Thursday, May 20, 2010

Political Digest May 20, 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. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with them. I have to say all this to give some of my critics the benefit of the doubt, assuming they are thick, rather than deliberately taking things the wrong way.

Campaign Slogans
Are you better off now than you were four years ago when the Democrats took control of Congress?

Democrats: Buying your vote with your grandkid’s money

Democrats: Hooked on Pork

When a Democrat brings home the bacon, remember you paid for the Pork.

Sen. Arlen Specter loses Pennsylvania primary; Rand Paul wins in Kentucky
Well, Arlen, seems your new party doesn’t like you much either, despite BO’s endorsement. Or maybe because of it? Like Oliverio who beat Mollohan in the WV Democrat primary, Sestak ran as a non-Obama Democrat, even accused Obama of offering him a job if he didn’t run, which is a crime, but Obama was acquitted by the media, which didn’t follow up. Sestak is an attractive candidate, former Navy Admiral, distanced from Obama, and in a blue state. He should win in November, so this hurts GOP chances of taking over the senate. Meanwhile, Paul in KY proves the Tea Parties have clout in GOP primaries. It remains to be seen if he can hold this GOP seat in November. He’s solid on taxes and spending, but something of an isolationist in the war on terror, which concerns me. Over in Arkansas, Lincoln squeaked into a runoff. I think she may lose that, which, again, probably hurts GOP chances, as her opponent is running against Washington—that is the Washington completely controlled by Obama, Pelosi and Reid, all Democrats. Note this is the fourth race where voters rejected the Obama choice: VA, NJ, MA and now PA.

How (and why) Arlen Specter lost
Excerpt: Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's defeat at the hands of upstart Rep. Joe Sestak made him the second Senate incumbent to lose an intraparty battle in the 2010 elections -- the largest number since four incumbents fell in 1980. Specter's loss will be endlessly examined (and then re-examined) in the days to come but, at its root, there were two main factors to blame for it: the perils of party switching and an anti-incumbent national environment. Party switchers almost uniformly struggle the first time they are on the ballot after the switch. The party they abandoned detests them and will do anything to try to bring about their demise while the party they joined is distrustful of both their motives and loyalties. Specter never seemed to adequately explain to Democrats why he switched parties -- beyond the fact that it would allow him to be re-elected. Sestak, in what is the early frontrunner for ad of the year, brilliantly exploited Specter's seeming lack of principle on the switch with a commercial that said the incumbent's party switch was designed to "save one job...his...not yours." Specter's inability to articulate why he had decided to go from "R" to "D" after spending nearly three decades on the GOP side was compounded by a strong sentiment among voters that the people they have been sending to Washington aren't getting the job done and a course correction is required.

Specter Down, Paul Up
Excerpt: The most satisfying outcome across all parties and ideologies was arguably Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak's comfortable victory over Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary. In defeating the 80-year-old Mr. Specter, voters showed there is at least some limit to partisan opportunism and thus committed an act of political hygiene. Mr. Specter fled the GOP last year when it became clear he would lose a Republican primary to former Congressman Pat Toomey, and he promptly switched positions on everything from union "card check" to health care. Mr. Sestak ran by claiming to be the more authentic Democrat, despite President Obama's embrace of Mr. Specter, at least as long as the President needed him for the 60th health-care vote. In crunch time in the primary, the White House decided to sit this one out. One disloyal act is repaid in kind. In Western Pennsylvania, Republicans were disappointed as their candidate lost a special House election to replace Democrat Jack Murtha, who died in office. Democrat Mark Critz, a former Murtha staffer, won in part because he ran against the Democratic agenda, saying he would have voted against ObamaCare and cap and tax. He also attacked—unfairly in our view—a past flirtation by Republican candidate Tim Burns with the so-called FAIR tax, a form of national sales tax. In other words, the Democrat ran to Mr. Burns's right on taxes.

Obama endorsements don't seem to help Democrats
Excerpt: Voters rejected one of President Barack Obama's hand-picked candidates and forced another into a runoff, the latest sign that his political capital is slipping beneath a wave of anti-establishment anger. Sen. Arlen Specter became the fourth Democrat in seven months to lose a high-profile race despite the president's active involvement, raising doubts about Obama's ability to help fellow Democrats in this November's elections

Democrats Win Special Election In PA-12
Hooked on Pork, district votes for best chance to keep it flowing. I don’t think 53-45 is “narrow,” but then I won my first race by 9 votes out of 60,000 cast. Note that the Democrat ran AGAINST Obama’s healthcare bill and Cap and Trade. Excerpt: Mark Critz (D-PA) appeared to narrowly win a special election today to fill the late Rep. John Murtha's seat, a victory the Democrats believe means the fall midterm elections might not be so bad after all. He'll be quickly seated by House leadership once results are finalized. Critz was leading Republican Tim Burns with 53 percent of the vote to Burns' 45 percent and 70 percent of precincts reporting, and Burns conceded the race around 10:30 p.m. In an unusual twist, both candidates are aiming to be on the November ballot. Critz was on track to prevail in a party primary to be the nominee in the general election, and if Burns' lead for his primary holds steady, these two candidates will be matched up again in November. The Dem turnout was boosted by a competitive Senate primary between Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak, one reason the majority party had been sounding quite confident about the race for several days. Critz was fueled as well by labor activists and Democratic volunteers who made calls and knocked on doors for weeks to help keep the seat. Former President Bill Clinton stumped for Critz over the weekend.

Republican lesson from Pennsylvania 12 special
Excerpt: In Pennsylvania 12, so far the state shows 77,410 votes cast in the Democratic primary for Congress and 43,614 in the Republican primary—43% of them for 2008 Republican nominee William Russell, who pointedly did not endorse special election Republican candidate Tim Burns. Thus the electorate in the 12th special election consisted of almost twice as many registered Democrats as registered Republicans. More important, I suspect, is that the primary/special election evidently didn’t bring out the kind of voters who put this traditionally Democratic district (narrowly) in the McCain column in 2008: tradition-minded Democrats who didn’t like Obama and never much liked Republicans but who felt obliged to vote out of civic duty. They didn’t, or so my theory goes, feel compelled to vote in the Specter-Sestak primary, between two liberals from the faraway Philadelphia area they didn’t have anything in common with, and they didn’t feel compelled to vote in the Pennsylvania 12 special between a Democrat who took care to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi but was still a Democrat and a Republican who was a businessman conspicuously not endorsed by the retired military officer who was the party’s candidate 18 months ago. Tim Burns needed these votes, and might have gotten them if they had felt obliged to vote, one way or the other, for president; but he couldn’t get them to the polls.
Dems split on keeping Blumenthal
A proven liar? Why get rid of him? He’ll fit in perfectly with the Senate in general and the Democrat caucus in particular. Only have to break in someone else. I went back in the Marine Reserves in 1977, after Vietnam. We still had guys who wore wigs to cover their long hair and took out their earrings before formation. They had joined because of a commitment to avoid the draft, not to Corps and country. The reserves got better after they were gone. Former Senator and Governor Jon Corzine was a reservist during that time. Excerpt: Connecticut Democrats on Tuesday began considering replacing state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) on the ballot for the U.S. Senate, even as Senate Democrats offered unwavering support for him in a controversy over his military service. Senators from Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee(DSCC) Chairman Robert Menendez (N.J.) to Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Blumenthal remains their candidate of choice in the race to replace the retiring Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), despite a New York Times report Monday that he had falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam.

Blumenthal’s Soldier Supporter On Stage Today Is a Phony, Too
Birds of a Feather. I gotta get a “V” to wear on my Good Conduct Medal, see if anyone notices. Excerpt: Democratic Senatorial Candidate Richard Blumenthal held a presser today after it was discovered that he lied about serving in Vietnam. (He also lied about being captain of the Harvard Swim Team.) So, Blumenthal went before the press along with some former military men and supporters. It was a great show. Maybe tomorrow the swim team will join him on stage? Unfortunately, one of the democratic supporters on stage with him lied about his military service, too. Free Republic reported–Blumenthal’s military buddy on stage is William Joseph Trumpower, aka Elliott Storm, a POW HALL OF SHAME

Lame excuses for Semper Lie
Excerpt: The front-runner in the Connecticut Senate race -- who had claimed he served in the Vietnam War when he hadn't -- yesterday insisted the explosive scandal was just the result of a few "misplaced words" over the years. Under fire for wildly distorting his military record, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal -- who leads the contest to replace retiring Sen. Chris Dodd -- said his repeated misstatements about his service were "totally unintentional." Blumenthal immediately came under attack from veterans' groups and his political opponents on both sides of the aisle. In recent years, Blumenthal -- a rising star in the Democratic Party -- has told supporters at least once he'd served "in" Vietnam. Several other times, he used language indicating he'd been in Vietnam.

Simmons Stands To Gain Most From Blumenthal Expose
Huh. Six months at Parris Island. Must have been a real sh-tbird. Usual boot came was 11-12 weeks. Maybe it just seemed longer for him. Excerpt: “The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal’s record of service. Unlike many of his peers, Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, SC and six years in the reserves. He received no special treatment from anyone. Dick has a long record of standing up for veterans. Tomorrow, veterans will be standing up with Dick.”

Blumenthal misdirects over Vietnam lies
Excerpt: Blumenthal spoke as though he were really under attack not for lying, but for joining as a reservist. "There was no certainty," he said, about where he would be sent after he joined the Reserves. Blumenthal served in a unit in Washington, D.C. (If he wanted certainty, he should have joined the regulars. We knew where we were going.)

U.S. must change course on national debt to avoid Greece’s fate
The problem is, changing course will be painful and politically unpopular. So politicians of both parties will continue to kick the can down the road and buy votes with new programs (see the PP&ACA) until the can is too big to kick. Then everyone promised entitlements will beat the barricades. I’m already stockpiling cobblestones, torches and pitchforks (I’m a traditionalist.), and I haven’t even qualified for Medicare and Social Security yet. Excerpt: As I have traveled the country recently promoting the need for fiscal responsibility many people have asked me: Are we Greece? Over the past 40 years, U.S. government spending has grown by almost 300 percent after adjusting for inflation, and our revenues haven't kept pace. Our current deficits are the highest as a percentage of our economy since World War II. In that respect, we sure look a lot like Greece, or at least we will in the near future. As a percentage of our economy, total federal, state and local public debt in the U.S. already exceeds levels in Spain, and are comparable to Ireland and Great Britain. We will reach Portugal's levels within two years and Greece's levels within 10 years on our present course. To be sure, there are some big differences between the U.S. and Greece. We are by far the largest economy in the world. The dollar also represents more than 60 percent of the world's reserve currency. That means, unlike the situation in Greece, our foreign creditors will give us the benefit of the doubt for a while. But they also see the very grave threat of the escalating deficits we will face in the future based on our current fiscal path. These projected structural deficits are driven largely by rising health care costs, known demographic trends, and the cost of financing what we will need to borrow to pay for increased spending. So, are we Greece? Not yet. But if we don't change course and recognize that we are not exempt from the fundamental laws of prudent finance, we could be in the not too distant future.

"By socializing the consequences of Greece's misgovernment, Europe has become the world's leading producer of a toxic product -- moral hazard. The dishonesty and indiscipline of a nation with 2.6 percent of the eurozone's economic product have moved nations with the other 97.4 percent -- and the United States and the International Monetary Fund -- to say, essentially: The consequences of such vices cannot be quarantined, so we are all hostages to one another and hence no nation will be allowed to sink beneath the weight of its recklessness. Recklessness will proliferate." --columnist George Will. The Patriot Post

Obama State Dept. Tells Communist China: AZ Immigration Law Is Indication of 'Troubling Trend' of 'Discrimination' in U.S.
How did the Communists, whose government murdered many times more millions of people than Nazi Germany, stop from rolling on the floor laughing at this administration. Excerpt: The human rights talks, held at various locations in Washington last week, focused on issues that both countries are dealing with, State Department Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner told a press briefing on Friday. Asked by a reporter if the Arizona law came up in the discussions, Posner said it did--and it was U.S. officials, not the Chinese, who brought it up. "We brought it up early and often," Posner told reporters on Friday. "It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society," Posner said. The Chinese did not raise any concerns about Chinese people visiting Arizona, Posner added.

Fuel Swap Deal Does Not Address Core Issues of Iranian Nuclear Dispute
Excerpt: The nuclear fuel swap agreement signed with fanfare in Tehran Monday provides insufficient reason for the U.N. Security Council to put sanctions talks on hold, but it is certain to make the effort even more of an uphill battle than it has been up until now.

Sen. Rockefeller Tells Neil Armstrong: ‘I Am a Substantial Skeptic of Human Spaceflight’
Excerpt: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D.-W.V.) says he is “a substantial skeptic of human spaceflight” and that not all outlets for American exploration are “glorious.” Rockefeller made his remarks during a hearing last week where astronauts Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, testified against President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget because it would cancel NASA’s Constellation manned space program. “I am not a huge, but I am a substantial, skeptic of human spaceflight,” Rockefeller told [Neil] Armstrong, [Gene] Cernan, and Norman R. Augustine, the chairman of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee. “We’re approximately the same generation, but that’s where I am,” Rockefeller said. “I cannot support going into space as an end in and of itself. I agree with the president that we need a measured, nationally, globally relevant and sustainable human space flight program--not one solely bound by place and time in space.”

Read the Fine Print
It is hard for me to believe they could have been so stupid as not to add a severability clause. One was regularly added to any complex piece of legislation at the state level when I served, so I’ll be surprised if this is true. I do not know if they can now pass one as a belated amendment—I suppose so, but never heard of it because the clause is pretty standard. Excerpt: However, Greg Scandlen, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, says due to a little-known legal concept the entire law would unravel if a single part was found to be outside the Constitution. "Apparently there was no 'severability' clause written into this law, which shows how amateurish the process was," he wrote. "Virtually every bill I've ever read includes a provision that if any part of the law is ruled unconstitutional the rest of the law will remain intact. Not this one. That will likely mean that the entire law will be thrown out if a part of it is found to violate the Constitution. "No argument from us. The bill writers and lawmakers who voted for it without reading it were unprofessional.

Consensus? What consensus?
Excerpt: Ahead of the interview, I thought I’d just check out the Conference Speaker’s list. There are 80 scheduled speakers, including distinguished scientists (like Richard Lindzen of MIT), policy wonks (like my good friend Chris Horner of CEI), enthusiasts and campaigners (like Anthony Watts of the web-site), and journalists (including our own inimitable James Delingpole). Of the 80 speakers, I noticed that fully forty-five were qualified scientists from relevant disciplines, and from respected universities around the world — from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Norway, UK, Australia and New Zealand. All of them have reservations about climate alarmism, ranging from concerns that we are making vastly expensive public policy decisions based on science that is, to say the least, open to question, through to outright rejection of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) model. Several of these scientists are members or former members of the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But how do 45 sceptical scientists stack up, you may well ask, against the 2500 on the official IPCC panels? But of course there aren’t 2500 relevant scientists on the IPCC panel. Many of them are not strictly scientists at all. Some are merely civil servants or environmental zealots. Some are economists — important to the debate but not experts on the science. Others are scientists in unrelated disciplines. The Chairman of the IPCC Dr. Ravendra Pachuari, is a Railway Engineer.

Cameron's Wasted Energies
Excerpt: David Cameron last week renewed his promise to cut the U.K. government's carbon emissions by 10% in the next 12 months, and is now taking suggestions on how to achieve that. Here's a thought: How about cutting the central government itself by 10%? That's about the only way the new Prime Minister can simultaneously reduce government emissions and the cost of government. If, on the other hand, the government's plans for shrinking its emissions involve similar measures as its plans to "green" the private sector, Mr. Cameron might ask himself whether, with a budget deficit of 12% of GDP, he can afford this particular boondoggle. It's fashionable to profess that "greening" the economy can be accomplished at no cost, so great are the benefits of efficiency gains and renewable energy. But the history of civilization, from start to finish, can be seen as one long drive to make more efficient use of available resources. If something can be done more efficiently, at least outside of the public sector, someone is probably already doing it. And if they're not, it's because the costs outweigh the benefits. This is for the simple reason that "greening" the private economy requires subsidies, or heavy-handed regulation, or both. But government can't subsidize itself, so Mr. Cameron's quest is certain to cost taxpayers more than they get back in the form of more-efficient government energy use.

Who’s crossing our borders?
Hint: Not all Mexicans. Some of the “jobs Americans won’t do” may be killing Americans.

Obama Tells Mexico President We are not defined by our borders....
So let’s adopt Mexico’s laws on immigration.

Eight Tidbits From the Kagan Document Drop
Excerpt: In a massive digital information dump today, the White House delivered a 202-page questionnaire filled out by the Supreme Court nominee along with tens of thousands of pages of attachments to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which posted it all on its website.

Chuck Schumer vs. Free Speech
Excerpt: As former commissioners on the Federal Election Commission with almost 75 years of combined experience, we believe that the bill proposed on April 30 by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen to "blunt" the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC is unnecessary, partially duplicative of existing law, and severely burdensome to the right to engage in political speech and advocacy. Moreover, the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act, or Disclose Act, abandons the longstanding policy of treating unions and businesses equally, suggesting partisan motives that undermine respect for campaign finance laws. At least one of us served on the FEC at all times from its inception in 1975 through August 2008. We are well aware of the practical difficulties involved in enforcing the overly complex Federal Election Campaign Act and the problems posed by additional laws that curtail the ability of Americans to participate in the political process.

Much ado about nothing
Excerpt: How many times have you heard President Obama say, “Health insurers won’t be able to drop your coverage just because you get sick?” Or Kathleen Sebelius? Or the Democratic leadership in Congress? Or the mainstream news media? As I wrote at Kaiser Health News the other day, you would think that the private health insurance industry was being revolutionized. In fact, it has been illegal since 1997, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, for insurers to drop coverage because someone gets sick. And even before then, the practice almost never happened. Think of it this way: Do you think there would be a vibrant, active, ongoing life insurance industry if insurers could renege on their part of the contract after someone dies? How many of us would buy fire insurance if the insurers could change their minds and refuse to pay after our house burns down? Would you buy auto insurance from Allstate if the “good hands” could disappear after a collision occurs?

Long but good: Mystic Chords of Memory ... The purpose of Memorial Day
Excerpt: Alas, for many Americans today, Memorial Day has come to signify nothing more than another three-day weekend, a mere excuse for a weekend cook-out. Such an observance of Memorial Day obscures even the vestiges of its intended meaning: a solemn time, serving both as catharsis for those who fought and survived, and to ensure that those who follow will not forget the sacrifice of those who died that the American Republic and the principles that sustain it, might live….. — Mackubin Thomas Owens is an associate dean of academics and professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, and is the editor of Orbis. He is a Marine infantry veteran of Vietnam.

Memo from 2002 could complicate challenge of Arizona immigration law
Does the state have the right to enforce Federal Law? Well, it’s a Federal law you can’t shoot the president. Should a cop ignore a gunman stalking Obama, on the theory that Federal law overrides state laws against murder and thus he has no authority to stop the shooter? Yes, extreme case. Excerpt: In the legal battle over Arizona's new immigration law, an ironic subtext has emerged: whether a Bush-era legal opinion complicates a potential Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona. The document, written in 2002 by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that state police officers have "inherent power" to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law. It was issued by Jay S. Bybee, who also helped write controversial memos from the same era that sanctioned harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects. The author of the Arizona law -- which has drawn strong opposition from top Obama administration officials -- has cited the authority granted in the 2002 memo as a basis for the legislation. The Obama administration has not withdrawn the memo, and some backers of the Arizona law said Monday that because it remains in place, a Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona would be awkward at best.

New interrogation unit aids in questioning Times Square bomb suspect,0,5645396.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29
Excerpt: The new unit that has been assisting in Shahzad's questioning is known as the High-Value Interrogation Group, or HIG. It was activated several months ago and is staffed mainly by personnel from the FBI, CIA and Defense Department, according to senior administration officials who on Tuesday provided the fullest description of the unit's procedures to date. They were not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The HIG's mandate, the officials said, is to ensure that intelligence about terrorism plots is obtained quickly after the arrest of a terrorism suspect. Though there was no reference during the arraignment to the HIG's role in questioning Shahzad, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, said Shahzad had been cooperative and "has provided valuable intelligence from which further investigation action has been taken." The HIG was created as a replacement for the CIA interrogation program operated during the George W. Bush administration, and the willingness of administration officials to go into detail about its operations appeared aimed in part at rebutting criticism from congressional Republicans and others that the White House is focusing too much on prosecution of terrorism suspects and not enough on obtaining intelligence from detainees.

DoJ trial attorney in Black Panthers case resigns in protest
Excerpt: Eric Holder has stonewalled Congress, the Civil Rights Commission, and the American people regarding the inexplicable order that political appointees at Justice gave last year to drop the slam dunk winning case against the New Black Panther party. Members of the group were caught on tape clearly intimidating white voters at a Philadelphia polling place. A summary judgment followed but before sentencing, Justice dropped the case. When some Republican senators asked why, Holder refused to comply with requests for an explanation. Even a US Civil Rights Commission subpoena couldn't get Holder to supply them with a reason why he dropped a case that Justice had already won. Now it appears that someone is going to talk. And what he has to say will no doubt prove very interesting to Congress.

Worth Reading: Lessons of Vietnam
Excerpt: As do most commenting on the Vietnam War, the authors of “Afghani¬stan and the Vietnam Template” suggest that the war, as we and the South Vietnamese fought it, was, a priori, unwinnable and that numerous parallels exist between it and the current war in Afghanistan. However, Johnson and Mason do note important structural differences. Where I think they soon go astray is in their assessment of the enemy in Vietnam. For example, they describe the Viet Cong as “poorly equipped guerrillas,” but this was true only in their early operations. Before long, the Viet Cong were in some ways much better equipped than the South Vietnamese they were fight¬ing. For example, for far too long, slightly built South Vietnamese troops had to carry heavy U.S. semi-automatic M-1 Garand rifles left over from World War II and Korea while Viet Cong forces soon armed themselves with reliable, highly effective, fully automatic Soviet AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles. In this regard, the Viet Cong were even better armed for a while than U.S. troops were. More dubious is the authors’ assertion that “the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong (VC) were not fighting for communism. They were fighting for Vietnam,” a sense we simply did not get at the time.

Talks of Peace -- Threats of War
Could be an interesting summer. Excerpt: Behind all the optimism that is being expressed in regard to the new Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks, there is great concern of a looming war in the Middle East. While reports have focused on the possibility of a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran, few analysts have considered that the next war might be more limited in scope -- one that could occur, instead, between Israel and Iran's proxies in the region. Recently, an Israeli think-tank, the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, launched simulated war games, gauging international reaction to a possible long-range missile attack on Tel Aviv. Such an attack might be aimed at Israel's Defense Ministry, and Middle East experts at IDC developed possible scenarios to prepare for such developments.... In recent weeks, Israel and the U.S. have been warning Iran and Syria to stop the massive arms transfers. While the threat of war looms over Israel, so does the possibility of Russia transferring the S-300 advanced anti-missile defense system to Iran, which would tip the balance of power in the Middle East. Israel has threatened to knock out that system before Iran, or any other Middle East country, is able to deploy it. Russian President Dimitry Medvedev met with Israel's President Shimon Peres in Moscow in early May and then went immediately to Syria to meet with President Bashar Assad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. To Israel's dismay, Russia secured a deal to deliver MiG-29 fighter jets, the Pantsyr short-range air defense system, and more armored vehicles to Syria for its arsenal. Some of Russia's previous weapons sales to Syria ended up in Hezb'allah's hands and were used in the Second Lebanon War. Since 2006, Hezb'allah has rebuilt its stockpile and now has a reported 42,000 rockets pointed at Israel. Thousands of Hezb'allah's troops are stationed in Shiite villages south of Lebanon's Litani River, also in defiance of U.N. Security Resolution 1701.

Shale Gas Will Rock the World
Hopeful if accurate. Outside my area of expertise—if I have one.

Immigration and Liberty
Excerpt: My sentiments on immigration are expressed by the welcoming words of poet Emma Lazarus' that grace the base of our Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Those sentiments are probably shared by most Americans and for sure by my libertarian fellow travelers, but their vision of immigration has some blind spots. This has become painfully obvious in the wake Arizona's law that cracks down on illegal immigration. Let's look at the immigration issue step by step. There are close to 7 billion people on our planet. I'd like to know how the libertarians answer this question: Does each individual on the planet have a natural or God-given right to live in the U.S.? Unless one wishes to obfuscate, I believe that a yes or no can be given to that question just as a yes or no answer can be given to the question whether Williams has a right to live in the U.S. I believe most people, even my open-borders libertarian friends, would not say that everyone on the planet had a right to live in the U.S. That being the case suggests there will be conditions that a person must meet to live in the U.S. Then the question emerges: Who gets to set those conditions? Should it be the United Nations, the European Union, the Japanese Diet or the Moscow City Duma? I can't be absolutely sure, but I believe that most Americans would recoil at the suggestion that somebody other than Americans should be allowed to set the conditions for people to live in the U.S. What those conditions should be is one thing and whether a person has a right to ignore them is another. People become illegal immigrants in one of three ways: entering without authorization or inspection, staying beyond the authorized period after legal entry or by violating the terms of legal entry. Most of those who risk prosecution under Arizona's new law fit the first category -- entering without authorization or inspection. Probably, the overwhelming majority of Mexican illegal immigrants are hardworking, honest and otherwise law-abiding members of the communities in which they reside. It would surely be a heart-wrenching scenario for such a person to be stopped for a driving infraction, have his illegal immigrant status discovered and face deportation proceedings. Regardless of the hardship suffered, being in the U.S. without authorization is a crime.

Detained militant in Iraq details World Cup plot
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. Excerpt: An al-Qaida militant detained in Iraq on suspicion of plotting to attack the World Cup told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he wanted to target Danish and Dutch teams to avenge insults against the Prophet Muhammad. Iraqi security forces announced the arrest of Saudi citizen Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani Monday, saying he was suspected of planning an attack in South Africa during the World Cup beginning June 11. During an interview arranged by the Iraqi security officials holding al-Qahtani, he described the plot and said the idea of attacking the World Cup came up in late 2009 during talks with friends over content in the Western media that was offensive to Muslims. "We discussed the possibility of taking revenge for the insults of the Prophet by attacking Denmark and Holland," he said. The World Cup was considered an "important event" and South Africa was thought to be easier to travel to than either of the two European countries they wanted to attack, he explained. "The goal was to attack the Danish and the Dutch teams and their fans," the militant said. "If we were not able to reach the teams, then we'd target the fans," he said, adding that they hoped to use guns and car bombs.

Clinton: It's OK If Pakistan Lets Anti-American Terror Attacks Be Planned There As Long as NY Street Vendors Stop Them
Excerpt: After ascertaining that the Times Square bomber had connections with the Pakistani Taliban, secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about her view of Pakistan's cooperation. She responded: "This is a threat that we share. We have a common enemy. There is no time to waste going after that common enemy." She would not criticize Pakistan and in fact said, “I have to stand up for the effort that the Pakistani government is taking....We’ve gotten more cooperation and it’s been a real sea change" in their efforts. But the tip-offs are the phrases about how effective the Pakistani government is being against terrorists "in their own country" and about a "threat that we share." In other words, as I've previously pointed out, the Pakistani government fights against terrorists that want to overthrow it (Pakistani Taliban) but not against those who merely want to kill Indians (several Pakistani-backed groups) or Americans (al-Qaida, Afghan Taliban).

Hezbollah holds 'Jihad tours' for students,7340,L-3891326,00.html
You can blow up Jews at Disneyland? Who knew? Excerpt: Militants teach students to fire rockets after tour of south Lebanon. 'It's like Disneyland,' says one.

Obama Administration Seeks Internet Control
Excerpt: The Obama administration just refuses to take no as an answer to its desire to control the Internet. Just a month ago, the Federal Appeals Court for the District of Columbia unanimously ruled that the FCC didn't have the power to regulate traffic on the Internet. It seemed pretty clear, but last Thursday FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced a new plan: redefine broadband services to be something it can regulate, in this case telephone services. This is like a kid being told that he has to eat his "green beans" and then claiming that the "cookies" are really "green beans." The Obama administration has very sticky fingers and doesn't seem embarrassed by this power grab. The notion that the government can redefine things to extend its power is pretty scary.

Iraq says prisoners released by US rejoined Qaeda
Excerpt: An Iraqi security spokesman on Tuesday said prisoners released by the US military rejoined Al-Qaeda in senior roles that saw them plan and commit bloody attacks inside the country. "The majority of the detainees who used to be inside US prisons went back to work in crimes and terrorism at a high level after they were released," Major General Qassim Atta told reporters in Baghdad. "Many of them occupied leadership positions in Al-Qaeda," he said, referring to insurgents released by the US army before tougher procedures were introduced more than a year ago.

Defending Arizona
Letter from Kyl and McCain concerning the Obama administration apologizing to China for Arizona.

If 'truth' has no meaning, then who will stop genocide?
Excerpt: Had a white supremacist student said the same thing about African-Americans, it likely would have led nightly newscasts. Rampant anti-Semitism, on the other hand, has become as prevalent on campuses as keg stands. Yet the PC police aren't about to defend Jews' right to exist. In fact, Horowitz was speaking at the UCSD event opposite anti-Semitic professor Norman Finkelstein, who refers to Israelis as "Nazis with beards and black hats" and says the Holocaust is exaggerated. Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul University for his views, but he doesn't lack for invitations to speak at other colleges as a result. Of course, it's hard to tell which is worse -- this oppressive political correctness, or the moral relativism that enables it. Generations of college kids have been exposed to Michel Foucault, one of the most influential academics of the last century. Foucault's "concept of 'truth' is relative, that 'madness' is a cultural creation and that 'history' is mere storytelling, are now familiar fare at enlightened dinner parties," notes an article in the New Statesman.

Holder ignoring bribes under his nose
Media abetted corruption. Excerpt: Last fall, the Denver Post reported that somebody in the Obama White House offered a plum job to former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff on the condition that he drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Michael Bennett. Then in February, Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., told a talk radio program that somebody in the Obama White House had offered him a job in exchange for dropping his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter. Given credible allegations that federal laws against offering federal jobs in return for political favors were broken, a previous Washington Examiner editorial asked: "Isn't that enough for somebody at the Department of Justice to start asking some serious questions?"

Political Satire
Funny stuff, because it sounds true.

They that are on their guard and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent. - Benjamin Franklin

No comments:

Post a Comment