Excerpt: Who would you put in charge of the investigation? Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple? Or the person most likely to have committed the heinous crime? Believe it or not, in health care we are about to do the latter. Writing in Health Affairs, Ken Thorpe and his colleagues offer a description of the current phase of the problem: Medicare beneficiaries’ medical needs, and where beneficiaries undergo treatment, have changed dramatically over the past two decades. Twenty years ago, most spending growth was linked to intensive inpatient (hospital) services, chiefly for heart disease. Recently, much of the growth has been attributable to chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and kidney disease. These conditions are chiefly treated not in hospitals but in outpatient settings and by patients at home with prescription drugs. So how are we dealing with this challenge? Poorly. More than half of beneficiaries are treated for five or more chronic conditions each year, and a typical Medicare beneficiary sees two primary care physicians and five specialists working in four different practices. System fragmentation means that chronically ill patients receive episodic care from multiple providers who rarely coordinate the care they deliver. Because of this structural deficiency, patients with chronic illnesses receive only 56 percent of clinically recommended medical care. That gap in care may explain a nontrivial portion of morbidity and excess mortality. Now before moving on, let’s note that Prof. Thorpe is a long-time adviser to Democrats on health care issues. The reason that’s interesting is that the solution preferred by the entire left wing of the Democratic Party is to force everybody into Medicare (single-payer solution) and the only solution Democratic moderates have proposed is demonstration projects run by Medicare (ObamaCare)! I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but isn’t this like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of the SEC? Although these reformers often call themselves “progressives,” they are really reactionaries. Their model for the future is the failed system of the past.

New GOP heavyweight takes a few political punches from Dems
Excerpt: Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) is taking his first big political punches from Democrats, a sign that the rising GOP star has graduated to the heavyweight division. The 40-year-old Ryan, with barely a speck of gray in his jet-black hair, has emerged as a talking point for President Barack Obama and a potential presidential contender for Republicans. His plan to balance the federal budget with a mix of proposals to partially privatize Medicare and Social Security has become Democrats’ piñata. By attacking Ryan, Democrats can rally support for healthcare reform and neutralize a lawmaker whose name appears on GOP shortlists for 2012 and 2016. While Democrats are swinging, Republican leaders are backing away and letting Ryan take the hits. “It wasn’t my intention to be thrust in the middle of all of this,” Ryan said in a sit-down interview with The Hill. “Now that they’re trying to elevate it, fine. It gives me a better platform to bring this debate to the American people.” The attacks have raised the profile of the young congressman, already in his sixth House term and now the ranking member on the House Budget Committee and a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. With the attention has come increased scrutiny, which insiders expect him to face for years to come, either in the House or a higher office.

On health-care reform, Republicans target Democrats' division over reconciliation
Excerpt: As Republicans work to prevent a health-care bill from reaching President Obama, they are scrambling to exploit divisions between Democrats in the House and the Senate. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned House Democrats that they would be taking a colossal risk if they approved the Senate's version of health-care legislation before the Senate had acted to remove some of the bill's most contentious provisions. Now that Democrats have lost their supermajority in the Senate, some variation of this delicate two-step process is the only way a health-care reform bill can become law. "House Democrats will have to decide whether they want to trust the Senate to fix their political problems," McConnell said. He listed perks that Senate Democrats won for Nebraska, Louisiana, Florida and labor unions; House members insist that all must be removed through a separate "fixes" bill under special budget reconciliation rules. "They will be voting, when they pass the Senate bill, to endorse the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Gator-aid, the closed-door deal, the special deal for the unions, which may or may not bother any Democrats, I don't know," McConnell said.

As a progressive, Obama hews to the Wilsonian tradition
I’d hate to see what an un-timid progressive would do to us! Excerpt: There are legislative miles to go before the government will be emancipated from its health-care myopia, but it is not too soon for a summing-up. Whether all or nothing of the legislation becomes law, Barack Obama has refuted critics who call him a radical. He has shown himself to be a timid progressive. His timidity was displayed when he flinched from fighting for the boldness the nation needs -- a transition from the irrationality of employer-provided health insurance. His progressivism is an attitude of genteel regret about the persistence of politics. Employer-paid insurance is central to what David Gratzer of the Manhattan Institute calls "the 12 cent problem." That is how much of every health-care dollar is spent by the person receiving the care. Hence Americans' buffet mentality: We paid at the door to the health-care feast, so let's consume all we can. John McCain had the correct prescription for health care during the 2008 campaign. He proposed serious change -- taxing employer-provided health care as what it indisputably is, compensation, and giving tax credits, including refundable ones, for individuals to purchase insurance. Instead, as the legislative endgame plods toward us on leaden feet, the sprawling bills would subsidize insurance purchases for families of four earning almost $100,000 a year, a redundant reminder of unseriousness about the nation's fiscal mismanagement.

Barack Obama is now a social pariah and most Democrats and he knows it.
Excerpt: Here’s a dirty little secret in American politics. A lot of the reporters who cover politics don’t know the first thing about politics. They cannot read the tea leaves. They do not know how. They do not even try. That is why men like Larry Sabato, Chuck Todd, etc. have become so prominent. It is not hard to figure things out, but a lot of reporters are lazy. They need the story spoon fed to them. There is a massive story out there right now and the political reporters have totally missed it. Let me spoon feed them and educate everyone in the process. Barack Obama has become the first major Democrat to admit, though tacitly, the Democrats are screwed in 2010. All you have to do is look to Missouri

Monthly deficit hits $220 billion, highest in U.S. history
Excerpt: What’s left to say at this point? All I can do is try to contextualize this for you: According to CBO, based on an analysis of the deeply deceitful numbers presented to it by Reid and Obama, the national panacea of health-care reform will save us $132 billion over the next 10 years. Which means the feds blew through our big decade-long ObamaCare refund in about … 17 days last month.

Putting the census right
Excerpt: I, too, was reassured via a multi lingual letter from the cash strapped, government postal system that next week an envelope bearing the mandated census form will arrive. This was in addition to the second rate--but extremely expensive--census alert ad, sandwiched between some clever ones, during Super Bowl. Properly alerted, the next question is how to reply? Mark Krikorian, writing in National Review Online , plans on answering the intrusive--and most likely illegal--census questions about race/ethnicity the way I usually do. Rejecting the tempting idea of messing up the census by lying, he suggests answering the question about the person's race by checking the last option - "Some other race" - and writing in "American." It's a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes. In fact, "American" was the plurality ancestry selection for respondents to the 2000 census in four states and several hundred counties. So remember: Question 9 - "Some other race" - "American". Pass it on. An alternative answer used since high school: the sappy, but accurate, human (race). (I’m thinking of putting Celtic, Scottish or maybe Marine under “Race” myself.)

Is Health Care a Right?
Excerpt: Most politicians, and probably most Americans, see health care as a right. Thus, whether a person has the means to pay for medical services or not, he is nonetheless entitled to them. Let's ask ourselves a few questions about this vision. Say a person, let's call him Harry, suffers from diabetes and he has no means to pay a laboratory for blood work, a doctor for treatment and a pharmacy for medication. Does Harry have a right to XYZ lab's and Dr. Jones' services and a prescription from a pharmacist? And, if those services are not provided without charge, should Harry be able to call for criminal sanctions against those persons for violating his rights to health care? You say, "Williams, that would come very close to slavery if one person had the right to force someone to serve him without pay." You're right.

Obama Stimulating a Marxist Revolution Using Taxpayer Funds
Your tax dollars at work. Excerpt. A Marxist group that has demanded the “destruction” of the U.S. and issued a call "to bring this Government down," is the recipient of stimulus funds from the Obama American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This same group, The Brecht Forum, has also called for the complete takeover of insurance companies and farms in America.
The controversial stimulus bill, as it is better known, provided funds for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), which promptly granted New York City based The Brecht Forum $5,000 in 2009 and $9,000 in 2010. The NYSCA had previously announced in 2008 that due to state budget cuts it would no longer be able to fund 573 organizations that it had previously funded. One of the groups on the list to be slashed was The Brecht Forum. After securing funds from the stimulus bill in the amount of $399,000, The Brecht Forum was once again funded by NYSCA. The Brecht Forum is host to the New York Marxist School and displays this statement on their website: Can society be changed significantly for the better? What kind of changes would be needed? and, Who could bring about such changes? Questions like these are what motivated Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels to develop a method for studying the dynamics of change in societies.

Army Paper Prompts Look at Combat Gear
From a Marine Vietnam vet: Gee, it turns out a 5.56mm carbine isn't quite the thing for long distance shooting, which is what happens a good deal of the time in the broad areas of Afghanistan. Who wudda thunk it? And wow, they are bringing back more M-14 rifles because it seems they might be more effective in that environment. What a surprise. Oh well, better late than never. –Del. Excerpt: Ehrhart wrote that despite the fact that 50 percent of Army engagements in Afghanistan occur with the enemy attacking at 300 meters or beyond, the majority of Soldiers are trained to fire their M4 carbines accurately to 200 meters, and more than 80 percent of Joes in an infantry company are equipped with weapons that can't touch the enemy beyond that range. The enemy in Afghanistan, Ehrhart writes, "engages United States forces from high ground with medium and heavy weapons, often including mortars, knowing that we are restricted by our equipment limitations and the inability of our overburdened soldiers to maneuver at elevations exceeding 6000 feet." The weapon systems that can engage the enemy in Afghanistan effectively beyond 200 meters "represent 19 percent of the company's firepower," he adds. "This is unacceptable."

What's Arabic for "You're No Atticus Finch"?
Excerpt: A group of "leading conservative lawyers" -- a phrase never confused with "U.S. Marines" -- has produced an embarrassingly pompous letter denouncing Liz Cheney for demanding the names of attorneys at the Justice Department who formerly represented Guantanamo detainees. The letter calls Cheney's demand "shameful," before unleashing this steaming pile of idiocy: "The American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients is at least as old as John Adams' representation of the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre." Yes, but even John Adams didn't take a job with the government for another 19 years after defending the British guards -- who, in 1770, were "the police." He also didn't take a position with the U.S. government that involved processing British murder suspects. I'd be more interested in hearing about the sacred duty of lawyers to defend "unpopular clients" if we were talking about clients who are unpopular with anyone lawyers know.

'JihadJane' indictment alleges threat from within U.S.
Why doesn’t anyone tell all these violent converts that Islam is a Religion of Peace? Excerpt: Reporting from Washington — Using e-mail, YouTube videos, phony travel documents and a burning desire to kill "or die trying," a middle-aged American woman from Pennsylvania helped recruit a network for suicide attacks and other terrorist strikes in Europe and Asia, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Terrorism: Defining a Tactic
Excerpt: In another previous attack, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire at a troop processing facility at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people. While many government officials are denying that these incidents were terrorist acts, we at STRATFOR disagree. Arguments used to not classify these attacks as terrorism include the failure to generate large numbers of casualties, a lack of foreign ties and the absence of a larger conspiracy. This dismissal of terrorism as a factor in these attacks ultimately has a long-term impact on past and future investigations, and it also seems to ignore the legal definition, as set out in Title VIII, Section 802 of the USA PATRIOT Act: [An] act of terrorism means any activity that (A) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; and (B) appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping.

Teacher attacked after al-Qaeda comments
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. Excerpt: A 15-year-old French schoolboy sprayed a teacher with teargas after she described al-Qaeda as a "terrorist group", she told reporters on Tuesday as prosecutors began their investigation. "I had just explained that the attacks on September 11, 2001 were carried out by the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda, as is written in the text book," said the history teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He stood up and declared that al-Qaeda is not terrorist and that neither is the Taliban," she said, adding that the boy had then pulled out a spray can and doused her and a teaching assistant with teargas.

Would-be jihad murderer a heroine in Pakistan, hailed by Prime Minister as a "daughter of the nation"
Excerpt: Tiny Minority of Extremists Update: Aafia Siddiqui is a heroine in Pakistan. One would think that if the vast majority of Muslims there rejected the ideology of Al-Qaeda, as Charles Krauthammer and so many others assume they do, she would not have attained this exalted status. "U.S. Sees a Terror Threat; Pakistanis See a Heroine," by Salman Masood and Carlotta Gall for the New York Times, March 5

Saddam Hussein weighed nuclear 'package' deal in 1990
Excerpt: As troops massed on his border near the start of the Persian Gulf War, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein weighed the purchase of a $150 million nuclear "package" deal that included not only weapons designs but also production plants and foreign experts to supervise the building of a nuclear bomb, according to documents uncovered by a former U.N. weapons inspector.

Drones and Terrorism
Excerpt: Combat drones are much in the news these days. Such weapons constitute the major current focus of effort against organized jihadi terrorism, with nearly weekly strikes carried out in the unassimilated areas of northern Pakistan and the Taliban-occupied districts of Afghanistan, along with less frequent strikes elsewhere. Drones have compiled an impressive record, taking out a number of high-ranking al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, many of whom likely believed that they were perfectly safe until that persistent whining sound started getting louder. The MQ-1 Predator has achieved the status of legend, with the MQ-9 Reaper not far behind. New models, such as the so-called Beast of Kandahar, evidently a high-speed stealth model, are beginning to enter combat. The armed drone is peculiarly suited to the purposes of the Obama administration. Liberals like military gimmicks (does anyone recall the McNamara Line?), particularly if they allow for a standoff form of fighting that can be presented as the lowest level of involvement. In this sense, the combat drone campaign is the millennial version of Rolling Thunder, the limited air campaign against North Vietnam during the mid-'60s. Though considerably more successful, the drone strikes (notice there's no catchy name that can provide a hanger for criticism) fill the same purpose of acting as a replacement for more decisive action.

Isfahan: Protestant clergyman tortured for “converting Muslims”
Excerpt: A protestant clergyman, Wilson Issavi, has been jailed for “converting Muslims”. He has been tortured and threatened with execution. According to the Farsi Christian Network, Issavi’s wife, Medline Nazanin, recently visited her husband in prison. She said that he was in poor health and that he bore visible signs of torture.

Somalia: Islamic supremacists ban English and science classes in schools
Excerpt: As the caliph Umar is supposed to have said when ordering the library of Alexandria to be burned: "If the books agree with the Qur'an, they are superfluous. If they disagree with it, they are heretical." Sharia Alert from the Horn of Africa: "Somali Islamist rebels ban English, science lessons," by Sahra Abdi for Reuters, March 5 (thanks to Twostellas): NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somalia's hardline Islamists have banned English and science studies in schools in the southern Afmadow town after the education centers there ignored the rebels' call for fighters, residents and teachers say.

Great Quote
“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." –Nancy Pelosi, March 9, 2009. Since the Obama bill is not in print, I suppose this makes sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment