Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Political Digest for February 22, 2011

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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Book Recommendation: Sowing the Wind: The Seeds of Conflict in the Middle East
By John Keay. I’ve recommended this before, but given what is going on there, if you and Obama and Clinton haven’t read it, now might be a good time. A broad look at an area we will be engaged with for a long time. This is an excellent one-volume history of the Middle East, from 1890 through the Suez crisis in 1956, with an epilog to bring us up to date. The catalog of crime and invasion, contention, execution and insurrection, siege and betrayal of Hashemite vs. Wahhabi, Sunni vs. Shia vs. Kurd vs. Turk, Allies vs. Ottomans, Britain vs. France, Zionists vs. Muslims, and other groups great and small would give a tourist pause, never mind a diplomat or soldier.

Unrest and the Libyan Military
Excerpt: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has ordered the Libyan air force to fire on military installations in Libya, according to what the BBC has characterized as a reliable source. Al Jazeera has suggested that air force fighters have opened fire on crowds of protesters. Though the latter would be particularly draconian, the more important question is whether these signs reflect a split within the regime and Gadhafi using military force to crush opposition to his regime emerging from the military or other security forces. Similar reports of the Libyan navy firing on targets onshore also are emerging, as well as reports that Gadhafi has given execution orders to soldiers who have refused to fire on Libyan protesters. The application of conventional weaponry is noteworthy and will warrant scrutiny — particularly in terms of the targets of the attacks and the rationale behind them. The use of these weapons is more appropriate for other armed entities rather than unarmed protesters. Libyan troops are good at instilling fear, but not good at stabilizing a situation, so the military may not be able to get in on the ground due to lost capability.

U.S. orders non-essential diplomats to leave Libya as violence intensifies
Excerpt: Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's regime showed more signs of crumbling Monday as scores were reportedly killed in the capital, the U.S. ordered non-essential diplomats to leave the North African nation, and the U.N. secretary general told Gaddafi the violence must end immediately.

Protesters continue to flood Wisconsin Capitol amid budget impasse
Excerpt: With tens of thousands of protesters jamming the Capitol and many Wisconsin schools closed for a third day, state troopers were enlisted Friday in the hunt for 14 Democratic state senators whose disappearance has prevented a vote on the new governor's controversial budget proposal.

Watershed Moment in Wisconsin
Excerpt: What’s happening in Madison is one front in the battle for the soul of America. Does that sound like an exaggeration? It isn’t. One thing for which we must be grateful to Barack Obama is the way he has dramatized a basic existential choice facing this country. That choice can be posed in various ways depending on the vantage point you assume. If you look at the evolution of the country from the time of the Founders, you might say that we face a choice between being custodians of freedom, on the one hand, or superintendents of security, on the other. If you consider the issue in terms of politics, in terms of how we choose to govern ourselves, we face a choice between limited government, which ensures greater individual freedom while also demanding greater individual responsibility, and unlimited government, which promises greater security while also requiring greater government control over the levers of economic life.

Must read: Wisconsin's Real Doctors and Their Fake Sick Notes for Protesters
Message from teachers and doctors to Madison students—like my ten year old granddaughter—it’s okay to lie to get your way on something. ~Bob. Excerpt: But last week some of these weary warriors carried their patient advocacy too far. In videos breathlessly presented throughout the conservative mediasphere this weekend [scroll down to see], doctor after doctor is videotaped writing patently fraudulent sick notes so that the protesting teachers (whose contracts specify that missing work without an excuse can result in dismissal) can keep marching on against the state's union-busting Republican government. After viewing the videos at my request last night, Dr. Arthur Derse called me up exclaiming, "Holy mackerel! It's much worse than it looked in the paper. I'm stunned, absolutely stunned." Dr. Derse is the Director of Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "When all's said and done, it's really the profession of medicine that has the black eye in this case," he says. There is no question these doctors are masking political opinion in the white coat of the medical profession, Dr. Derse believes. "The videos are pretty damning." It's sad, but what puzzles me most is how in the world three of the four physicians I can identify from these videos and other media reports are faculty members of UW's Family Medicine department, and one is a senior resident in that same department. It's a good training program, committed to providing sorely-needed primary care doctors to the state of Wisconsin. It teaches professionalism, and its faculty are supposed to model integrity. What were they thinking?

University of Wisconsin Medical School Launches Investigation of Doctors’ Fake Sick Notes
Excerpt: Breitbarts Big Government has learned that the University of Wisconsin medical school is investigating reports that its physicians handed out fake medical excuses to union teachers who were planning to call out sick this week.

Excerpt: Herman Cain was out today with the Wisconsin Tea Party showing support for Governor Walker as he tries to unburden his state from the shackles of public sector unions:

Wisconsin’s teachers make a little more money than they’re letting on
Excerpt: Wisconsin’s public school teachers and the unions that represent them are saying budget cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker would be devastating — but many of those teachers make more money than they’re letting on. The Daily Caller has broken out the salaries and benefits of teachers who have publicly entered the debate by commenting to the press.

Wisconsin: What’s the Right Analogy?
Excerpt: Suddenly, all of the nation’s eyes are on Madison, Wisconsin, as a national battle long in the brewing was set off by the sudden reversal of political fortune last fall in the historical home of the “progressive” movement, when Republicans took over the statehouse and governorship. Public employee unions have been the last redoubt of the union movement, with unionized workers less than ten percent of the private work force. They have served to create an unvirtuous cycle of political graft and contribution that has long played a key element in Democrat electoral strategy, one that was crucial to Barack Obama’s winning the White House in 2008 and will be so again next year. And if they lose in this previously most “progressive” of states, others will surely follow, not just in the upper Midwest, but potentially across the country even to leftist bastions like California, whose shores managed to avoid November’s political tsunami. So the Democrats, including the president, have correctly assessed that if their public-employee union allies lose this battle and are no longer able to demand ever-increasing wages and benefits, and funnel much of them from their (many of them unwilling) members to Democrat campaign coffers, their political fortunes will fall even further from their well-deserved “shellacking” in November. Like the coming loss of seats due to redistricting, this will be an even greater consequence of this election than mere loss of seats, due to its long-term strategic implications. And so concerned are they that they’ve even been willing to let slip the mask of “moderate’ and “centrist” from the president to help their minions.

A Streak of Castroism in Wisconsin
Excerpt: Someone wrote me that the “public employees” in Wisconsin reminded her of Chávez and his goons in Venezuela. Actually, they remind me of Cuba. There, the dictatorship sends its loyalists to the homes of those suspected of not being loyalists. They scream, beat on things, denounce, and threaten. The idea is, the “disloyal” Cubans are supposed to quake in their homes, and they do. These tactics are called actos de repudio — “acts of repudiation.” They are a mainstay of the regime. In Wisconsin, the schoolteachers and other “public employee” beauties are going to the homes of Republican lawmakers, screaming, denouncing, etc. The situation has gotten very bad. We know where you live. Yesterday, I had a talk with Sen. Randy Hopper, recorded here.
Republican lawmakers have received threats, and credible ones: threats to their physical well-being. They are not disclosing their movements, whether they are sleeping in their own homes. They are working with law enforcement on how best to protect themselves and their families. (Apparently that was then, and this is now. What's gone on in Wisconsin is the complete opposite of civility, yet no one in the mainstream media seems to have noticed this. Where are all the people who screamed about Palin and other conservatives causing problems by their lack of civility? Oops, I forgot... we apply that standard when it serves progressives, and another standard when it doesn't. How terribly sad this mess is. --Del)

Fixed labor game is ending in Wisconsin: More states already are battling union bosses for democracy
Excerpt: Across the nation, public-sector unions realize the game is up, and they aren’t happy about it. They’re doing everything in their considerable power to stop newly elected governors and legislatures from doing what they were elected to do: bring state finances under control by revoking the union privileges that have strained state budgets for years. The question now is, “Who governs America?” If the unions win, the answer will no longer be “the people.” In Wisconsin, the state Capitol is under siege by labor unions. Thousands turned out to protest Gov. Scott Walker‘s emergency budget bill, which would require teachers to pay more toward their own pensions and limit collective bargaining. According to anecdotal reports, police advised workers in the Capitol to lock their doors after protesters marched through the halls yelling and banging drums. A sickout strike by teachers closed schools. Mr. Walker put the National Guard on alert in case the public-safety unions went on strike. Finally, all 13 Democratic senators fled the state to stop a vote on the bill.

Michigan orders DPS to make huge cuts
It will not surprise me if the collapse starts in Detroit. Thomas Sowell has written that before the riots destroyed black businesses and infrastructure, Detroit had the highest per-capita black income in the country. Since then, it’s been un-savable. “It’s a dirty bird that craps in its own nest,” the saying goes. Teachers in Madison, WI might contemplate this future if the budget cannot be controlled. ~Bob. Excerpt: State education officials have ordered Robert Bobb to immediately implement a financial restructuring plan that balances the district's books by closing half of its schools, swelling high school class sizes to 60 students and consolidating operations.

Increased U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan killing few high-value militants
Excerpt: CIA drone attacks in Pakistan killed at least 581 militants last year, according to independent estimates. The number of those militants noteworthy enough to appear on a U.S. list of most-wanted terrorists: two. Despite a major escalation in the number of unmanned Predator strikes being carried out under the Obama administration, data from government and independent sources indicate that the number of high-ranking militants being killed as a result has either slipped or barely increased. Even more generous counts - which indicate that the CIA killed as many as 13 "high-value targets" - suggest that the drone program is hitting senior operatives only a fraction of the time. (I’m for killing low-value militants, too. ~Bob.)

House GOP spares no pet projects in trimming budget
Excerpt: Everyone knew Republicans would try to defund President Obama's signature health-care overhaul. They've made that clear since taking over the House majority. And it was no surprise that they would strip federal money from NPR and Planned Parenthood. That's been on the to-do list. But cutting funds for border security and disaster first responders? New military equipment? Farm assistance programs? In a mammoth spending bill that ended up being about principle more than achievable cuts, the tea-party-charged House Republicans began to define who they are and what kind of government they value.

Promises of Green Jobs Don't Live Up to Expectations
Excerpt: With $2.3 billion in Recovery Act tax credits allocated for green manufacturers, President Obama and other Democratic politicians have high hopes for green technology. But their expectations clash with both economic theory and practical experience in Europe, says Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute. Consider: The capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy. Wind and solar power have raised household energy prices by 7.5 percent in Germany. Look at Spain's experience: Since 2000, Spain spent 571,138 euro (about $774,000) on each green job, including subsidies of more than 1 million euro (about $1.4 million) per job in the wind industry. The programs creating those jobs destroyed nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy (2.2 jobs destroyed for every green job created). Each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs elsewhere in the economy on average. These costs do not reflect Spain's particular approach but rather the nature of schemes to promote renewable energy sources, says Green. Central planners in the United States trying to promote green industry will fare no better at creating jobs or stimulating the economy. Green jobs merely replace jobs in other sectors and actually contribute less to economic growth.

Keeping Out Foreign Workers Is Crushing America's Growth
Meanwhile, the border is wide open to low skill workers. ~Bob. Excerpt: Firms hire H-1B workers as they expand, so the cap on H-1Bs severely limits companies' ability to expand and hire more workers. America's companies are just beginning to recover from the recent economic downturn. The government should make expansion and innovation easier, not harder. H-1B regulations and fees also discourage foreign investment in the United States. They cost outsourcing companies Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys $250 million annually, according to the Financial Times. As a result, the companies, both based in India, recently announced that they are seeking to invest in European and emerging markets that don't saddle them with such burdens. H1-B restrictions also divert American firms to expanding abroad rather than at home in order to hire the workers they need. For example, Microsoft recently opened a campus in Canada because the U.S. government would not allow it to hire enough highly skilled foreigners. If the future of American technological development is going to take place in America, companies need to be able to import the talent they need to succeed.

Light Rail Ridership Down, Operating Expenses Up
“Light Rail” is one of the Articles of Faith in the liberal catechism. ~Bob. Excerpt: The opening of the $2 billion, 27-mile Green Line now makes Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) the operator of the biggest light rail system in the nation. But to what end? asks Bill Ceverha, a former six-term member of the Texas Legislature. The numbers below are from DART documents: The fixed-route (bus and rail) ridership on DART is less than it was 10 years ago, despite population in the service area growing 17 percent since 2000.
In that same period, DART has collected almost $4 billion ($300 million to $400 million a year) in local sales taxes and hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars on a system that makes hardly a dent in area traffic congestion. DART's staff has grown from just under 2,800 employees in 2000 to 3,900 in 2010, an increase of 39 percent.

Yes, They’re Overpaid
Excerpt: Unfortunately, the debate over federal pay has been fraught with extreme claims. Some politicians have accused federal workers of making double what they deserve, while government unions maintain they are underpaid by around 25 percent. The rhetorical back and forth has largely hidden a substantial academic literature, dating back to the 1970s, that compares the pay of federal and private workers. Economists have addressed the issue with a variety of techniques and from a number of different angles. Over the past year, we have worked to update their results with the most recent data, and our conclusions have been the same as theirs: Federal employees do receive a substantial wage premium by comparison with similar private workers. (Plus time off to riot and campaign. ~Bob.)

House Republicans win spending cuts after marathon funding debate
Excerpt: In a rare Saturday morning session, the House voted to cut more than $60 billion in spending for the federal government for the remainder of the year. At 4:40 a.m., lawmakers voted 235-189 to send the so-called continuing resolution to the Senate. Not one Democrat voted for the bill that would cut at least $61 billion, from 2010 levels, in spending for federal programs and agencies.

Excerpt: There is one group of workers who have signed a consent decree with the federal government, agreeing to never form a union. Do you know who they are? Answer below the fold. The economics of unions is quite simple. Like medieval guilds, the goal of a modern union is to monopolize the supply of labor to a market. (See David Henderson here.) With that power, the union can then limit the labor supply and secure above-market wages. Why do unions push for higher wages and benefits even when they cause layoffs? Because trading off smaller output for higher prices is what all monopolies do. It is sometimes thought that unions are needed to offset the superior bargaining power of employers. But this is bad economics. Do you need to band with other consumers in order to bargain better with Wal-mart? Of course not. Wal-mart’s prices are low not because of your bargaining power, but because it has competitors. Similarly, competition among employers is what keeps wages high in the labor market. It is sometimes argued that unions are needed to lift people out of poverty. This is even worse economics. Above-market wages for unionized workers are possible only if less fortunate workers can be kept out of the market….. Who are the people left out of the union? Historically, they are blacks, women and other minorities. Either they are denied admission to the union or they are the last to be called to the job site. Racial and gender discrimination by unions has been far worse than any case I’ve ever heard about involving employers. But I’ve never heard of a civil rights case brought against a union. (Are they exempt from the civil rights law?)

U.S. officials: Raymond Davis, accused in Pakistan shootings, worked for CIA
Excerpt: The American who fatally shot two men in Pakistan last month and who has been described publicly as a diplomat is a security contractor for the CIA who was part of a secret agency team operating out of a safe house in Lahore, U.S. officials said. The disclosure compounds an already combustible stand-off between the two countries at a time of growing distrust between them and complicates U.S. efforts to win the contractor's release. The contractor, Raymond A. Davis, 36, has been detained in a Pakistani jail since his arrest after opening fire on two Pakistani men whom Davis later said were attempting to rob him at a traffic signal in Lahore. The Washington Post learned of Davis's CIA affiliation after his arrest, but agreed not to publish the information at the request of senior U.S. intelligence officials, who cited concern for Davis's safety if his true employment status were disclosed.

Bahrain demonstrators return to protest site in capital after military withdraws
Excerpt: Anti-government protesters streamed back into Bahrain's
Pearl Square
roundabout Saturday to continue their push for political reforms after tanks and armored personnel carriers rumbled out of the capital following an order by the crown prince for the military to withdraw. Police at first fired tear gas at the protesters as they approached the site they were forcibly expelled from just three days ago, witnesses said, but then security forces pulled back to allow the demonstrators to reach the roundabout, located in the financial district of the capital, Manama. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who has been assigned to try to broker a dialogue with the country's mostly Shiite-led opposition, appears to hope that by halting the heavy-handed tactics employed by security services over the past few days, he can create an opening for discussion of the protesters' grievances.

Extremist cleric to lead White House protest calling for Muslims to 'rise up and establish Islamic state in America'
Excerpt: A hardline Muslim cleric who sparked anger across the U.S. with his anti-American comments in a television interview this month is to hold a protest outside the White House. British extremist Anjem Choudary - who once said 'the flag of Islam will fly over the White House' - has announced he will lead a demonstration calling on Muslims to establish the Sharia law across America. The rally, planned for March 3, is to take place just weeks after his on-screen row with Fox News presenter Sean Hannity. Mr Choudary, 43, called Americans 'the biggest criminals in the world today.' The former leader of outlawed group Islam4UK told the Daily Star 'we expect thousands to come out and support us.' [Well, you have to give him the same compliment one could give Hitler after he published Mein Kampf. That is, he is not shy about telling everyone just what he is up to. I wonder if our present Administration has the chops to deny these fanatics entry to the USA. Or if those in charge would actually give them a permit for such a rally, calling for the destruction of our nation. Maybe I'm naive, but I really don't think this guy is going to be allowed to spew his hatred in front of the White House. (If he is allowed to do that, then we know we're in even deeper trouble than we ever thought possible.) –Del. Maybe the plan is to get them all in one place, then…. No? ~Bob.]

Uncovered Video: Obama Leads SEIU Chant After Vowing to Paint the Nation Purple
Organize to give government unions more power? Paint the nation purple with SEIU? Right. ~Bob.

ACLU pressures California law enforcement to steer clear of illegal aliens
Excerpt: In an open letter to law enforcement leaders, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked sheriffs in California to cease harmful practices that target illegal alien communities. The letter comes at a time when California is burdened with nearly $30 billion budget deficits and a new Rasmussen Poll that states 67 percent of Americans want states to tackle the illegal alien problem plaguing the country. The ACLU contends apprehending illegal aliens costs local agencies money they no longer have to combat those residing in California unlawfully.

Mexican drug cartels hold 12-year-old for ransom – in New Mexico
Excerpt: Thugs working for Mexican drug cartels kidnapped the 12-year-old daughter of a ranch foreman in New Mexico, holding the girl for ransom until her family and neighbors came up with $80,000 for her release. They didn’t dare call law enforcement for help because of very real fears their calls would be monitored by the kidnappers using sophisticated communications relay stations erected on U.S. public lands.

TSA Source: Armed Agent Slips Past DFW Body Scanner
Feel secure? Don’t Touch my Glock! ~Bob. Excerpt: An undercover TSA agent was able to get through security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a handgun during testing of the enhanced-imaging body scanners, according to a high-ranking, inside source at the Transportation Security Administration. The source said the undercover agent carried a pistol in her undergarments when she put the body scanners to the test. The officer successfully made it through the airport's body scanners every time she tried, the source said.

'No One Should Live Below A Certain Income Level,' U.N. Secretary-General Says
Excerpt: According to the U.N., 80 percent of the world’s people lack “adequate social protection.” To eliminate the problem, the U.N. is trying to establish what it calls a global "social protection floor." Such a “floor” would guarantee food security, health services for all, and old-age pensions for the 80 percent of the world’s people believed to lack such protections. In his message urging “social justice for all,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “No one should live below a certain income level, and everyone should have access to essential public services such as water and sanitation, health and education.” (This is so wrong and on so many different levels, it’s difficult to decide where to begin a comment. It appears Obama and the Dems aren’t the only ones who see ever-bigger government as the solution to all problems, all the time, for all the people. If this was simply a doddering old man speaking at a party or on a street corner, no one would waste their time listening; as the Chief Executive of the largest international forum, Moon and his message will be trumpeted around the world as wise and heroic. The first lesson of the politics of envy is this: someone is ALWAYS worse off than you are. You say you only make $14,000 a year? About one third of the globe’s population lives on about 10% of that or less (this isn’t your fault, so don’t feel guilty). And, they do it without electricity, running water, air conditioning, automobiles, or access to Wal-Mart or other “stores for the rich.” This is the open doorway to Hell on Earth, and a direct attack on all of Western civilization. Ron P.)

Looming Government Shutdown Anarchy?
Excerpt: Rep. Steve King (IA-5 R) As the battle of the budget wages on, and the March 4th D-Day moves inexorably closer, and with the Continuing Resolution passed in the House of Representatives early this morning, including two amendments by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to defund Obamacare, the media is increasingly raising the specter of a possible government shutdown. What every Republican, every patriot, every person conceivably affected needs to understand is how this will impact average Americans. Will airports shut down because air traffic controllers have gone on leave? Will those mean Republicans throw granny out in the street when Social Security stops sending payments? Will everyone who receives checks in the mail see their income dry up because the Post Office shuts down?

Badly-wounded Iraq veteran is heckled by fellow students in debate over military ban
Excerpt: He survived being shot 11 times in Iraq, lost a leg and spent two years in hospital recovering from his wounds before winning a place at an Ivy League university. But the courage of former U.S. army staff sergeant Anthony Maschek did not deter his fellow students from heckling him when he bravely took to the stage in a debate over Columbia University's military ban. Mr Maschek, 28, was hissed, booed and jeered at when he spoke at a debate over whether the college in New York should allow the Reserve Officers' Training Corps back on campus. (Whenever I read stories like this, I am reminded of the quote; "A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure". –MasterGuns)

Quote from The Patriot Post www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." --British author C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

But That’s What Community Organizers Do
Excerpt: Why, why, why all this? In a word, because that is what community organizers are supposed to do, even — or rather, especially — when they become the establishment. Cannot we answer Giuliani’s question? As a general rule, the “organizer” is not indigenous to the community, but as a sort of roaming utopian he travels widely to detect supposed foci of injustice (think an Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson), even to the point of worrying about professors being locked out of their homes or the tranquility of ice cream parlors in Arizona. Almost immediately there is an artificial divide constructed between an oppressive “them” and a victimized “us,” usually on rigid class, gender, and racial lines. Some such university study is cited to “prove” injustice based on the absence of parity in income, health care, or education. Then the community organizer rallies the “community” to “get in their face” and agitate, which can encompass anything from suing in court, holding mass rallies, conducting voter registration drives with accordant intimidation, visiting the private homes of supposedly culpable officials, bankers, and the wealthy, and threatening strikes, slow-downs and disruptions. These metaphorical “hostage takers” must be “punished” as “enemies,” relegated to a proverbial backseat, and in such a fight have their knives rhetorically trumped by our guns. Indeed, the supposed exploiters are deemed “fat cats” who often favor “Wall Street,” enjoy privileges that accord them Super Bowl or Las Vegas junkets, continually “raise the bar” on the rest of us folks, and can’t seem to figure out that at some point they have surely made enough money from others.

CMS Official Confirms That Four States Have Been Granted ObamaCare Waivers
Excerpt: An Obama administration official on Wednesday confirmed that four states -- including Florida, Tennessee and Ohio -- have been granted waivers from the regulatory requirements of the national health care law. Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, confirmed the news under questioning from Rep. Cliff Stearns at an oversight hearing for the House Energy and Commerce committee. According to Larsen, the waivers have been granted to states that have programs allowing or requiring the kind of limited medical coverage plans that would otherwise be prohibited by ObamaCare. He said the waivers are good for one year and would not necessarily apply to all plans in the states outside the state-based programs.

Islam's the problems, not Muslims, says Senator Cory Bernardi
Excerpt: TONY Abbott's official frontbench understudy has reignited immigration tensions by denouncing Islam as a "totalitarian, political and religious ideology". Liberal parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi revealed last night he had received death threats after making the comments. While the immigration debate usually differentiates between the religion of Islam and extreme fundamentalist interpretations, Senator Bernardi confronted the issue head-on yesterday. "Islam itself is the problem - it's not Muslims," he told radio station MTR. "Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology.

In His Own Image: Obama Adminstration Creates "Fake People
Excerpt: The campaign for Obama 2012 is on, and so the propaganda and the manipulation of opinion is full on. His people are creating "fake people" to redirect "dialogue" online. Fitting, I think, considering his whole narrative is fake. The morally bankrupt left sees nothing wrong in this. But imagine if the Bush administration had done this, or attempted to get away with any of the egregious privacy violations on Obama's laundry list of anti-American actions.

Could the Kingdom of Bahrain Become an Iranian Pearl Harbor?
Excerpt: The Islamic Republic of Iran has reiterated in the past that its military strategy is based on “asymmetric warfare“ – Tehran will not confront the U.S. and its allies directly, given the superior military technology of the West, but rather through subversion and terrorism. Bahrain is, in fact, the ideal target for such an Iranian strategy. The actual stakes in the struggle for Bahrain are far greater than one would think, given its small physical size (760 sq. km.) and its tiny population (738,000). When the U.S. entered the Second World War, Imperial Japan launched a sea-borne airstrike against the headquarters and ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Today, as is well known, the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet is in Bahrain. Iran does not need to employ its air force against the U.S. naval facility, but only to topple the pro-American regime of the al-Khalifa family and replace it with a new Bahraini regime backed by the Shi’a majority which seeks the immediate withdrawal of the fleet

The Week That Was: 2011-02-19
Excerpt: As discussed in last week's TWTW, western governments have spent tens of billions of dollars pursuing an answer to the wrong scientific question: what is the risk of human-induced global warming / climate change? As a result, the governments have funded a science that is focused on attributing climate change to humans rather than understanding all the causes of climate change. Under this approach critical assertions are not tested against empirical, physical evidence. The assertions that carbon dioxide is the principal driver of climate change and that humans are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming do not stand up to the physical evidence of past climate change. The failure to conduct rigorous hypothesis testing results in a discipline that is something other than a rigorous physical science. (If anyone wishes to sign up for these free weekly updates on climate science and policy, here's the link: http://www.sepp.org/the-week-that-was.cfm. Directly under the header box is a place to sign up. I've been getting the updates for a while and never yet had any spam from them. Ron P.)

The Global Insurrection
Excerpt: The real conspiracies, today as in the 18th century, are among the democrats within the tyrannical regimes, or–little noted so far–in the hands of the tyrants. The Saudis sent help to Mubarak, and lobbied Washington to do the same. Some of this has been reported, and no doubt there is lots more flowing through classified channels. I have no doubt that the Iranians, Syrians and Turks are coordinating strategy and sharing intelligence, as are the members of the terror network. They have two objectives: preserve Islamic regimes they like, and topple their enemies by taking over the insurrection and turning it to carry out their wicked aims. The vast insurrection is aimed at sitting rulers, but not all the insurrectionaries are fighting for freedom. Indeed, many of them are prepared for martyrdom if they can advance the cause of even more terrible tyrannies, wrapped in the glory of a new caliphate. The demonstrations in Bahrain and Jordan, like the virtual civil war in Yemen, are sponsored by the intelligence arms of the Iranian Islamic Republic, and supported by killers from Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Guards Corps, and their proxies. And we have already seen the Egyptian Islamists come front and center to lay claim to the country. (Part of the difficulty we Americans are having with understanding the happenings in the Middle East is the tendency of everyone to see the familiar. When we see political protest in other lands, we try to view it in the terms we know, the “under-dogs” are probably the good guys, “The Man” is probably the villain. But because we don’t know the players—and there is no scorecard to purchase—we simply have no way to tell, in most cases, who are the good and bad guys. Iran is the exception to this. We KNOW who the bad guys are in Iran; even if the new fellows are also bad guys, the chance that they would be worse than the ayatollahs is very slim. Perhaps our government has been doing supportive things to help the Iranian Greens in ways that aren’t publicly known. I hope this is the case, because it would be unforgivable if we are ignoring them. Ron P.)

Hiding Details of Dubious Deal, U.S. Invokes National Security
Excerpt: A onetime biomedical technician with a penchant for gambling, Mr. Montgomery is at the center of a tale that features terrorism scares, secret White House briefings, backing from prominent Republicans, backdoor deal-making and fantastic-sounding computer technology. Interviews with more than two dozen current and former officials and business associates and a review of documents show that Mr. Montgomery and his associates received more than $20 million in government contracts by claiming that software he had developed could help stop Al Qaeda’s next attack on the United States. But the technology appears to have been a hoax, and a series of government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Air Force, repeatedly missed the warning signs, the records and interviews show. Mr. Montgomery’s former lawyer, Michael Flynn — who now describes Mr. Montgomery as a “con man” — says he believes that the administration has been shutting off scrutiny of Mr. Montgomery’s business for fear of revealing that the government has been duped. (The verb “to scrowl” means to simultaneously scream with rage while howling with laughter. Here is an opportunity to use it. Ron P.)

President Obama just won re-election (SATIRE)
Election 2012 is now over. Without a single primary or caucus being held, yesterday Barack Obama quietly won his re-election. This is awful but true. Just as 2010 was like 1994, 2012 will be like 1996. Barack Obama is now a two term leader. President Barack Obama (Photo: Associated Press)With no fanfare, he adopted the winning 1996 Clinton strategy that will be the theme of his entire second term. His new quiet motto is "Do nothing." "Hope" and "change" will now give way to contentment and status quo. "Yes, we can" will be explained as "Yes, we did," evidence be damned. The decision to do nothing is a brilliant strategy. Leaders get rewarded in the history books when bold gambles work out well. Barack Obama is as timid and risk averse as it gets. He is bold only on the three things he cares about: health care, education, and the environment/energy. Everything else is platitudes: He says nothing and offends no one. The only message is that he wants to win re-election in 2012.

Do Not Take Them For Granted
Excerpt: You can’t ever take what or who you have for granted. In a flash you could get a Marine in Dress Blues at your door, in a flash you family member could be gone. Don’t go to bed mad, don’t be afraid to say sorry, and never ever take your warriors for granted. The silence at any memorial or funeral is bad enough, its worse if we take them for granted. (Excellent and moving video tribute at the end. I often wonder about the thoughts and feelings of the crews of the C-17 airplanes that fly our warriors from Afghanistan or Iraq to Dover AFB. Has to be a sobering flight, but at the same time a very rewarding sense of pride and humbleness. MasterGuns)

Anchor Babies and the Attempt to Silence Critics of Illegal Immigration
Attempts to silence use of the term "anchor baby" are nothing more than an attempt to marginalize and silence anyone who disagrees with the liberal viewpoint on illegal immigration: if you use the term you are racist and therefore your ideas are not worth listening to. This is a response to an opinion piece in the Arizona Republic by James Garcia. Read here how the Arizona Republic censored Ronaldo Reagan's use of the words "anchor baby" in the comments after the article. "Anchor babies" are identified as such because their parents are illegally in the country. And, these parents are fully aware that once the child is born he/she/they are immediately eligible for government handouts, among these are WIC subsidies, Food Stamps, housing assistance and welfare.

Environmentalist Fraud and Manslaughter
Excerpt: Many chemotherapy drugs for treating cancer have highly unpleasant side effects – hair loss, vomiting, intense joint pain, liver damage and fetal defects, to name just a few. But anyone trying to ban the drugs would be tarred, feathered and run out of town. And rightly so. The drugs’ benefits vastly outweigh their risks. They save lives. We need to use chemo drugs carefully, but we need to use them. The same commonsense reasoning should apply to the Third World equivalent of chemotherapy drugs: DDT and other insecticides to combat malaria. Up to half a billion people are infected annually by this vicious disease, nearly a million die, countless survivors are left with permanent brain damage, and 90% of this carnage is in sub-Saharan Africa, the most impoverished region on Earth. These chemicals don’t cure malaria – they prevent it.

Iran's Green Movement Lives
'Hang them! Hang them!" the mob shouted while goose-stepping towards the podium. Some beat their chests and others raised clenched fists. "Allah is the greatest!" chanted the turbaned clerics. This was the scene Tuesday in the Islamic Majlis, Iran's ersatz parliament. Members raged against the "heads of sedition," calling for their execution. By this they meant three of the most prominent leaders of Iran's reformist Green Movement—former President Mohammad Khatami, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mehdi Karroubi, a cleric and 2009 presidential candidate who chaired the Majilis just six years ago.

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