Monday, June 28, 2010

Political Digest June 28, 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.

Must Read. Mark Steyn: Learning the rules of an unengaged president
Excerpt: What do Gen. McChrystal and British Petroleum have in common? Aside from the fact that they're both Democratic Party supporters. Or they were. Stanley McChrystal is a liberal who voted for Obama and banned Fox News from his HQ TV. Which may at least partly explain how he became the first U.S. general to be lost in combat while giving an interview to Rolling Stone: They'll be studying that one in war colleges around the world for decades. The management of BP were unable to vote for Obama, being, as we now know, the most sinister duplicitous bunch of shifty Brits to pitch up offshore since the War of 1812. But, in their "Beyond Petroleum" marketing and beyond, they signed on to every modish nostrum of the eco-Left. Their recently retired chairman, Lord Browne, was one of the most prominent promoters of cap-and-trade. BP was the Democrats' favorite oil company. They were to Obama what Total Fina Elf was to Saddam. But what do McChrystal's and BP's defenestration tell us about the president of the United States? Barack Obama is a thin-skinned man and, according to Britain's Daily Telegraph, White House aides indicated that what angered the president most about the Rolling Stone piece was "a McChrystal aide saying that McChrystal had thought that Obama was not engaged when they first met last year." If finding Obama "not engaged" is now a firing offense, who among us is safe? Only the other day, Florida Sen. George Lemieux attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America's overpaid, overmanned and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their "super-skimmers": Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Sen. Lemieux found the president unengaged, and uninformed. "He doesn't seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers," reported the senator. He doesn't seem to know, and he doesn't seem to care that he doesn't know, and he doesn't seem to care that he doesn't care. "It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama's foreign policy is no heart at all," wrote Richard Cohen in The Washington Post last week. "For instance, it's not clear that Obama is appalled by China's appalling human-rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

Obama May Bypass Congress to Let Illegals Stay
This may be just a trial balloon, after which they say, “You’re paranoid, of course not.” But, increasingly, this administration believes the law is whatever the Great One says it is. Trouble is coming. Excerpt: The Obama administration has been holding behind-the-scenes talks to determine whether the Department of Homeland Security can unilaterally grant legal status on a mass basis to illegal immigrants, according to Fox News. The source for this bombshell – which could ignite a national uproar given that a majority supports tougher laws against illegals – is an unidentified former Bush administration official who spoke with at least three people involved in those talks. The issue was raised publicly by eight Republican senators who wrote to the White House on Monday to complain that they had heard the administration was readying a "Plan B" in case a comprehensive immigration reform bill cannot win enough support to clear Congress, according to Fox. The White House would not confirm or deny the claim. But the former Bush official said the discussions are real.

It’s the Law
Speaking of the above, caught a guy on TV, an Evans, while dressing, pushing a book on McCarthy he recently wrote. (See:
) He said that we should follow, “Evans’ law of inadequate paranoia.” No matter how bad you think things are, they’re worse! Seems about right.

An illegal immigrant -- doing a job Americans won't do!
Speaking of Public health laws…Excerpt: You've heard of trailer-park trash, right? This is a new twist on that -- a trailer park dentist! In this case, Eli Sandoval-Roda, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, was practicing dentistry in a large "double-wide" trailer with primitive equipment, according to media reports from Cumming, Georgia. Captain Frank Huggins with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, told WSB News, a radio station: Mr. Sandoval-Rodas was using a five gallon gasoline can that was apparently being used to make molds of teeth. Hygienically speaking, he was using like a two liter bottle, gravity-fed bottle, looked like a Sprite or perhaps a Seven Up bottle of some type, to gravity feed water to wash the patient's mouth. According to WSB, Sandoval-Roda, 37, was charged with "practicing dentistry without a license and practicing medicine without a license because he was injecting birth control into females." WSB added that the trailer's landlord, "who happened to drive up during the arrest, was himself arrested, for driving without a license."

ADAMS: Inside the Black Panther case Anger, ignorance and lies
Speaking of the Rule of Law, this would have been a chance for BO and Holder to show they believed in it, regardless of the color of the defendants. They are no better than the Jim Crow officials of that era. Excerpt: On the day President Obama was elected, armed men wearing the black berets and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were stationed at the entrance to a polling place in Philadelphia. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters and poll watchers. After the election, the Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case. The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney. The federal voter-intimidation statutes we used against the New Black Panthers were enacted because America never realized genuine racial equality in elections. Threats of violence characterized elections from the end of the Civil War until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Before the Voting Rights Act, blacks seeking the right to vote, and those aiding them, were victims of violence and intimidation. But unlike the Southern legal system, Southern violence did not discriminate. Black voters were slain, as were the white champions of their cause. Some of the bodies were tossed into bogs and in one case in Philadelphia, Miss., they were buried together in an earthen dam. Based on my firsthand experiences, I believe the dismissal of the Black Panther case was motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law. Others still within the department share my assessment. The department abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens victimized by the New Black Panthers. The dismissal raises serious questions about the department's enforcement neutrality in upcoming midterm elections and the subsequent 2012 presidential election. (So the people charged with protecting all of us, by making sure we act as a nation of laws, can now totally pervert their performance and act against their specific duties? This had to come down from Holder, who clearly sees his position as one he can use to do whatever he decides is a good thing, regardless of details like the law, the Constitution, etc. And this has not gotten 1/100th the publicity in the media that it would have gotten if some White Supremacists had pulled a stunt like this while Bush was in office. We need so desperately to change this Administration! –Del)

Two Census Bureau managers fired for creating at least 10,000 bogus questionnaires to meet deadlines
Adding phony jobs to the economy results in…phony people! Excerpt: Two Census Bureau managers from a Brooklyn field office were fired after their bosses found they faked household surveys to meet deadlines, the Daily News learned. Instead of pounding the pavement and knocking on doors, the corner-cutting people-counters mined the phone book and Internet to make up answers to questionnaires, regional director Tony Farthing said. The managers - turned in by whistleblower employees - were caught last week. Now, at least 10,000 surveys need to be done or redone, officials said. Census officials in Washington only admitted to a string of incomplete forms and poor tracking in disclosing the firings Friday afternoon. But Farthing corroborated worker accounts to the Daily News that managers Alvin Aviles and Sonya Merritt began dummying up responses in the final crush to finish the surveys, which field workers are supposed to compile from in-person household visits. "Basically, people were being asked to forge [questionnaires]," said one worker in the North East Brooklyn office, which covers 95,000 households. (This is only the beginning. --Steve)

Purifying the World Excerpt: The hope with which we entered the twenty-first century was that, whatever new specters we would have to confront, totalitarian ideologies would not be among them. Fascism, communism, and their variants would moulder in their political graveyards. Could it be that we hoped in vain? Could it be that that, from their putrefied bodies, another world transforming ideology has emerged? There is plenty of reason to think so. We are in the midst of the worldwide rise of a non-religious chiliastic movement, which preaches global human renewal and predicts apocalypse as its alternative. Like its twentieth century predecessors, the new ideology provides an intellectual formula through which to identify the present world’s depredations, imagines a pure new world that eliminates them, and mobilizes the disaffected and alienated for the sake of radical change. Like the followers of totalitarianisms past, the new ideologues also see themselves as the vanguard for the highest humanitarian ideals. If many of us have failed to recognize the rise of this new movement, the reason may be that we are still trapped in defunct ideological categories.

Obama Rattles Business
Excerpt: Americans are fighting what Winston Churchill called “a Black Dog … on his back.” Americans are losing the fight, which is odd since the economy is finally gaining rather than losing jobs, and the manufacturing sector is growing nicely. The new Wall Street Journal-NBC poll shows that the Black Dog is the unwelcome household pet in most Americans’ homes. More than 60 percent say the country is on the wrong track, 48 percent disapprove and 45 percent approve of Obama’s job performance, and 50 percent disapprove of the way he is handling the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill (42 percent approve). The unhappiness is due to several factors. The Greek financial collapse, which ordinarily would be a yawner here, has focused Americans’ minds on the perilous state of our nation's finances. Lay the relevant fiscal facts of Greece and the U.S. side by side, and there isn’t much difference in such things as the deficit relative to the size of the respective economies. Of course, there is no prospect of an American default -- we can always print money -- but it has come home to many Americans that the large deficits being run up by the Obama administration bode ill not for our grandchildren, as we thought until recently, but for our children. That’s why a Democratic Congress last week turned down the president’s request for a second stimulus -- just as he was preparing to head for Toronto to try to sell his G20 colleagues on the need to spend and spend. (IMPORTANT NOTE: What Winston Churchill was referring to as a "Black Dog on his back" was the mental depression he suffered from his entire life. Ron P.)

The Blunt Truth
Excerpt: Dennis Hastert, the former House speaker, is gone from Washington and pretty much forgotten. In February, his son lost a bid for his father’s old seat. The last we heard of ex-majority leader Tom DeLay, he was briefly a contestant on the TV show Dancing with the Stars. But former whip Roy Blunt, the third member of the Republican triumvirate that ruled the House of Representatives until 2005, has survived. He’s running for the Senate from Missouri, and more likely than not he’ll win. Missouri is a swing state, usually reflecting the national political mood. It’s a hodgepodge. “St. Louis is sometimes described as the westernmost eastern city,” Blunt says. “Kansas City is more like Denver. The Boot Heel [southeast Missouri] is like the Delta. Southwest Missouri is more like Oklahoma and even Texas. Northern Missouri is more like the upper Midwest.” So it’s no surprise the race here epitomizes Senate and House races across the country. Blunt, like Republicans nationwide, has been rejuvenated by the rise of his party’s fortunes and campaigns as an unswerving conservative. Like other Democrats, Robin Carnahan, the Missouri secretary of state, is also running sharply to the right—against Washington, big government, excessive spending—and concentrates on demonizing Blunt. She’s avoided contact with President Obama. When he came to Missouri in March, Carnahan’s excuse was she had to be in Washington for several fundraisers. She attended his speech in rural Macon in April, but stayed in the crowd and didn’t have her picture taken with him. Obama is scheduled to return in July to raise money for her. She’ll have to attend that event.

World Leaders Slam North Korea, Iran
Think a bit of a diplomatic win for BO. Excerpt: Briefly putting aside deep economic differences, top world leaders on Saturday condemned North Korea for the alleged sinking of a South Korean warship, set a five-year exit timeline for Afghanistan and said the standoff in Gaza was "not sustainable and must be changed." In a joint statement, the leading eight industrial democracies also criticized both Iran and North Korea for continuing their nuclear march and called on both to heed existing United Nations resolutions. The statement was not as strongly worded as some nations had hoped, including the United States, particularly in condemning North Korea in the March sinking of the warship. Russia was cited as a holdout against stronger language. Finding themselves at odds on economic policy, the G-8 leaders - representing the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia - focused Saturday on foreign policy, where it appeared easier to find common ground.

G8-G20 Police Protest Photos
The usual nihilists were out in force. Good photos.

Avertible catastrophe
The bureaucratic idiots are killing us. Excerpt: Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality. The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. "Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour," Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill. To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn't capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana's marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks. The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston. In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts. Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

Barack Obama's firing of Stanley McChrystal showed weakness and will backfire
Interesting view from the UK. As I’ve said, I don’t think Obama had any choice after McC ran his mouth in front of a reporter. Interesting how Obama and his supporters have forgotten all their slashing of “General Betray-Us” now that BO had to crawl to him to try and save the situation. Excerpt: For the Washington cognoscenti, the appointment of General David Petraeus marked the crescendo of President Barack Obama's Wonderful Week. In firing General Stanley McChrystal, Mr Obama, the ultimate cool cat, was transformed into Mr Angry. The law professor finally became commander-in-chief. Obama, so the Beltway groupthink goes, turned a lose-lose situation into a political victory by asserting his authority over an insubordinate steely-eyed killer and replacing him with the ultimate warrior-scholar. He showed the doubters he was tough, and he traded up. How wrong the conventional wisdom can be. Obama's actions in dragging McChrystal back to Washington and personally sacking him in as dramatic a fashion as possible in fact displayed weakness. They also avoided the real problem - his confused Afghanistan policy and dysfunctional civilian team. No one would pretend that the profane, juvenile banter of McChrystal and his aides was clever or appropriate, never mind in the presence of an iconoclastic Rolling Stone reporter. The general, a legendary combat leader who engaged in fire fights in Iraq alongside SAS troopers while in his 50s, deserved to be reprimanded. Inartful and ill-advised as the words were, however, they also spoke to a justifiable deep frustration within the US military in Afghanistan and contained a degree of truth about Obama's civilian officials that made the famously thin-skinned President decidedly uncomfortable. McChrystal and his "Team America" vented about Ambassador Karl Eikenberry betraying them with a leak; portrayed special envoy Richard Holbrooke as an egotist in fear of losing his job; joked about Vice President Joe Biden being a bit of a blowhard; and suggested James Jones, National Security Adviser, was an ineffectual relic of the Cold War. These are hardly controversial opinions - even within the White House. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff and a man whose salty language would make a sailor blush, probably says worse things about his colleagues to a reporter before breakfast on most days of the week.

Tried to Boycott Israeli Ship, Blocked Chinese Ship Instead
Probably the same people who are boycotting Arizona Iced Tea, made in NY. What Stalin reportedly called “useful idiots.” Excerpt: Some 500 anti-Israel protestors arrived at the Oakland, California port early Sunday morning, hoping to block an Israeli ship from unloading its cargo. However, the ship did not arrive, and the crowd prevented workers from unloading a Chinese ship instead. The protestors say they were protesting the recent Israel-Turkey flotilla incident, though they displayed great ignorance about what actually happened; one of them even compared barely armed Israeli Defense Forces troops with Somali pirates. "My grandmother's Jewish. I'm not anti-Semitic," protestor Frank McClain told a local Oakland newspaper. "But what Israel's doing is murdering people. They staged a raid in international waters. If Somalis had done that, they'd be called pirates and we'd have punished and stopped them immediately. In fact, as videotapes have shown, Israeli soldiers warned the ships well in advance not to enter the waters under legitimate Israeli blockade; boarded the ship armed only with paintball guns and pistols in case of need; and were set upon and attacked as they rappelled down by lynch mobs armed with iron clubs, knives, and even their own pistols that the attackers took from them. Several of the soldiers were held captive for a while below deck. Ultimately, the Israelis were able to regroup, defend themselves, ward off the terrorist activists, tend to their wounded, and gain control of the boat that had been set on a near act-of-war course. Nearly all of the nine dead were identified as members of Turkish Islamist organizations, most of them of a radical and anti-Western nature. Four of them had previously declared their wish to die as martyrs.

Interesting comment on “I’m Tired”
I'm 35 and I'm tired too. I wonder what this country will be like for my own kids in a few years. The small college fund we had started to for our oldest, twins, is gone thanks to having to pay more taxes to support the druggies and junkies who like you state, are too lazy or too stupid to earn their own keep; the 'parents' of kids who get picked up by the system we also have to support. Or, in our case, the children who have been left at our home to care for because their lifestyle was more important to them. I immigrated into this country as a young child with my parents, and we were all starving and living in subhuman conditions when we left Mexico, but guess what? We never received a dime from the government! No sir, my parents worked and I held 3 jobs in high school, attended college with an honorable GPA & test scores, I RESENT affirmative action, EVERYONE should work just as hard as the next person, and I believe I worked harder than some. All I'm saying is, it can be done, it’s a choice, our freedom of choice. Thanks to people like you and several of my uncles, cousins, friends, we have that freedom. SADLY, and UNFORTUNATELY, people abuse this or they use this privilege for the wrong reasons. Your letter hits the nail right on! Thank you for your service, your time, and your integrity. There ought to be more like you. Thank you for putting into writing such insight and wisdom. God Bless you always. V.V, TX

Paris Metro's cheaters say solidarity is the ticket,0,4212836.story
Insurance to cover the fines for thieves. Why shouldn’t everything be free? Let “the rich” pay. Typical soft-brained leftists. And when the collapse comes in France, they’ll blame the capitalist, the rich and, of course, the USA. Excerpt: The answer, here in the land that gave the world the motto "All for one, one for all," is as typically French as it is ingenious: They've banded together to set up what are, essentially, scofflaw insurance funds, seasoned with a dollop of revolutionary fervor. For about $8.50 a month, those who join one of these raffish-sounding mutuelles des fraudeurs can rest easy knowing that, if they get busted for refusing to be so bourgeois as to pay to use public transit, the fund will cough up the money for the fine. It provides a little peace of mind, however ethically dubious, in a time of economic uncertainty. But for many of these fraudeurs, cheating the system and forming a co-op isn't just about saving money; it's about striking a blow against a capitalist state that favors the haves over the have-nots. Fare dodgers of the world, unite! "It's a way to resist together," declared Gildas, 30, a leader of the mutuelle movement. "We can make solidarity." He was speaking late one morning at a small Parisian cafe, where he fortified himself with orange juice but declined to give his last name or other personal details. ("We don't like this type of questions.") Free rides on the Metro may not have been exactly what the architects of the French Revolution had in mind when they rose up in the cause of "liberte, egalite, fraternite" more than two centuries ago. But for Gildas, a rebel whose unshaven cheeks, longish hair and John Lennon glasses seem straight out of French central casting, a straight line can be drawn from the left-wing principles and idealism of the 18th century to the present day. "There are things in France which are supposed to be free — schools, health. So why not transportation?" he said. "It's not a question of money.... It's a political question."

Quinn's debt bomb,0,6585930.story
Another leftist-run government facing the eventual collapse of the something-for-nothing mentality. Unfortunately, I live in this one. Excerpt: Friday night in London, these were the governments worldwide that CMA ranked as having the highest percentage probabilities of defaulting on payments to bondholders:
Greece: 67.93 percent
Venezuela: 58.05
Argentina: 48.15
Pakistan: 38.80
Ukraine: 35.69
Iraq: 29.29
Dubai/Emirate of: 29.20
Illinois/State of: 27.35
California/State of: 27.00
Portugal: 25.11
There's more than humiliation to ranking worse than left-for-dead California (and not much better than recuperating Iraq). The financial press has reported in recent days that bond buyers are so concerned about this state's reliability that they're demanding higher rates of interest from Illinois. From Illinois taxpayers, really.

Message to Tony Rezko has Obama's name all over it,0,805898.column
Funny column by John Kass. Has to be a und-raising letter, but you’d think Obama’s folks would e smart enough to have purged Rezko’s name from their begging lists. Apparently not. Excerpt: It's a letter with your name on it in big capital letters, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. It's postmarked June 16, 2010, and was mailed from Richmond, Va., with a 44-cent stamp. And, it's printed in soy ink on recycled paper, so it's eco-friendly. But the fascinating part is whom the letter from PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA is addressed to: Tony Rezko. Yes, that Tony Rezko. I'm not joking. This is a real letter. Remember Tony? The "That's not the Tony Rezko I knew" Tony? Your personal real estate fairy who helped you buy that dream house in Kenwood? The Tony of your "boneheaded" move? Yeah, that guy. Your letter was sent to one of Rezko's old business addresses in Chicago, and I got to take a look at it. I promised not to reveal the address if we could take a picture of it. Mr. President, the first thing I thought was, "What would Barack want us to do with this letter?" And the second thing I thought of was that I'd better write about it before Rahm sends the "Men in Black" to stun me with a ray gun that erases all memory. Tony's name keeps coming up day after day in the Blagojevich trial. It always involves money, including the campaign cash from those Democratic fundraisers at Tony's house with Illinois Republican bosses.

GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn Leading Congressional Effort to Stop Obama Admin From Deporting Son of Hamas Founder Who Spied for Israel, Converted to Christianity…
Excerpt: Rep. Doug Lamborn is leading an effort in the House of Representatives to gather support for Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a founder of Hamas who converted to Christianity, became an anti-Hamas informer, and is now living in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security, incredibly, is opposing his application for political asylum. Yousef, himself once a member of Hamas, is not a jihadist. In fact, he’s quite the opposite, having had both a religious and a political conversion. He’s now living in San Diego, but his stay in America could end shortly (he’s been here around three years). It all hinges on whether he’s granted political asylum by American officials. Right now, the Department of Homeland Security is against this designation, in part it seems, because the government agency has misread his remarkable tell-all memoir, Son of Hamas. In the book, Yousef tells his story. He experienced a sort of epiphany, turning against Hamas and his family, to become a key informant for the Israeli intelligence agency the Shin Bet. The intelligence he provided allowed Israeli officials to prevent acts of terror, saving many innocent lives. The DHS interprets his book as proof that he has ties to terrorist organizations. If Yousef were to be deported, and returned to the West Bank, there’s little question that he would end up on a Hamas hit list.

'Genocidal' Israel will be put in its place – Chavez
Barack’s Buddy. Excerpt: Hugely popular in the Arab world for his fierce "anti-imperialist" stance. Chavez received a hero's welcome when he visited Syria in 2006. He returned to Damascus on a tour last year. Assad arrived in Venezuela on Friday, the first stop on a rare Latin American tour. He is also due to visit Argentina, Brazil and Cuba. Syria has started to raise its international profile in recent years, shrugging off Western efforts to weaken it and developing ties with former foe Turkey, Russia and with Latin American nations. Assad, who faces a decline in domestic oil production and droughts that have hit agriculture, is looking to reinforce links with a rich Syrian expatriate community in the region and with economic power Brazil. His tour is expected to focus on bilateral issues and Syria's hopes to attract $44 billion in private foreign investment over five years to repair its infrastructure. He applauded Chavez's loud criticism of the United States and Israel. "Few politicians are brave enough to say no, when it is necessary to say no," Assad said as he arrived at the Miraflores presidential palace.

Obama's Washington: What Hath Harvard Wrought!
Excerpt: It is time to put together an intervention. Form a new group, call it "Idiots Anonymous," and open it to anyone in the Obama administration with a diploma from an elite university. If you have an Ivy League degree, you get to attend meetings at no charge. And if you're from Harvard...well, you're large and in charge of the meetings. Of course, don't expect the meetings to accomplish much. Generally, self-anointed smart people succeed largely in making themselves comfortable at the expense of what the BP chairman recently described as "small people." Witness the White House entertainment budget and growth in government salaries. The people who tell you how smart they are talk and eat, talk and meet, talk and travel, talk and get the picture. They do not do. Doing is for "small" people; transformation is for brilliant people. Meanwhile, we small people have our lives turned upside-down when others transform based on what elite-stamped smart people think. This is what happens when hubris is institutionalized and self-styled elites -- what David Brooks of the New York Times calls the "educated class" -- achieve critical mass in government, as they have in Obama's Washington. Barack Obama specifically set out to "fundamentally transform" the United States, using what William Kristol of the Weekly Standard describes as "the government schemes of pointy-headed intellectuals" to re-engineer a nation he views as foundationally flawed. The results have been predictable for anyone whose head does not come to a needle-sharp point. Record unemployment, a bloated federal government paralyzed by bureaucracy (Reuters headline: "Bureaucracy frustrates U.S. Gulf oil spill efforts"), and debt spiraling out of control even as those constitutionally charged with budgetary responsibilities do nothing.

Spiking Our Cannon on the Home Front
John Kerry’s buddies. Excerpt: Nearly four decades after my return to the United States I still recall the feelings of disgust I experienced upon my reception at Travis Air Force Base in 1969 when I was carried on a litter from the rear ramp of a C-141 Medical Evacuation Flight returning wounded soldiers from Vietnam. The tarmac was lined with anti-war protestors carrying signs that read, “BABY KILLERS” and “MURDERERS.” They were dressed in rags, the remnants of Army uniforms. They shouted curses and insults at each of us as we were carried one at a time down the ramp to waiting busses and ambulances parked on the tarmac to receive the wounded. We were shocked. We knew there was opposition to the war in America, but we were totally unprepared to be greeted with profane taunts and curses. We had given our country our most precious possessions – our lives, our youth, our health, and our buddies. And in return we were vilified by the only Americans who cared enough to show up and greet American soldiers the country and its elected leaders had sent off to war. And in that moment our priceless gift of service to our country was spat upon and cursed....One of the impressive leaders in the mobilization of the anti-war movement was John Kerry, a Yale graduate and former naval officer, who served in the brown water navy in the coastal waters of South Vietnam. Following his return to the United States and discharge from active duty, Kerry acted as co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans against the War in Vietnam (VVAW). The group organized protests and conducted an investigation into the conduct of the War, which led to allegations of torture and war crimes committed by Americans in Vietnam. Naval investigations of the charges found them to be without merit. Despite official denials of their claims the VVAW descended on Washington in 1971 to conduct anti-war demonstrations that received extensive media coverage. John Kerry appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on April 23, 1971. In his testimony Kerry repeated the VVAW claims of “…crimes committed on a day to day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.” He went on to detail alleged war crimes committed “…in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan.”[1] The televised testimony had a chilling impact upon support for the War, while galvanizing support for the anti-war movement. How did it all go wrong? And how did John Kerry’s academic studies influence his actions?

U.S. in Nepal reaching out to...Muslims (4.2% of population)
To misquote George Orwell, “All the animals are equal, but the animals with suicide bombs are more equal than the others.” Excerpt: According to the CIA World Factbook, Nepal is currently Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9%. That's from the 2001 census. And so the U.S. Government under the rule of Barack Obama is reaching out to...the Muslims.

Jihadists love Nazism: Turkish supporters of Jihad Flotilla fly swastika flag
Nice picture of our humanitarian friends.

Islamist hatefest should open Canadians' eyes
The writer will probably be hauled before a “Human Rights Commission” for this, free speech no longer being a right in Canada. Note that Tarek Fatah may be playing a double game to eliminate rival Jihadists. Excerpt: More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the Journey of Faith Conference in Toronto on July 2, 3 and 4. That may sound benign, but that fact alone should alarm this entire country. The conference, sold as one of the largest Islamic conferences in North America, headlines speakers with such vile and repugnant views, that to repeat them almost smacks of satire and farce. The big draw for the event was, until earlier this week, Dr. Zakir Naik, a popular Indian Muslim televangelist, who has -- thanks largely to the alarm raised by Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress -- been denied a visa to come to Canada. Naik, billed as an expert on the Qur'an on the conference website, has said "every Muslim should be a terrorist," that gays and lesbians should be sentenced to capital punishment, that a man has the right to beat his wife, though he warned his devoted followers to avoid leaving a mark or hitting her on the face, and, surprise, surprise, he says that Jews are the "staunchest enemy" of Muslims. He is, ironically and comically, the founder of Peace TV. You couldn't make this stuff up. It's as Orwellian as, well, Orwell's 1984 in which the Ministry of Truth promoted slogans like: "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery," "Ignorance is Strength."

Former director of Islamic charity pleads guilty
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: The former director of a Missouri Islamic charity admitted in federal court Friday that he sent more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of U.S. sanctions.
Mubarak Hamed, 53, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and a tax violation for misusing the charity's tax exempt status and lying to the Internal Revenue Service. Hamed served as executive director of the now-defunct Islamic American Relief Agency-USA from 1991 until October 2004, when federal agents raided the charity's Columbia, Mo., offices and carted off truckloads of documents and computers. The same day, the U.S. Treasury Department froze the charity's assets and said it was part of a global network of similarly named charities that supported terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taliban and Hamas.

Dhimmitude doesn't pay: KFC ditches halal-only menu after poor sales
They said they were switching to the halal menu to satisfy demand, but there didn't turn out to be that much demand after all. Dhimmitude doesn't pay: "KFC forced to ditch halal-only menus after disappointing sales," from the Daily Mail, June 26 (thanks to all who sent this in):
KFC has scrapped its policy of serving halal food only in some of its takeaways, following customer protests. One hundred of the fast food chain's restaurants removed non-halal items from their menus last year in an attempt to attract Muslim customers. But thousands of regular customers complained, including Alan Phillips, who was furious when the Burton-on-Trent branch refused to serve him his favourite Big Daddy chicken burger with bacon and cheese topping. He was told it was forbidden to keep bacon on the same premises as halal meat and he would have to travel five miles to the nearest non-halal restaurant.

Indonesian justice minister: Jihadists shouldn't attack in Indonesia, but should go set off bombs in Israel
Excerpt: Of course, he meant that they should go help in the "peace process."

Longtime Sen. Byrd in hospital, seriously ill
Hopefully the KKK has enough class to send get well wishes to their former Democrat member. Excerpt: Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who holds the record as the longest-serving member of Congress, is seriously ill in a Washington-area hospital, his office said Sunday. The 92-year-old West Virginia Democrat has been in the hospital since late last week, his office said in a statement. At first Byrd was believed to be suffering from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration, the statement said, but other medical conditions have developed. His condition was described as serious. The statement did not name the hospital. In November, Byrd broke the record for congressional service that had been set by Democrat Carl Hayden of Arizona, who served in the House and Senate from 1912 to 1969.

Saturday we took a drive through some of the upscale towns on the North Shore of Lake Michigan. Nice places to live if you can afford it and if they weren’t part of the political cesspool of Crook County. We ended in Highwood, with a neat downtown, lots of al fresco places to eat. They were having an antique fair and a collectible car show.

The car that made me drool was a Bentley woody station wagon (or estate car).I never knew such existed. Big, right hand drive, brown/gray in color, leather bench seats (might have been jump seats in the far back.) Wood trim outside, wood panels inside. You could imagine it picking you and your steamer trunk up at the train and delivering you to an elegant country hotel in England. Alas, we didn’t have a camera.

Why do I mention this in a political blog? Because it was so neat I wanted to tell someone!

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