Monday, May 17, 2010

Political Digest May 17, 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. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.
Worth Reading. War of persuasion: The modern U.S. officer emerges in Afghanistan
Excerpt: Lt. Col. Robert B. Brown could hear the fear in his 24-year-old lieutenant's voice on the patchy radio. "We have enemy inside the wire. It is really bad here," 1st Lt. Andrew Bundermann said. "We need those [expletive] birds now." Just before 6 a.m., more than 300 insurgents launched a massive attack on Bundermann's remote outpost in the Kamdesh district of northeastern Afghanistan. By 6:30 three of Bundermann's soldiers were dead, and the Apache attack helicopters he desperately wanted weren't going to arrive for another half hour. Brown, who was at his base about 30 miles away, grabbed the radio handset from one of his sergeants. "You are going to be all right," the 41-year-old officer told his young lieutenant. "We are going to get you as much help as possible." Bundermann made a wrenching decision. Unable to control the entire outpost, he ordered his remaining troops to collapse around a small cluster of its 23 buildings. Twelve of his 53 soldiers, pinned down by heavy enemy fire beyond those inner defenses, would have to fight on their own until the attack helicopters arrived. One was a 21-year-old soldier from Loudoun County, who had been wounded in his leg and hip. Bleeding, he crawled on his elbows behind the base's latrine for protection. "Help me," Spec. Stephan L. Mace called out to his fellow soldiers. "Help me, please." … After the Kamdesh battle, an insurgent leader known as Mullah Sadiq sent word to Brown that he wanted to drive his more radical Taliban rivals from the area around the Keating outpost. Sadiq, who had been on U.S. kill-or-capture lists for five years, needed money and Brown's help brokering a peace deal with Afghan government officials in Kabul. The offer was Brown's chance to ensure his eight soldiers didn't die in vain. "We don't think Sadiq is a Jeffersonian Democrat," Brown wrote of Sadiq in a February e-mail from Forward Operating Base Bostick in Naray. "But he is rallying public support to the Afghan government and against the Taliban. . . . And frankly, that may be good enough."

Tuesday's primaries could provide early answers for election year
Excerpt: An angry electorate, which already has delivered a series of shocks to the political system, will render a fresh verdict on Washington, incumbency and both party establishments in a slate of high-stakes contests Tuesday that are shaping up to form one of the most important voting days of the year. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) could be the next incumbent to fall, but by late Tuesday night, everyone from President Obama to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could feel the sting of voter anger that has shaped the election climate and that could produce a dramatic upheaval in Congress by November.

Conservative thinkers tout three innovative and controversial proposals
Excerpt: Billboards advertising the importance of marriage. Shifting coverage of the elderly from Medicare to private insurance companies. Big tax cuts specifically for parents. Conservative thinkers are touting those bold ideas and others in journals, op-ed pages and blogs. While the "tea party" movement has dominated public attention, small blocs of Republicans have quietly spent the past year crafting policies on a wide range of issues, looking to build support if the GOP regains control of Congress or the presidency. Many of these ideas won't appear in the GOP's platform anytime soon, because they lack broad agreement within the party. And Republican lawmakers plan to spend most of their time ahead of this fall's election attacking Democrats instead of pushing new policy ideas, a view conservative thinkers acknowledge is politically wise

'The Un-Obama' doesn't run with the GOP pack,0,6249981.column
Excerpt: What separates Daniels from other Republicans is his attitude toward the populist tea party movement. He doesn't want to tame the tea party. He doesn't want to own it. He wants to keep a respectful distance. He agrees with the ideas expressed by this amazing gathering of independents, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans who are worried about the federal debt and the federal leviathan growing by the hour "But the tea party must be authentically separate and spontaneous, which I think it is," Daniels said. "I have carefully stayed away from it — not because I don't appreciate what they are doing, because I do — but because I don't want them tainted by too close of a relationship to either party. "By being independent they have gotten the attention of their fellow citizens in a way that the existing parties, the Republican Party, let's just say, doesn't. I think it's been very constructive. I've said a little creative hell-raising on behalf of freedom is a good thing," Daniels said.

Why Conservatives Love the Founders
Excerpt: A Salon writer wonders, "What's the conservative fetish with the Founding Fathers?" It's because we read history, my sadly ignorant friend. So did the Founders. History is full of Obamas, and the people who idolized such power-hungry self-glorifying narcissists. The Founders understood human history in their very bones, because they read history from the Bible to the Roman Empire, Europe's bloody and tyrannical history, and the Americas. If you want to understand Obama, just look at any idolized hero in Latin America: Chavez, Fidel, Bolivar, Juan Peron. Look at European monarchs. Look at Napoleon. They are all the famous Man on Horseback, the hero of the hour who instantly turns into a tyrant. Even today Latin America is bedeviled by its own Obamas, who all demand to be idolized and worshipped. Obamas are a dime a dozen. The Founders knew about abuse of power by arrogant and ignorant narcissists, over and over again in human history. They read it in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. They read it in the Book of Kings, where you can find out all about Saddam Hussein, because the politics of the Middle East hasn't changed much. They saw it in the Middle East of their day, which was full of clan tyrannies and immense cruelty. Arab slavers were still raiding Britain when the Founders proclaimed the Declaration of Independence. They read it in Plutarch's Lives of the Ceasars. They read it in the history of Athens, torn between bloody factions, and constantly raising new Obamas to power. You see, all you Salonistas, the Founders were profoundly educated people. They were passionate believers in the Enlightenment. They understood the role of free speech, free thought, free political debate, and free trade. They saw the benefits of freedom in their own lives. The Founders knew about slavery in the South, and they were deeply ashamed of it. But unlike contemporary liberals, who are massively ignorant of everything but their navels, they also knew that slavery was the norm in the British Royal Navy, for example, which recruited its sailors by force, using press gangs in London and other port cities. The British Navy also kidnapped American sailors.

Fake Tea Party Run by Democrats in Michigan Trying to Become official Third Party!
Excerpt: This isn't even AstroTurf. It is outright political fraud. Fearful of the tea party movement in Michigan (which Democrats and Republicans alike should be), the Democrats and/or their special interest groups have begun the process of officially hijacking the movement. Like in Nevada, they will likely launch their own 'tea party' candidate that is anything but. Unfortunately for the Democrats, 1) the tea party is more informed than they give us credit for; and 2) this news is breaking at the very conception of this slimy political move. The news was broken last night by Chetley Zarko on his website Outside Lansing: Zarko Research Exclusive: Dem Dirty Trick on Fake Tea Party Petition Revealed Zarko Research has learned that a nefarious unknown group calling itself "The Tea Party" at PO Box 23 in Richville, MI 48757 (near Flint) is circulating a petition on a paid basis, at roughly $1 per signature to the circulator. The group is so new that the Secretary of State has nothing on file as of this moment.

Progress in Winning the Senate
Unlikely to run the table, but… Excerpt: Behind the scenes, the chances of a GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate increased in the past two weeks with key developments in pivotal states.
Already, Republican candidates are ahead in eight states now represented by Democrats: Delaware, North Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, Arkansas and Nevada. And, in California, Sen. Barbara Boxer is polling in the low 40s, just barely ahead of her Republican challengers. But nine seats won't give us control, since Vice President Biden would break the tie for the Democrats. We need 10. Enter Washington state, where a large field of Republican candidates have failed to dent the lead of three-term incumbent Sen. Patty Murray. But now it appears that Dino Rossi, the former Republican candidate for governor, is likely to get into the race. Rossi, in fact, won the election for governor in Washington only to have it stolen from him by 200 votes after multiple recounts. Rossi trails Murray by only 48 to 46, even though he has yet to announce his candidacy. The vital 10th seat may well be Washington.

Iranian cleric wants creation of 'Greater Iran'
But the Iran problem has nothing to do with Islam, right? Can’t wait for these folks to have A-bombs. Excerpt: A radical cleric called Saturday for the creation of a "Greater Iran" that would rule over the entire Middle East and Central Asia, in an event that he said would herald the coming of Islam's expected messiah….He said he envisioned a Greater Iran that would stretch from Afghanistan to Israel, bringing about the destruction of the Jewish state…."The Islamic United States will be an introduction to the formation of the global village of the oppressed and that will be a prelude to the single global rule of the Mahdi," the Hezbollah newspaper quoted him as saying. Besides Israel, he said the union would also destroy Shiite Iran's other regional adversaries, whom he called "cancerous tumors." He singled out secular Arab nationalists such as members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party in Iraq, as well as followers of the austere version of Sunni Islam practiced primarily in Saudi Arabia that is known as Wahabism.

Interfaith meeting rocked by terror accusation
Excerpt: An American Islamic leader friendly with the White House who leads an interfaith-dialogue movement was unexpectedly confronted at a Connecticut synagogue about her organization's ties to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of al-Qaida, Hamas and numerous Islamic groups that aim to establish Islamic law worldwide through terrorism and other means. Ingrid Mattson, director of the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA, was a featured speaker May 4 at an interfaith event hosted by Congregation Kol Haverim in Glastonbury, Conn., titled "How Religious People of Peace Can Transform Differences and Build Bridges of Understanding." Jeffrey Epstein – who as president of the non-profit America's Truth Forum has researched and hosted conferences on the Islamic terror threat to the U.S – told WND he "felt it best to leave" after the president of the synagogue interrupted his second question, which had elicited noticeable gasps from the mostly Jewish audience of about 100.

Next big terrorist attack on US will be postmarked 'Pakistan': CIA analyst
Guess he gets the big bucks to figure stuff like this out. Excerpt: A former CIA analyst, who helped President Barack Obama formulate his Pakistan-Afghanistan policy, sees "a very serious possibility that the next mass casualty terrorist attack on the United States will be postmarked Pakistan." "What we're seeing going on in Pakistan now is a very dangerous phenomenon," says Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, in an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington think tank. "The ideology of al Qaida, the ideology of global Islamic jihad that all jihadists should focus on the United States as the ultimate enemy, is gaining ground with groups beyond al Qaida," said Riedel, who chaired a special interagency committee last year to develop Obama's Af-Pak policy. Obama and previous Bush administrations have been pressuring Pakistan for years to shut down completely the jihadist Frankenstein that was created over three decades in Pakistan, Riedel said. But "no Pakistani government has yet been willing to take on the entire network of terrorist groups."

'Obliterating' Iraq's Christians
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. And when militant Muslims have enough power here, it will happen here. Excerpt: What is most startling about the report of the heartless double bus bombings on May 2 that targeted and injured 80 Christian students traveling to northern Iraq's Mosul University was that the young Christians there attend university at all. Since the U.S. invasion, Iraq's Christians have been mostly driven out of the country by violence directed against them for their religion. Their communities are shattered. That these young people continued to dream of preparing themselves to serve their country signals that community's deep commitment to Iraq and a modicum of hope they still harbor for its future. Unless the Obama administration acts fast to develop policies to help them, though, their hope will likely be in vain. Relentless waves of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, extortions and rapes have triggered a mass exodus of Christians from Iraq over the past seven years. Since 2003, over half of the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Christians, as well as some Protestants have fled to Syria, Jordan and farther flung places. While only 3 or 4 percent of Iraq's pre-2003 population, they account for 40 percent of its refugees, the UN reported….The Christians and the other smallest minorities are not simply caught in the middle. The refugee branches of both the UN and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops separately concluded after extensive research that their presence in Iraq is being "obliterated" (the bishops group's term) because of fiercely intolerant attacks specifically targeting them. From southern Basra to northern Kirkuk, the religious minorities have suffered bloody reprisals from terrorists and extremists for failing to conform to Islamic behavior -- in their dress, social patterns, and occupations, as well as in their worship. The sustained violence against the Christians started with a coordinated bombing of churches in August 2004. The Christians remember that similar bombings of synagogues in 1948 prompted Iraq's Jewish community to flee, leaving a total of seven Jews in Baghdad today.

FBI files discuss Cronkite aiding Vietnam protesters
The Media: Helping statists destroy freedom since at least WWII. Excerpt: Legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite allegedly collaborated with anti-Vietnam War activists in the 1960s, going so far as to offer advice on how to raise the public profile of protests and even pledging CBS News resources to help pull off events, according to FBI documents obtained by Yahoo! News. The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, say that in November 1969, Cronkite encouraged students at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., to invite Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie to address a protest they were planning near Cape Kennedy (now known as Cape Canaveral). Cronkite told the group's leader that Muskie would be nearby for a fundraiser on the day of the protest, and said that "CBS would rent [a] helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally," according to the documents. The claims are contained in an FBI memo recounting a confidential informant's report on a November 1969 meeting of a Rollins College protest group called Youth for New America. The group was planning rallies near Cape Kennedy on Nov. 13 and 14 — the latter being day of the Apollo 12 launch from Cape Kennedy, which President Nixon would be attending — as part of a nationwide Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. That protest action culminated in a huge march on Washington on Nov. 15. According to the informant, the group's leader (whose name is redacted in the documents) told the attendees that during a visit to a local CBS News station to drum up publicity for the protests, he ended up in a 45-minute phone conversation with Cronkite.

2005: What Housing Bubble?

Saluting Obama, Our Demagogue in Chief
From Canada. Excerpt: Is the central purpose of communication to persuade an audience, or to tell them the truth? Of course, a combination of both is the goal of effective and ethical speaking. But has this question ever sprung to Barack Obama’s mind when rising to pontificate? Contra, it appears Obama’s entire approach to communication is simply using words to service political goals.

Woody Allen: “It Would Be Good If Obama Could Be a Dictator for a Few Years”
Statist dreams. Excerpt: “…sería bueno…si pudiera ser un dictador durante algunos años, porque podría hacer un montón de cosas buenas rápidamente.” The translated quote: “…it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.”

Palin: Research is your friend, News Media. Try it sometime
Excerpt: The more things change, the more they stay the same with twisted media coverage of my comments. Stories from yesterday are littered with typical inaccuracies and half truths; and in our never-ending quest to hold the press accountable, here are the points that require correction: 1) I was not “interviewed” by ABC News. I had an ABC News camera in my face while I was signing things and greeting some attendees following the Susan B. Anthony List Breakfast. 2) My remarks at the NRA Annual Meeting regarding the anti-Second Amendment sentiments of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi were as follows: “President Obama and his allies like Nancy Pelosi have been relatively quiet on the gun control front – not because they don’t want to limit your rights, but because they’re afraid of the political consequences. Don’t doubt for a minute that if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns, and ban ammunition, and gut the Second Amendment.”

SAS comes out fighting as details of top-secret missions are exposed
Col. Stirling would be appalled. Excerpt: Britain's elite fighting force, the SAS, has become enmeshed in controversy and recriminations, with one of its most successful former senior officers being banned from headquarters and its current chief engaged in a dispute with the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan. The Independent has learned that General Stanley McChrystal, leading Western troops in the war against the Taliban, has received a complaint from the UK's Director of Special Forces (DSF) after he broke the SAS's code of silence and spoke about the missions mounted by the SAS and their Royal Marines equivalent, the SBS, in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Williams, who led the SAS during the Iraq war in undercover operations run by General McChrystal, has been told to stay away from the regiment's headquarters in Hereford.

Supreme Court nominee without judicial record needs to be more forthcoming.
So said Sen. Obama.

Extraterrestrial Global Warming
Excerpt: Apparently, man-made global warming has gotten so out of hand because of SUVs and coal-chugging global warming skeptics that even the biggest planet in our solar system – Jupiter – is being affected by our addiction to carbon pollution. And that follows the other solar effects of our dependence on fossil fuels, including Mars losing its polar ice cap (what will Martian polar bears do now?), Neptune changing its reflectivity, Neptune’s moon Triton increasing in temperature by a whopping 5% due to the American energy-intensive lifestyle, and Pluto’s atmospheric pressure tripling due to higher temperatures because of Bushitler. From Yahoo! News via American Thinker: Jupiter Has Lost a Cloud Stripe, New Photos Reveal.

U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
Excerpt: A senior defense official said that the Pentagon decided just recently not to renew the contract, which expires at the end of May. While the Pentagon declined to discuss the program, it appears that commanders in the field are in no rush to shut it down because some of the information has been highly valuable, particularly in protecting troops against enemy attacks. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the expanded role of contractors on the battlefield — from interrogating prisoners to hunting terrorism suspects — has raised questions about whether the United States has outsourced some of its most secretive and important operations to a private army many fear is largely unaccountable. The C.I.A. has relied extensively on contractors in recent years to carry out missions in war zones. The exposure of the spying network also reveals tensions between the Pentagon and the C.I.A., which itself is running a covert war across the border in Pakistan. In December, a cable from the C.I.A.’s station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan, to the Pentagon argued that the military’s hiring of its own spies could have disastrous consequences, with various networks possibly colliding with one another.

Thanks to John Kerry, Jane Fonda, Ted Kennedy and many other leftists who made this happy situation possible. Human Rights Watch is hardly a conservative group. Excerpt: Vietnam intensified its suppression of dissent in 2009 in an effort to bolster the authority of the Communist Party. Authorities arrested dozens of peaceful democracy advocates, independent religious activists, human rights defenders, and online critics, using vaguely-worded national security laws such as spreading "anti-government propaganda" or "abusing democratic freedoms." The courts convicted at least 20 political or religious prisoners in 2009, including five people sentenced in October whom the previous month the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had determined to be arbitrarily detained. People imprisoned in Vietnam for the exercise of fundamental rights number more than 400. The government tightened its controls on internet use, blogging, and independent research, and banned dissemination and publication of content critical of the government. Religious freedom continued to deteriorate, with the government targeting religious leaders-and their followers-who advocated for civil rights, religious freedom, and equitable resolution of land disputes. In an effort to eliminate challenges to the Communist Party and curb social unrest in advance of a key June 2009 party plenum, in May the government launched a wave of arrests, detaining 27 people for alleged links to the banned Democratic Party of Vietnam (DPV). At least five were prosecuted on national security charges, including prominent lawyer Le Cong Dinh; their trial is pending at this writing. The arrests of at least eight other dissidents, bloggers, and political activists followed. The government bans independent trade unions and human rights organizations, as well as opposition political parties. Workers are prohibited from conducting strikes not authorized by the party-controlled labor confederation. Activists who promote workers' rights and independent unions are harassed, arrested, or jailed. While government officials often tolerate farmers gathering in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to file complaints about land confiscation or local corruption, political protests are generally banned. Police crackdowns on protests-especially those in the countryside-often take place away from the public spotlight. In May, for example, police dispersed demonstrations in the Mekong delta by ethnic Khmer farmers protesting land grabbing, and arrested Huynh Ba on charges of organizing the protests. Since his arrest, he has been held incommunicado in Soc Trang prison. Vietnamese law requires that religious groups register with the government and operate under government-controlled management boards. Adherents of some unregistered religious groups, as well as religious activists campaigning for internationally-guaranteed rights, are harassed, arrested, or placed under house arrest. In the Central Highlands, authorities in 2009 arrested dozens of Montagnard Christians accused of belonging to unregistered house churches considered subversive by the government, planning land rights protests, or conveying information about rights abuses to activists abroad. A focus of the crackdown was Gia Lai province, where more than 50 Montagnards were arrested and at least nine sentenced to prison during the year. On several occasions police beat and shocked Montagnards with electric batons when they refused to sign pledges to join the government sanctioned church.

American History, Not Ethnic Studies,_not_ethnic_studies
Excerpt: Most ethnic studies programs in public schools are at best a waste of taxpayer money, and at worst racially and ethnically divisive indoctrination. But the goal shouldn't be just getting rid of these programs, which a controversial new bill passed by the Arizona legislature attempts to do, but ensuring that public schools give all students a firm grounding in American history, culture, and government. The impetus for the Arizona bill is a program used in the Tucson Unified School District that provides ethnic studies courses for Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and Native Americans. Critics of the program claim that the courses, especially those aimed at Mexican Americans, have become forums for political propaganda. And the school district's own website provides evidence the critics are right. Among the goals listed for the Mexican American Studies program are the following: "Advocating for and providing curriculum that is centered within the pursuit of social justice. ... Working towards the invoking of a critical consciousness within each and every student. ... Providing and promoting teacher education that is centered within Critical Pedagogy, Latino Critical Race Pedagogy, and Authentic Caring." The idea of the public schools promoting "race pedagogy" of any sort should send shivers down the spine -- and is there such a thing as "inauthentic" caring, whose antidote this program pretends to be? Programs like Tucson's have been around since the 1960s, starting first in colleges and universities and, later, adopted in public school curricula. Afrocentric education was all the rage in the 1990s in public schools from Portland, Ore., to Prince George's County, Maryland. The study guides used in those programs were not just racially incendiary but downright kooky, claiming, for example, that absence of melanin in the skin made whites more likely to become sexual deviants. (Bob: See, it’s not my fault. I’m a victim of melanin deficiency and need a government bailout.) Tucson's program, it appears, follows a similar pattern of turning facts on their head. According to a series in the Arizona Republic last year, videos posted online showed Tucson Chicano Studies classrooms decorated with "heroes" such as Fidel Castro, the communist dictator who ruled for nearly 50 years and single-handedly turned Cuba into one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere; Ernesto "Che" Guevara, an Argentine revolutionary who served in Castro's regime, ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent Cubans and personally executing more than 180 men; and Pancho Villa, a common criminal whose escapades were more about enriching himself than freeing Mexico from one of its perennial dictators, Porfirio Diaz. Venerating this rogues' gallery of despots certainly won't help Mexican-American students understand anything about the role of Mexican-Americans in U.S. history, which is how such programs are often sold to an unsuspecting public.

And our feel-good story of the day
Gone in 28 seconds: Rapid-fire sniper takes out five Taliban soldiers from more than a mile away to save British patrol
Excerpt: A British sniper shot dead five Taliban gunmen in just 28 seconds to save the lives of comrades walking into an ambush. The marksman felled the rebels from more than a mile away as they prepared to attack troops on foot patrol in Afghanistan. The corporal - whose identity cannot be revealed for security reasons - has killed a record 37 enemy fighters during a four-month tour of duty. But his most remarkable feat of arms came when he and the spotter who accompanies him saw the group of armed Taliban. They were taking up positions to fire on a patrol that included the platoon commander in Helmand Province. Hiding in an old fort, the sniper prepared his British-built L115A3 Long Range Rifle.

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