Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Political Digest September 15, 2010

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

The Money of Fools by Thomas Sowell

Excerpt: Seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes said that words are wise men's counters, but they are the money of fools. That is as painfully true today as it was four centuries ago. Using words as vehicles to try to convey your meaning is very different from taking words so literally that the words use you and confuse you. Take the simple phrase "rent control." If you take these words literally-- as if they were money in the bank-- you get a complete distortion of reality. New York is the city with the oldest and strongest rent control laws in the nation. San Francisco is second. But if you look at cities with the highest average rents, New York is first and San Francisco is second. Obviously, "rent control" laws do not control rent. If you check out the facts, instead of relying on words, you will discover that "gun control" laws do not control guns, the government's "stimulus" spending does not stimulate the economy and that many "compassionate" policies inflict cruel results, such as the destruction of the black family. Do you know how many millions of people died in the war "to make the world safe for democracy"-- a war that led to autocratic dynasties being replaced by totalitarian dictatorships that slaughtered far more of their own people than the dynasties had?... Some advocates of "social justice" would argue that what is fundamentally unjust is that one person is born into circumstances that make that person's chances in life radically different from the chances that others have-- through no fault of one and through no merit of the others. (Sowell should know. He was born into a poor, black family in NC, which didn’t have electricity, hot water or an indoor privy. He has supported himself since age 17, worked his way through Harvard, Columbia and the University of Chicago for his PhD. I highly recommend his autobiography, “A Personal Odyssey.”)

Is It Time to Listen to Rep. Paul Ryan's Economic Prescription?

Here’s the political calculus: Vote for Ryan’s plan, save the country, get defeated in the next election, as any sensible plan is painful? Or vote to kick the can down the road, get re-elected, and postpone the economic collapse for 10 or 20 years? Unfortunately, all Democrats and most Republicans will pick option two. A large chuck of voters would pick the “European Social Welfare State, not realizing or caring that it cannot be sustained. ~Bob. Excerpt: Paul Ryan, a professional policy wonk from Wisconsin, sees trouble ahead if the country stays on its present course. The cost of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security is racing ahead, at the same time that the federal government is ladling out dollars to fight the recession and collecting less in tax revenue because of the recession. Meanwhile, he argues, we are contending with chronically high unemployment, insurmountable debt payments and a crushing tax burden that could kill U.S. competitiveness. Maybe, just maybe, those entitlements have to be redesigned. He's not quite saying, "Stop Social Security!," but he is getting dangerously close to the thought. Who is this guy? It would be no surprise if he turned out to be a wealthy financier who had taken up budget policy as a retirement hobby (like Peter G. Peterson) or a professional forecaster whose views on consumer spending are bearish (like Gary Shilling). The surprise is that Ryan is an elected official. He's running for election to a seventh term in Congress, representing a district with a razor-thin Republican edge south of Milwaukee. Mess with Social Security? Are voters ready for this? Maybe they are. Those trillion-dollar deficits can't go on much longer. "We have to give the country a very clear choice," Ryan, 40, says as he's campaigning in his home state on a mid-August afternoon. "Do you want the American idea, which is an opportunity society with a sturdy safety net, or do you want to have the cradle-to-grave, Western European-style social welfare state?"

Iraq: Time to Ring the Bell

Excerpt: Many years ago I attended a series of Headquarters briefings for out-going CIA Chiefs of Station. Our main speaker was Richard Helms, then the Agency’s Director and one of the lions of American foreign policy in the 1960’s and 70’s. A man who was subsequently crucified in the Nixon catastrophe. Dick was essentially giving us our instructions, and in my mind his most telling directive was the quiet statement: “Ring the Bell.” Telling us to sing out when we apprehended a major disaster in the offing. It’s time to ring the bell on Iraq. Briefly put, in a matter of months Iran will emerge the unchallenged military and economic power dominating the area from Lebanon to Pakistan. It will control Iraq, and be in a position to shut off all oil supplies from the Persian Gulf. It will be free to provide extensive assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan, thus ensuring a NATO defeat in that country. It will be in a position to provide crucial support to radical Islamic elements in Pakistan - which may well result in the collapse of that already shaky nuclear-armed government. It will be free to radically increase its support to a variety of terrorist organizations targeting the US. And, in conjunction with well-armed radical Palestinian forces that already exist on Israel's borders, it will pose the greatest threat ever faced by Israel. A threat that I do not believe Israel could survive without direct US military intervention. By the end of this month American combat units are to have withdrawn from Iraq, leaving approximately 50,000 troops behind – all of whom are to be gone by the end of 2011. As a result of the refusal of the key religious and tribal factions in the country to coalesce into anything even remotely approaching a national government, there is no government in Iraq. Nor will there be a national government before the last American troops are withdrawn. Even if by some miracle there were one, there is no effective Iraqi National Army or National Police Force to defend it or to enforce its decisions. Nor will such forces exist when the US withdraws in sixteen short months. There are several key reasons why this situation will exist after we have occupied Iraq for over eight years, had over 4,400 of our soldiers killed, and expended billions of aid money -- and worked mightily to create both a government and the forces to defend it. (Obama is no FDR on war or foreign policy, and there is no Churchill in sight. ~Bob.)

Elevating John Boehner (and will it work)

Excerpt: The White House has become very interested in House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) of late. In a speech last week in Ohio, President Barack Obama mentioned Boehner a whopping eight times(!) and White House surrogates spent the weekend highlighting a New York Times piece detailing his ties to lobbyists. And, starting tomorrow morning, the Democratic National Committee will launch an ad on national cable stations that derides Boehner as unconcerned about creating middle class jobs. Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, explained the focus on Boehner by noting that "elections are about choices and it is critical that we make clear that the Republican Party wants to return to the policies that created the economic crisis." So, will it work? The most obvious problem in the "Blame Boehner" strategy is that large swaths of the American public don't know who he is. In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted earlier this month, nearly four in ten Americans (39 percent) didn't know enough about Boehner to offer an opinion of him. (Of those who did have an opinion, 22 percent saw him in a favorable light while 23 percent viewed him unfavorably.) Those numbers are roughly consistent with a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll in April that showed 55 percent of Americans had never heard of Boehner. The difficulty of elevating Congressional leaders is nothing new in American politics. Ever since Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) became the unpopular face of the Republican House majority in the late 1990s, Republicans have been trying to replicate that strategy with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) In the 2006 and 2008 election -- and even in the Pennsylvania 12th district special election earlier this year, Republican candidates sought -- unsuccessfully -- to link their Democratic opponents to Pelosi. Those efforts failed in large part because not enough people in, say, Ohio, knew the California Democrat and even fewer thought she had anything to do with their own Member of Congress. (What many who read this blog don’t get is that the vast majority of people are paying little attention—because you are paying attention. In November, 2008, 2/3rds of voters couldn’t say which party controlled Congress. About the same % can’t name one Supreme Court Justice. Which is why so much political advertising is geared to the lowest level of cheap, simple attack ads, based on overstated claims or irrelevancies. ~Bob.)

Deceased Georgia Man Uses His Obituary to Solicit Donations in Lieu of Flowers “to Anybody Who is Running Against Obama in 2012″

About the third one of these I’ve seen. ~Bob. Excerpt: If you are a friend of Don Unsworth, a Georgia businessman who recently passed away, don’t send flowers to the family. Just vote against President Obama in 2012. About 50 people attended the funeral for Don Unsworth, a northwest Georgia businessman, father, grandfather and husband. Described by family as lively, humorous and politically conservative. Mr. Unsworth’s newspaper obituary reflected all those qualities with the following request: “In lieu of flowers the family respectfully asks that donations be sent to the American Cancer Society, or to the campaign of anybody who is running against President Barack Obama in 2012.” “He was not really a big Obama fan,” said his daughter Donna Barnes. Barnes says the US Air Force veteran disliked the costly stimulus and worried about unemployment. The obituary, and the donations, were Unsworth’s family’s idea. “We just felt like it was the best tribute we could give to him,” said Barnes.

Chandler man shoots, kills 2 suspected gang members

Excerpt: The intruder who punched out a Chandler man while stealing beer at a keg party picked the wrong victim. The man, who had been attempting to defend his wife during the beer theft, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Fearing for his life and under attack, he pulled out a gun and fatally shot two men believed by police to be gang members early Sunday morning. "People in Arizona carry guns," said Detective David Ramer, a Chandler police spokesman. "You better be careful about who you are picking on." Ramer said police have concluded the shooter, who fears reprisals and whose name is not being released, acted in self-defense and have cleared him of any potential wrongdoing in the shooting deaths. The names of the two men who were shot to death also have not been released by police. The shootings occurred early Sunday morning in the 600 block of North Sunland Drive. A group of men showed up as uninvited guests at the keg party, paid a $2 admission fee, then became angry when the organizers started to shut the bash down, Ramer said. "They thought they weren't getting their money's worth," he said. The intruders were stealing the beer when they were confronted by a woman who had been attending the party, Ramer said. (Bob Hall’s three step program for reducing crime: 1. All citizens above the age of 21, who have never been convicted of a felony or adjudicated for a mental problem shall have the right of concealed carry of firearms. 2. If they are over the legal alcohol limit for driving, they cannot carry. 3. It shall be a defense to murder or assault charges that the person who was shot was threatening another person, was in the commission of or attempting to commit a felony or was escaping after such.)

Conway endorses force recon after pirate op

Excerpt: “As soon as the first stack of [Marines] made our way into the bridge, their hands were up, their weapons were down, they moved to their knees and they were compliant,” Martin said. “At that point, they were pretty scared. One guy actually defecated himself. … He sh-- his pants. I don’t know if that can go on the news or not, but that actually happened.” (Oh, Crap, it’s the Marines! ~Bob.)

Many Push for Repeal of Tax Provision in Health Law

As the painful parts hit, Obamacare will be ever more unpopular. ~Bob. Excerpt: Many Democrats have joined Republicans in pushing for the repeal of a tax provision in the new health care law that imposes a huge information-reporting burden on small businesses. To improve compliance, the law requires businesses to file a 1099 tax form identifying anyone to whom they pay $600 or more for goods or merchandise in a year. Businesses will also have to send copies of the form to their vendors, suppliers and contractors. Businesses denounce the requirement, and even the national taxpayer advocate at the Internal Revenue Service, Nina E. Olson, said the reporting burden might “turn out to be disproportionate as compared with any resulting improvement in tax compliance.”

Senate defeats plan to strip filing requirement from health law

So much for helping small business, which creates most of the new jobs. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Senate on Tuesday defeated an effort to strip a controversial tax-reporting provision from the sweeping healthcare law Congress passed earlier this year. Lawmakers voted 46 to 52 to block an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) that would have saved businesses and nonprofit groups from having to report an array of small and medium-sized purchases to the Internal Revenue Service. A handful of Democrats voted for the Johanns proposal, including Sens. Evan Bayh (Ind.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Warner (Va.), and Jim Webb (Va.). The vote puts the Senate on track to pass small-business assistance legislation this week or early next week. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups had lobbied furiously in favor of the Johanns amendment. Business groups argue the new requirements impose a heavy cost on small businesses and will harm the economy.

Senators as small businesses

Here’s an idea. Instead of senate staff being government employees, make each senate office a small business. Each senator gets a chunk of money from the government. He/she then has to use it to hire staff, find them benefits like health insurance and comply with all the government paperwork and regulations. How the money was spent, of course, would be public record. Whatever was left over would be the senator’s salary, just like a small business owner. That might bring some changes.

Are rising imports a boon or bane to the economy?

Excerpt: It has become conventional wisdom in reporting on the economy that rising imports and a growing trade deficit are bad signs for growth. As recent headlines warn us, "Economic growth slowed by trade gap" (Washington Post) and "Wider Trade Gap Signals Weak Growth" (Wall Street Journal). Such reporting flows unavoidably from Keynesian logic. If we import a million shoes to satisfy domestic demand, that's a million shoes we no longer need to make ourselves. When demand "leaks" abroad, the economy grows more slowly and it creates fewer jobs. Or so we are told. Those journalists and the experts they quote who tout this theory should get their heads out of the theoretical clouds and look at what really goes on in the economy. All the evidence points to the fact that rising imports and a growing trade gap, far from being drags on growth, are among the surest signs that the economy is expanding. A major flaw of the Keynesian view is that it neglects the supply-side role of imports. More than half of what we import consists of goods consumed by producers — capital machinery, raw materials, parts and other intermediate inputs. Those imports help us produce more, not less. This is one reason why, over the past year, imports of manufactured goods have been rising along with domestic manufacturing output. In the long run, imports spur growth by forcing domestic producers to be more efficient and productive. Like competition generally, imports weed out the less-productive domestic producers, leaving the market to more-competitive U.S. companies. Those companies are better able to expand their share in global markets and create sustainable jobs with higher pay.

Obamacare vs. the Rule of Law

Sacre Bleu! Extra benefits cost more money? And the money has to come from the customers? Who could have suspected? ~Bob. Excerpt: Health Insurers Plan Hikes. That was the headline of a Wall Street Journal story last Tuesday which reported: “Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats’ efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections. Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.” And The Wall Street Journal was not alone. The Los Angeles Times and Dallas Morning News also reported rate hikes in their states, some as high as 16%. And this comes on top of news that Obamacare is forcing health care companies to stop offering coverage for kids and forcing colleges to stop offering coverage for students. Obamacare is deeply unpopular with the American people because, as the massive regulatory regime goes into effect, the American people are noticing that none of the administration’s promises are being honored. The cost of health care is going up, not down. Health care spending is going up, not down. Millions of Americans are not able to keep their insurance. To combat this reality, the Obama administration struck back last Friday. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans warning them that “there will be zero tolerance” for “falsely blaming premium increases” on Obamacare. Specifically, Sebelius threatened to punish non-subservient firms by excluding them from the government regulated and mandated health insurance exchanges.

Ten Questions You're Not Supposed to Ask About Islam

Excerpt: Sometimes, when people get emotional while discussing radical Islam, they tend to paint Muslims with far too broad a brush. There are millions of decent, hard working, patriotic Muslims in this country which explains why, as late as 2000, they were voting 78% Republican. Unfortunately, we hear from those people far too seldom while the terrorists, radical Islamist shills at CAIR, and the dirtbag building the Ground Zero Mosque seem to grab all the headlines. That makes it easy to forget that there are American Muslims out there loudly and forcefully speaking out against terrorism. Moreover, across the world, the United States has had traditional alliances with Muslim nations, some of whom have fought side-by-side with our troops. Even in hostile nations like Iran, large numbers of Iranians held spontaneous candlelight vigils to show solidarity with America. To view Muslims like that as our enemy seems rather foolish to me.

More Hate Crime Hypocrisy

Excerpt: Two recent strings of racial attacks—one black on white in Des Moines Iowa, the other black on Hispanic in Staten Island, New York—elicited very different reactions from both law enforcement and the mainstream media. Since April, Staten Island law enforcement filed 11 “bias related” crimes committed against Mexicans, 10 of which were perpetrated by blacks. The Los Angeles Times gave an example on August 18 where, “a Mexican teen-ager was robbed by a young black man armed with a knife who used racial slurs.” The real culprit to the liberals in New York are not the thugs who committed the crime, but conservative opponents of illegal immigration. The Times continues, Jacob Massaquoi, a leader in Staten Island's African immigrant community, said tensions had grown along with anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, something they blame on Arizona's crackdown on undocumented residents and conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. "Their rhetoric is very personal, very inflammatory," Massaquoi said. Massaquoi is just echoing Barack Obama who said in 2008 that "A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There's a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year. If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it's not surprising that would happen." Obama’s numbers, by the way are fabricated. In fact, the rate of hate crimes against Hispanics went down between 2007 and 2008. Numbers aside, Obama and the LA Times cannot honestly believe that African Americans who are told by many of their leaders that Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck hate blacks are influenced by these shows. When most people think of hate crimes, they think of a Klansman or a skinhead beating up a minority. Yet in Los Angeles County, 78% of Hispanic on black and 52% of black on Hispanic hate crimes are considered “gang related.” I doubt that the Crips are tuned in to Rush Limbaugh on their car radio while they commit a drive-by shooting against MS-13. What about the Hispanic on white and Hispanic on black hate crimes? The federal government does not report them!

NJ Town Files Suit Against Rat/Roach Slumlord Imam Feisal Raul of Ground Zero Mosque Infamy

Excerpt: The Record also reported that Rauf had ties to local waterfront developer Fred Daibes, and was sued by a Daibes associate who had charged the imam [Rauf] with mortgage fraud in 2008, a suit that was settled in June. The suit, filed today in state Superior Court in Jersey City, identifies Rauf as the sole officer of Sage Development LLC, a company based at his home address in North Bergen and listed as the owner of the two buildings. The suit also alleges that Sage’s corporate status was revoked by the state in March 2005, for its failure to file annual reports. The buildings occupy the same lot at 226 Central Ave., one containing 32 apartments and the other 16. The larger building has been vacant since Feb. 8, 2008, when a fire broke out there, one year after the city says it issued 12 separate fire code violations that Rauf ignored."

Very Interesting: Elections and Obama's Foreign Policy Choices

Excerpt: We are now nine weeks away from the midterm elections in the United States. Much can happen in nine weeks, but if the current polls are to be believed, U.S. President Barack Obama is about to suffer a substantial political reversal. While we normally do not concern ourselves with domestic political affairs in the United States, when the only global power is undergoing substantial political uncertainty, that inevitably affects its behavior and therefore the dynamics of the international system. Thus, we have to address it, at least from the standpoint of U.S. foreign policy. While these things may not matter much in the long run, they certainly are significant in the short run. To begin thinking about this, we must bear three things in mind. First, while Obama won a major victory in the Electoral College, he did not come anywhere near a landslide in the popular vote. About 48 percent of the voters selected someone else. In spite of the Democrats’ strength in Congress and the inevitable bump in popularity Obama received after he was elected, his personal political strength was not overwhelming. Over the past year, poll numbers indicating support for his presidency have deteriorated to the low 40 percent range, numbers from which it is difficult, but not impossible, to govern. Second, he entered the presidency off balance. His early focus in the campaign was to argue that the war in Iraq was the wrong war to fight but that the war in Afghanistan was the right one. This positioned him as a powerful critic of George W. Bush without positioning him as an anti-war candidate. Politically shrewd, he came into office with an improving Iraq situation, a deteriorating Afghanistan situation and a commitment to fighting the latter war. But Obama did not expect the global financial crisis. When it hit full blast in September 2008, he had no campaign strategy to deal with it and was saved by the fact that John McCain was as much at a loss as he was. The Obama presidency has therefore been that of a moderately popular president struggling between campaign promises and strategic realities as well as a massive economic crisis to which he crafted solutions that were a mixture of the New Deal and what the Bush administration had already done. It was a tough time to be president. Third, while in office, Obama tilted his focus away from the foreign affairs plank he ran on to one of domestic politics. In doing so, he shifted from the area where the president is institutionally strong to the place where the president is institutionally weak.

Mitch Daniels makes White House moves

Excerpt: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been holding a series of private dinners with top Republican business leaders, policy hands and donors from around the country since this spring, an indication that he’s thinking more seriously about a presidential bid than he publicly lets on. The dinners, which take place at the governor’s mansion in Indianapolis, are meant to introduce Daniels to a class of GOP heavy-hitters who could both finance and advise a White House campaign. Both attendees and Daniels’ advisers said the governor is not using the sit-downs to request commitments or even talking in any detail about the prospect of a run. Rather, the intimate get-togethers are more like get-to-know-you sessions – the political equivalent of a first date – in which the governor can tell the story of what he’s done in the Hoosier State and gauge interest in a possible candidacy and his visitors can get a first-hand look at the Republican who’s been winning so much insider buzz. “I was very impressed with Gov. Daniels,” said James Huffines, a Texas banker and major national donor who flew up from Austin for a June dinner. “I think he’s a fresh face for the Republican Party and I hope he does run.”

'2010 is gone for Democrats'

I think we are counting chickens not yet hatched. I think there are several senate and house races we will lose because we nominated candidates who can’t appeal to the center, when elections are decided. I suspect Harry Reid will still be running the Senate in January, though I hope not. We shall see. ~Bob. Excerpt: “He cannot save 2010,” the big-time Democrat is saying of Barack Obama. “It is gone. He must now concentrate on saving 2012. But the biggest fear of some of those close to him is that he might not really want to go on in 2012, that he might not really care.” In my experience, the big-time Democrat has hardly ever been wrong. He does not dislike President Obama. On the contrary, like most big-time Democrats, he worked hard for his election in 2008 and would much rather see Democrats hold onto Congress this Nov. 2 than lose.

He just doesn’t think it’s going to happen. A few months ago, he told me Democrats could win the House in a squeaker and also retain the Senate. We talked again a few days ago, and things had changed. “There is going to be a total wipeout, and it is totally going to be in Obama’s lap,” he said. “He should drop plans for Congress and plan for Nov. 3 and what he does next.” The big-time Democrat appreciates the unfairness of this. We always go around saying, “all politics is local,” until it comes to the midterm elections, when politics becomes a national referendum on the sitting president.

Another UFO Shuts Down Another Airport in China

Excerpt: Here we go again. Just months after an unidentified object temporarily shut down an airport in China, another UFO briefly halted operations at a different Chinese airport. According to initial sketchy reports in and the People's Daily Online, the UFO forced the Baotou airport in China's Inner Mongolia province to prevent three planes from landing for almost an hour Saturday night. Whatever the unknown object was -- and mind you, nobody is claiming aliens or interdimensional beings here -- it was reported hovering near the airport. As strictly a safety response, officials wouldn't allow aircraft to land and directed two of them to land at neighboring airports (where, presumably, the UFO had no interest). (It wasn’t a UFO. It was a top secret USAF craft that can go anywhere, penetrate Commie airspace at will and kill anyone. Or too much rice wine, could be that, too. ~Bob.)

Thomas Perez: Obama's one-man Gestapo

Excerpt: If you tried to help a "protected" Obama constituency, you had better hope that your best efforts didn't fail. The Gestapo will have you in its crosshairs. This is not the Gestapo of the thirties-Germany variety so vividly portrayed by Hollywood long after the bright shiny black uniforms and man-sized flashlights of the SS became extinct and irrelevant. Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General, heads the Justice Department's (DOJ) "Civil Rights" division. On September 3, the department filed a suit against "America's toughest sheriff" Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. The reason? The sheriff is actually (gasp!) enforcing the immigration laws that DOJ is supposed to uphold. Perez's minions — sans black uniforms and man-sized flashlights (this is an "American" Gestapo, after all) — have "raided" Sheriff Arpaio's office, falsely charging his operation with "discrimination." They can't prove that — especially since another federal agency — the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) had previously conducted its own probe of Sheriff Arpaio's office and found his officers "to be professional and meeting the requirement of the MOA" (Memorandum of Understanding). That included discrimination and racial profiling issues in dealing with illegal immigrants. That report from Byron York, who smoked out the ICE finding for the Washington Examiner.

Jewish Blood as Portrayed in the Western Media

Excerpt: Four young civilians: human beings, fathers, mothers, one of whom was also pregnant, collectively the parents of seven children, were brutally gunned down by armed, masked terrorists. Their murders were openly celebrated in the streets by their attackers and by thousands of their supporters….Allow me to first quote from the Bible of the intelligentsia aka The New York Times, which presents this incident on page 4, not on page 1; the early pages are usually reserved for all incidents in which Israelis fight back so that Israeli “evil” is seen immediately and framed as among the most “important” world news of the day. The accompanying Times headline? Unbelievably, it is this: “Killing of 4 Israeli Settlers on the Eve of Peace Talks Rattles Leaders on Both Sides.” It’s really not clear who killed the “settlers.” What is clear is that “both sides” are “rattled.” The piece opens with a paragraph that made me see red, both literally and metaphorically. It reads as follows: “The killing of four Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, in the West Bank on Tuesday evening rattled Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the eve of peace talks in Washington and underscored the disruptive role that the issue of Jewish settlements could play in the already fragile negotiations.” Note: This opening paragraph literally blames the past and future peace failures on the Israeli settlements. The Times neither blames nor characterizes Hamas accurately. It does not say the Arab Muslim terrorist group, Hamas, the Palestinian version of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, probably also backed by Iran and Hezbollah, and the group which is claiming responsibility for the attack—is also responsible for a deadly civil war with the not-so-moderate President Abbas, an Islamist war on Palestinian women, homosexuals, and dissidents; and a jihadic war against the Jews which began a long time ago and which will never stop until either such terrorist leaders and their propaganda are utterly vanquished militarily, or until the Jews have been driven out of the Holy Land once again. You would think that the world would recoil in horror—or that those who report the news, world-wide, would do so. Think again. These four precious souls were Israeli “settlers” and, as such, have already been so demonized that they are now seen as having provoked their bloody, pitiless deaths.

Cuba's leaders lay out details for layoffs

Excerpt: Cuba's communist leaders have already determined what soon-to-be-dismissed workers should do after they get pink slips in sweeping government layoffs, detailing a plan for them to raise rabbits, paint buildings, make bricks, collect garbage and pilot ferries across Havana's bay. Many of the workers tossed from state jobs into the marketplace could see their new enterprises fail within a year, officials acknowledge.

The plans, along with a timetable for which government sectors will feel the ax first, are laid out in an internal Communist Party document obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. Cuba on Monday announced plans to cut 500,000 state workers by March 2011 and help them get work in the private sector, in the most sweeping reforms instituted since President Raul Castro took over from his brother in 2008. The document says workers at the ministries of sugar, public health, tourism and agriculture will be let go first — and some layoffs already began in July. The last in line for cutbacks include Cuba's Civil Aviation and the ministries of foreign relations and social services.

Feds Spent $800,000 of Economic Stimulus on African Genital-Washing Program

Your tax dollars at work. This is not from The Onion. ~Bob. Excerpt: The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their genitals after having sex. The genitalia-washing program is part of a larger $12-million UCLA study examining how to better encourage Africans to undergo voluntary HIV testing and counseling – however, only the penis-washing study received money from the 2009 economic stimulus law. The washing portion of the study is set to end in 2011. “NIH Announces the Availability of Recovery Act Funds for Competitive Revision Applications,” the grant abstract states. “We propose to evaluate the feasibility of a post-coital genital hygiene study among men unwilling to be circumcised in Orange Farm, South Africa.” Because AIDS researchers have been unsuccessful in convincing most adult African men to undergo circumcision, the UCLA study proposes to determine whether researchers can develop an after-sex genitalia-washing regimen that they can then convince uncircumcised African men to follow.

Egyptian security forces storm monastery, assault monks

Excerpt: On Tuesday, September 7, at 8 PM a 300-man security force, backed by a large number of cars and armored vehicles, attacked the monastery of St. Macarius of Alexandria in Wadi Rayan, Fayoum province, 150 KM south of Cairo. The monks in the monastery were assaulted with tear gas, batons and stones. Three monks were seriously wounded. The security forces prevented the delivery of limestone bricks to be used for the construction of cells for the monks within the grounds of the ancient Monastery. The forces also attempted to confiscate bricks already delivered but the monks sat on the bricks and refused to move. The authorities claim that Wadi Rayan is a conservation area, while the monks say they are building cells within the grounds of the Monastery, which was built before the area was designated for conservation. (Under Islamic Shari’a law, the dhimmis--second class citizens who are Christians or Jews--are not allowed to expand or repair their places of worship. Whatever the excuse, they were just following the law. ~Bob.)

Justice Department IG to investigate voting rights section

Excerpt: Glenn Fine, Inspector General of the Justice Department, is planning to investigate “the enforcement of civil rights laws by the Voting Section of the Department’s Civil Rights Division,” according to a letter he sent today to Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Frank Wolf, R-Va., which was obtained by The Washington Examiner. The Voting Section has come under fire for its inaction in the investigation against the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), members of which were caught on film standing outside of a polling place wearing paramilitary uniforms and holding a weapon. (Invest in Whitewash. ~Bob.)

Is Delaware the key to the Senate majority?

Probably. Certainly Harry Reid will breath easier if Castle loses. But some conservative would rather liberals run the country than make any compromises. ~Bob. Excerpt: Republican hopes of winning back control of the Senate this fall, which went from no shot last year to an increasing possibility in recent months, could well hinge on what happens in today's Senate primary between Rep. Mike Castle and marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell. Republican political operatives -- virtually all of whom are supportive of Castle -- acknowledge that the race is close and fret that O'Donnell's small but motivated supporters (particularly in Sussex County) could matter in a small state where there are next-to-no recent examples of what the electorate in a competitive Republican primary will look like. Public polling has been spotty in the race -- a recent survey put O'Donnell ahead while Republican insiders had internal data late last week that showed Castle up double digits -- but one thing nearly everyone not named "O'Donnell" agrees on is that a victory by the "tea party"-backed candidate would greatly improve Newcastle County Executive Chris Coons' (D) chances of winning in the fall. With Castle as the nominee, Delaware has been -- and would be -- considered a likely Republican pickup; his moderate resume and long record of electoral success in the First State would likely serve him well in a general election. With O'Donnell as the nominee, however, the Delaware race would be, at best, a toss up. Again, there's little reliable general election polling, but O'Donnell's personal financial troubles--coupled with her inability to raise significant sums--make it hard to imagine her winning in Democratic-leaning Delaware. A defeat in Delaware would force Republicans to run the table in 10 states -- Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington state and Wisconsin -- to win the majority. Possible? Yes. Probable? Absolutely not. And that's why Delaware matters so much.

Obama Flunks the Leadership Test

Excerpt: The U.S. Marine Corps' 14 Leadership Traits serve as a standard against which to compare President Obama's actions in his nineteen months in office. By this standard, he is not simply an unqualified leader, but the antithesis of a good leader: an "un-leader." It is often difficult for us to prove things which are self-evident. Anecdotes and examples are not without merit, but in a vacuum, these alone often fall short. Without some set standard, it can always be argued that one's position is arbitrary and subjective, determined only by a preexisting bias. Such is perhaps the case when discussing the leadership qualities of an individual, and in particular a sitting president. Results might be the truest test of ability, but without the passage of time, all results are not known, and such a standard is subject to dispute. Polling data is not a true test of leadership attributes: many great leaders went against the prevailing mood only to be later acknowledged for their insight and resilience. How to judge? A standard for excellence in leadership is what we need, and where better to find such a standard than from the United States Marine Corps? The 14 Leadership Traits provide a time-tested (and battle-tested) list of what characterizes the good leader. And although there remains a certain degree of subjectivity when it comes to measuring an individual against these traits, in totality, they offer a very complete and convincing picture of the degree of one's leadership qualifications. (I have used the USMC 14 Traits of a Leader and the 11 Principles of Leadership in seminars on the subject I presented. Still great stuff. No one is a perfect leader, everyone can be a better leader and everyone can exert leadership daily. ~Bob.)

Guy Gabaldon, 80, Hero of Battle of Saipan, Dies

Semper Fidelis, Brother. Excerpt: Guy Gabaldon, a Marine private in World War II who used extraordinary grit and a smattering of Japanese phrases to capture more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers single-handedly in the battle for Saipan, died Thursday in Old Town, Fla. He was 80. The cause was heart disease, his son Guy Jr. said. In mid-June 1944, Private Gabaldon took part in the invasion of Saipan, a part of the Mariana Islands, as a member of the Second Marine Division. Thousands of Japanese soldiers staged suicide charges against American lines over the next several weeks while entire native families leaped to their deaths from cliffs to avoid falling into American hands. But Private Gabaldon, going out on what he called “lone wolf” missions, brought the enemy back alive. He earned the Navy Cross, the Marines’ highest award for valor after the Medal of Honor. It was presented to him as an upgrade from his wartime Silver Star after his exploits became widely known through the television program “This Is Your Life” and the Hollywood movie “Hell to Eternity” (1960). “Working alone in front of the lines,” the citation read, “he daringly entered enemy caves, pillboxes, buildings and jungle brush, frequently in the face of hostile fire, and succeeded in not only obtaining vital military information, but in capturing well over 1,000 enemy civilians and troops.”

1 comment:

  1. From the articles you have selected I was hit with my pet peeve. Obma as a leader.
    My gut turns everytime I see a uniform salute him.