Friday, March 11, 2011

Political Digest for March 11, 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.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

I don’t say it often enough, but thanks as always to the many people who feed this blog, taking the time to find new and current articles of interest (not just forwarding old glurge that been going around the net for weeks, months or years) and sending them to me. Often already formatted in the blog’s style, which improves the chances of my using them, time being very unforgiving. I could not put “our blog” together without you—the hours are not there.

Book Recommendation: Iran Covenant
Blog readers may recognize Chet Nagle’s name, as I often link to his essays, ever since a fellow Marine linked me to him. When I discovered he had a novel out, it went on my Christmas list. I took it on a business trip last week, a mistake, as I got far less sleep than needed on a couple of nights. Nagle is a former Navel aviator and intelligence agent in the Middle East and it shows in the details and his knowledge of the subject. Plus he can grab you with his writing. This thriller is a great, but scary read, as we will likely be facing some version of this plot in the next decade. I recommend it. It would make a great birthday gift for your Congress Critter. It’s also available as an e-book here:

Red Alert: Saudi Police Fire On Protesters In Oil Hub
Excerpt: Saudi police have reportedly opened gunfire on and launched stun grenades at several hundred protesters March 10 rallying in the heavily Shiite-populated city of Qatif in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. The decision to employ violence in this latest crackdown comes a day before Friday prayers, after which various Saudi opposition groups were planning to rally in the streets. Unrest has been simmering in the Saudi kingdom over the past couple weeks, with mostly Sunni youth, human rights activists and intellectuals in Riyadh and Jeddah campaigning for greater political freedoms, including the call for a constitutional monarchy. A so-called “Day of Rage” of protests across the country has been called for March 11 by Facebook groups Hanyn (Nostalgia) Revolution and the Free Youth Coalition following Friday prayers. What is most critical to Saudi Arabia, however, is Shiite-driven unrest in the country’s Eastern Province. Shiite activists and clerics have become more vocal in recent weeks in expressing their dissent and have been attempting to dodge Saudi security forces.

Wis. GOP Bypasses Dems, Cuts Collective Bargaining
Excerpt: The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans discovered a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats and approve an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide. (…) The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. But Republicans on Wednesday took all the spending measures out of the legislation and a special committee of lawmakers from both the Senate and Assembly approved the revised bill a short time later. The unexpected yet surprisingly simple procedural move ended a stalemate that had threatened to drag on indefinitely. Until Wednesday's stunning vote, it appeared the standoff would persist until Democrats returned to Madison from their self-imposed exile. ( Now that the bomb has been dropped, beware of the fallout. –Ron P. Personally I loved the TV news footage of the peaceful, civil, responsible leftists clawing, screaming, threatening and intimidating as they stormed the Wisconsin Capital. Except those who were elected to serve in the Senate, trying to force compliance with their minority will by hiding out in Illinois, Land of Fugitive Democrats. Say, we should change our license plates! ~Bob.

The political dangers of what happened in Wisconsin
Excerpt: After a lengthy political standoff, Wisconsin state Senate Republicans used a bit of legislative fancywork to pass a bill this evening that effectively strips public-sector unions of the right to collectively bargain. In essence, the Senate Republicans pared down Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget bill to include only measures -- including the collective bargaining provision -- that spend no money. Those provisions are able to be passed without a quorum of legislators present. That's exactly what the Senate Republicans did. While the next few days will be telling in terms of where the story goes, there is, traditionally, real political danger in using legislative maneuvering to pass controversial bills. (I think there was a quorum, 50% plus one, needed to pass regular legislation. just not the super quorum needed to pass a budget. So they separated the two. Nothing fancy, standard legislative procedure, except that 14 senators were shirking their sworn duty. As someone once said, "Elections have Consequences." ~Bob.)

Death Threats
I blame Sarah Palin for this death threat sent to the GOP Senators in Wisconsin. I watch the news and I know she is responsible for all the threats of violence in the country. The left would be totally civil if not for her stirring up anger. ~Bob. Excerpt: Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes (sic) will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for more information on possible scenarios in which you will die. WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me have decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and the people that support the dictator have to die.

Bravery and Common Sense Prevail in Wisconsin
Excerpt: In what Reuters is calling “a confrontation with unions that could be the biggest since then President Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers nearly 30 years ago,” the Wisconsin Senate approved a scaled-down version of Governor Scott Walker’s (R) budget-repair bill last night that would rein in government union collective bargaining powers. After securing approval from three widely respected nonpartisan agencies—the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council, and the Legislative Reference Bureau—Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald removed the appropriations measures from Walker’s budget, thus eliminating the need for any of the 14 truant Democratic Senators to be present for the vote. The State Assembly will take up the new version of the bill at 11 a.m. today, and if it passes, Walker will have achieved a significant victory for taxpayers everywhere. The courage of the Wisconsin Senate conservatives cannot be understated. Before the vote, lawmakers were threatened with death and physical violence. After the vote, thousands of protesters stormed into the capitol building, ignoring announcements from police that the building was closed. Once inside, and at great risk to the public welfare, activists handcuffed some doors to the capitol shut. When security escorted the Senators to another building, a Democrat tipped off the mob, which then surrounded their cars and tried to break their windows as Senators returned home.

Wisconsin Union Wisconsin Republican senators leave through secret tunnel after march 9th vote
The “New Civility” of the left—when they don’t get their way. ~Bob.

Angry Union Protesters Are Storming WI Capitol Building
Excerpt: Barbarians at the gate—our public servants. ~Bob. Excerpt: A video from a McIver Institute reporter captures images of protesters pouring into the building after fellow demonstrators rebuffed capitol police orders to keep the building’s doors closed. At one point, police are forced to drag one protester away from the doors to get them closed:

Rep. Peter King's Muslim hearings: A key moment in an angry conversation
Who defames Islam and Muslims? People who kill others, mostly fellow Muslims over differences in doctrine. People who riot and kill others—mostly fellow Muslims—over cartoons. Muslims who kill people for blasphemy, or apostasy or adultery because the Qur’an and Hadith told them to. People who believe murder is blessed by God/Allah, and call on him when murdering innocents. And Muslims who use the chimera of “Islamophobia” to silence any criticism of such things. ~Bob. Excerpt: It won't be on the official agenda. It might not even be asked out loud. But it may be the most important question during a congressional hearing Thursday on homegrown Islamic terrorists. How should America talk about Muslim Americans? Even in the tense months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, public discussions of Islamic extremists were usually accompanied by a careful disclaimer that a peaceful religion had been hijacked. But fueled by the Fort Hood massacre, controversy over a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero and a series of high-profile arrests of homegrown terrorists, conservatives in particular have grown increasingly bold in criticizing Islam itself. They have objected to mosques, banned sharia (Islamic law) and attacked passages in the Koran.

Terrorism by Muslim-Americans Down in 2010
Excerpt: A new study released today by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security shows that the number of Muslim-Americans who perpetrated or were arrested for terrorist acts declined sharply in 2010. The study, “Muslim American Terrorism Since 9/11: An Accounting,” reports that while 47 Muslim-Americans committed or were arrested for terrorist crimes in 2009, the number dropped to 20 this past year. The author of the study, Charles Kurzman, Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, said, “Of course, even a single terrorist plot is too many. But this trend offers a challenge for the American public: If we ratchet up our security concerns when the rate of terrorism rises, should we ratchet down our concerns when it falls?” The study also reported that: The number of Muslim-Americans engaged in terrorist acts with domestic targets declined from 18 in 2009 to 10 in 2010.....Eleven Muslim Americans have successfully executed terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11, killing 33 people. This is about 3 deaths per year. There have been approximately 150,000 murders in the United States since 9/11. According to the FBI there were approximately 15,241 murders in the United States in 2009. Tips from the Muslim American community provided the source of information that led to a terrorist plot being thwarted in 48 of 120 cases involving Muslim Americans. (I can't say that my concern is "falling," giving the activities of overseas groups and Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. ~Bob.)

Islamists Dominate DOJ's List of Terror Prosecutions
Excerpt: More than 80 percent of all convictions tied to international terrorist groups and homegrown terrorism since 9/11 involve defendants driven by a radical Islamist agenda, a review of shows. Though Muslims represent about 1 percent of the American population, they constitute defendants in 186 of the 228 cases DOJ lists. On Thursday, the House Homeland Security Committee holds its first hearing into radicalization among Muslim Americans. Critics have taken issue with the focus on one religious minority, but the DOJ list shows that radical Islamists are disproportionately involved in terror-related crimes. Al-Qaida is involved in the largest number of prosecutions, representing 30 percent of the 228 terror cases involving an identified group. Hizballah-affiliated defendants are involved in 10.5 percent of the cases and Hamas is part of 9 percent. Pakistani-based was involved in 6.5 percent of the cases. The in Sri Lanka and the Colombian lead the non-Islamist terrorist groups, combining for 14 percent of the total. (Terror is violence against innocents designed to achieve a political goal. They misdirect legitimate concerns about Jihadist terror by lumping in random crimes that aren't political or religiously motivated to water down the concerns. If that downs work, they try to silence you by calling you racist or Islamophobic. ~Bob.)

Police in Los Angeles Step Up Efforts to Gain Muslims’ Trust
Excerpt: Sgt. Mike Abdeen, on duty in the county Sheriff’s Department, got a call last year from a Muslim father who was worried about his son. The young man had grown a full beard and was spending a lot of time alone in his room, on the computer. The father was worried that perhaps his son had fallen in with Islamic extremists, and wanted Sergeant Abdeen to look into it. Gathering before prayers at the center were, from right, Maher Hatthout, Hassan Zeeni, Deputy Chief Mike Downing, Mohammad Kamal and Officer Chand Syed. The sergeant approached the young man after Friday Prayer, talked with him over coffee and kept in touch over the next few months. It turned out that the youth was hardly a budding terrorist; he was just a spiritual searcher, a recent college graduate who had grown a beard to express his Muslim identity. For Sergeant Abdeen, a Palestinian-American who runs a pioneering sheriff’s unit charged with forging connections between law enforcement and local Muslims, the episode was a sign of progress. Until recently, a concern like this would probably have gone unreported because of the fear some Muslims have about talking to law enforcement. “If the father didn’t trust us to do the right thing, he wouldn’t call us,” the sergeant said. The question of whether American Muslims do, or do not, cooperate with law enforcement agents in preventing potential terrorist attacks is at the heart of Congressional hearings that begin Thursday in Washington. The hearings have been called by Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island, N.Y., and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He says that American Muslims do not cooperate, and that he will call witnesses who will prove it.

Muslim American groups, not Rep. Pete King, are the ones fomenting hysteria with hearings on tap
Excerpt: Never in my entire career in Washington have I encountered the hype and scare tactics of those opposing the hearings into Islamic radicalization by Rep. Pete King. A classic example was a headline on "Inquiry by congressional committee looks like inquisition to many Muslims." The line of attack is now familiar: If King (R-L.I.) were truly interested in violent extremism, his hearings would focus on a wide range of groups that wreak havoc on America, including neo-Nazis and others; by focusing solely on Muslim extremism, the argument goes, he is betraying his bias. This is utterly ridiculous. Our organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, recently did an analysis of all terrorism convictions based on statistics released by the Justice Department. These stats show that more than 80% of all convictions tied to international terrorist groups and homegrown terrorism since 9/11 involve defendants driven by a radical Islamist agenda. Though Muslims represent less than 1% of the American population, they constitute defendants in 186 of the 228 cases the Justice Department lists.

Tender, Loving CAIR Islamist Bigots Lose One - And They're Outraged
Excerpt: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is furious. For the first time since the birth of Mohammed, it isn’t getting its way in Washington. In the past, whenever our government raised the possibility of doing the least little thing of which CAIR might not wholeheartedly approve, the soft-core jihadis shrieked, “Bigotry!” And presidents, cabinet secretaries, senators, representatives and bureaucrats—even intelligence analysts and military officers--ran for cover (while, no doubt, suggesting that their spouses don head-scarves for a probationary period). In the face of Islamist terrorism, we’ve been foolish. In the face of Islamist bullying of our government, we’ve been cowards. Now, just this once, CAIR isn’t being allowed to dictate its sharia-flavored will to our nation’s capital. Representative Peter King (R-NY), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is marching ahead with hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”

Senate rejects dueling spending plans, leaves legislative stalemate
Excerpt: Senators voted largely along party lines Wednesday to reject two proposals to cut federal spending, leaving a legislative stalemate that will have to be resolved briskly to avert another potential government shutdown.
Iraq Veteran Needs Kidney Transplant
Excerpt: Marine Sgt. Jake Chadwick fought in Iraq, and he returned home to face another battle. After his tour of duty, he married Victoria and re-enlisted for another four years. The young couple could not have been happier to learn a baby would soon complete their family, but it was a bittersweet time. Ella Marie was born at the same time they learned Sgt. Chadwick had kidney failure and needed a transplant. (If you want to send a card expressing support, Sgt. Chadwick's address is Sergeant
Jacob Chadwick C/O Operation Gratitude
16444 Refugio Road Encino, CA 91436

U.N. Body Condemns Israel’s Treatment of Palestinian Women, but Ignores Plight of Women in Iran and Libya
Excerpt: A U.N. policy-making body dedicated to “gender equality and the advancement of women” adopted a resolution accusing Israel of holding back the advancement of Palestinian women, but it took no action on the emergency in Libya or the legally enshrined discrimination faced by women in Iran. The only country-specific resolution passed by the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at its recent session in New York was one condemning Israel over the Palestinian issue. (Does anyone really need help understanding just how laughable this action is?  Ron P. The “
Arab Street
” will believe anything they are told, especially if it gives them a chance to feed their hatred.. You could spread the rumor that the White House was stocked with toilet paper printed with verses of the Qur’an, and hundreds or even thousands would die in the riots. Most of them Muslims. ~Bob.)

Preaching to the Choir
Excerpt: But it is also true that conservative sites are visited by readers of a different persuasion, some of whom are obviously trolls, members of what Robert Gibbs has called the “professional left,” whose only purpose is to subvert, insult and denounce, and many of whom, it appears, are actually on salary. There is clearly no dealing with them, no trading of ideas with such interlopers via comments and threads. The only language they have mastered is parrotese. However, there is also a species of antiphrastic readers — i.e., who have misconstrued the meaning of “liberal” — who come with the laudable intention of scanning the counter-arguments, perhaps of learning what the “other side” has to say, of entering into legitimate debate, and, optimally, of broadening their understanding of the acetylene issues of the day. Perhaps even of scrolling toward enlightenment. (…) Given this development, the posting of articles and columns elaborating a conservative point of view is not merely a function of preaching to the choir, but also of engaging the visitors from another continent of thought and belief who drop in to check out the scene, to observe the nature of the proceedings, even to appreciate the quaintness — or the drama — of the liturgy, like tourists enjoying the spectacle of the service in some ancient cathedral mentioned in a Lonely Planet guidebook. What is interesting from the standpoint of clergy and congregation, so to speak, is the occasional conversion, or at least the willingness on the part of some of these visitors to reflect on what they have experienced. (This is a very good and interesting article that hits the bull’s-eye with me. As you may know, I just had a short article published at American Thinker. The article wasn’t especially political in any partisan sense; I simply said “Do SOMETHING, damnit!” about the Middle East in 850 words. I didn’t even advocate a course of action to follow. The editor appears to have disliked my title, “The Value of Timely Decisions,” and replaced it with “While Obama Dithers…” His title is far catchier, but also far more partisan. It drew 32 comments: six were favorable, four were unfavorable, two were nit-picky, a few clearly didn’t understand what they had read, and most of the rest either had no relationship to the piece at all or were the continuation of some argument that must have originated on some other story’s thread. I’ve never asked Bob how difficult it is to moderate the comments here at TOJ, but the few I read are all polite and on-point. Perhaps we at TOJ are just nicer, more thoughtful people. More likely, the professional left just hasn’t noticed us yet. Let us treasure this time of flying under their radar. Ron P. Comments that come in with pieces are thoughtful, which is why I use a lot of them. I’ve started to think of this as “our blog,” not just mind, but my mostly unsung contributors. Posted comments can be nasty, foul-mouthed screeds—see the long list on “I’m Tired.”
I generally let them damn themselves with their own words. I do screen out span and sites selling something. I have banned a couple of lefties who tried to take over the blog by posting long screeds on almost every post. They can get their own blog—it’s free. ~Bob.)

Reid signals Dems are ready to compromise on spending cuts
And neither makes more than a tiny dent in the coming fiscal disaster. But they figure disaster later is better than Wisconsin today. ~Bob. Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday he’s ready to compromise on spending after a GOP spending-cut bill won more votes in the Senate than the Democratic alternative. “We accept the lessons of yesterday's vote,” Reid said in floor comments. “We know we’ll have to make a sacrifice to reach consensus, and we are willing to do that.” The GOP measure, which would cut spending this year by $57 billion, lost by a vote of 44-56, while the Democratic bill to cut $6.5 billion was rejected, 42-58.

Seniors told to fear GOP spending cuts
Business as usual. Fire up the geezers and the money printing presses. The collapse is coming. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Obama administration escalated a fight with Republicans over spending on Wednesday, warning that millions of seniors could see their Medicare payments blocked under the House GOP plan. Seniors could also see Social Security payments delayed if the measure backed by the GOP cutting another $57 billion in spending this year is enacted, the administration said. 

GOP targets salaries, 'offensive' bonuses of federal workers
When I announced I was leaving the state senate, the state GOP chair, who was close to the first Bush administration told me if I’d be the party’s sacrificial lamb for state treasurer, I could be reasonably assured of a job with the feds. I wasn’t interested in being a bureaucrat or a suicide mission, and said no. Maybe I erred? ~Bob. Cost-cutting House Republicans on Wednesday made it clear that they are eyeing the salaries of federal workers. And they don’t like what they see. During a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing, panel Chairman Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) noted that “federal employees on average earned $101,628 in total compensation in 2010, nearly four times more than the average private-sector worker.”

Sectarian clashes in Egypt challenge revolutionary idealism
Lebanon was until fairly recently, a majority Christian country. Now they are a pressured minority. In 20 years, the Christians and Jews will be gone—dead or fled—from every currently-majority Muslim country, and will be on the run from the new Muslim majority countries in Europe. As radicalization spreads, no one will dare even discuss political Islam even in the United States. Rep. King is standing against a bitter tide. ~Bob. Excerpt: But such idealism might be waning as Egyptians confront the worst outbreak of religious violence since Hosni Mubarak was swept out of power Feb. 11. The deaths of 13 people in clashes in Cairo between Muslims and Christians late Tuesday have prompted calls for religious tolerance and raised the prospect of a deepening sectarian divide after a post-revolution honeymoon period. Street battles broke out after Coptic Christians set up roadblocks in major arteries to protest the destruction of one of their churches. Security is scant in this metropolis of 18 million, where the military-controlled government is still groping to find a way to tamp down crime with no functioning police force. Although clashes between Muslims and Christians are not new in Egypt, they often take place far from the capital. That the overnight violence continued for hours near the heart of Cairo is bound to add to concerns among Christians that weeks of tumult in Egypt have left them particularly vulnerable in a country that is overwhelmingly Muslim. The prospect that political Islamists might gain strength in Egypt is seen among Copts as particularly worrying, after three decades in which many had come to regard Mubarak's secular regime as a kind of protector.

9 Christians Killed, 150 Injured in Attack by 15,000 Muslims and Egyptian Army
Excerpt: The incident started when 500 Coptic demonstrators from Manshier Nasr, also known as "Garbage City," which is near the Monastery, were on their way to join the Coptic protest near the Egyptian TV Building, to show their solidarity with the Copts of the village of Soul in Atfif, who were forcibly displaced from their village and their church torched (AINA 3-5-2011). Nearly 15,000 Muslims from the nearby area of Sayeda Aisha and Mokattam, who were armed with weapons including automatic guns, confronted the Copts. (This is from the Gates of Vienna Newsfeed 9 March - they don't claim to verify everything that gets sent to them - Kate)

Excerpt: George Bush in his 2006 State of the Union address said: “Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem; America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.” Well here in 2011 the gas pump still beckons us like a junkie’s needle and in the dark shadows of the unstable parts of the world remain the dealers enabling our addiction to oil. With a two year stock rally in place you have to begin to wonder when rising prices at the pump will have a significant impact on the economy. Back in June of 2008 when oil was $147 per barrel and gas was $4 a gallon, American consumers were cutting back on their spending habits and that monetary pullback affected corporate outlooks which contributed to the sell-off on Wall Street. Today oil is over $100 a barrel with a national average of $3.52 a gallon with drivers on the west coast paying close to $4. The destiny of the two year stock rally may be fueled by oil’s influence over the world economy. In the trading pits here at the CBOE there is an old saying: “Puts are your friend.” (Full disclosure—Peter’s wife is a colleague at my job. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The response of our State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, to the murder of two U.S. Airmen and the wounding of two others in Germany was firmly noncommittal. Crowley was unwilling to call the incident terrorism. After all, he said, you wouldn't call the shooter who killed federal judge John Roll, and five other people, and who seriously wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson a terrorist, would you? According to many witnesses, the assailant in Germany yelled "Allahu Akhbar" (Arabic for "God is Great") as he gunned down the young American servicemen, who were in uniform. The killer is a Kosovar Muslim, news reports confirm, but Crowley didn't want to jump to any conclusions. This invertebrate response is of a piece with this administration's entire worldview. Remember, last November's Defense Department "report" on the Fort Hood shootings managed to go to great lengths to avoid mentioning Islamist terror. In fact, the words Islamic, Muslim, and jihad appear nowhere in that report. Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan also yelled "Allahu Akhbar" as he unleashed his murderous assault on his fellow Army personnel. Hasan and his family had been under surveillance since 9/11. Government investigators questioned people in Virginia about them.

GOP Senators Introduce National 'Right-to-Work' Bill to Restrict Unions
Free working people from union thugs? Not on Barack Obama’s watch! ~Bob. Excerpt: A group of conservative U.S. senators has introduced a bill to restrict unions from forcing workers to join and pay dues as a condition of employment. The move on Capitol Hill comes as several states consider what's known as "right-to-work" legislation -- proposals that have met stiff resistance. Indiana Republicans recently shelved their right-to-work bill after it sparked protests at the capital and after Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. fled the state to block it, mimicking the tactic used by Wisconsin lawmakers holding up Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union proposal.

Idaho Votes to Phase Out Teacher Tenure, Restrict Collective Bargaining
Excerpt: The Idaho Legislature has approved a bill that would phase out tenure for new teachers and limit their collective-bargaining rights, marking a victory for lawmakers seeking union reforms in state capitals across the country. The bill went to Gov. Butch Otter's desk after it was approved by the House on a 48-22 vote, with nine Republicans joining Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. in opposition to the GOP-backed measure after hours of debate. The measure is part of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's plan to reform the K-12 education system in Idaho. It would restrict collective bargaining agreements to salaries and benefits while also phasing out "tenure" for new educators and current teachers who have yet to attain it. New educators would instead be offered one- to two-year contracts following a three-year probationary period.

Putting Health Care on a Sustainable Path
Excerpt: National Center for Policy Analysis President, CEO and Kellye Wright Fellow John C. Goodman testified before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on March 9. He discussed major structural flaws in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Each flaw is so potentially damaging, Congress will have to resort to major corrective action even if critics of the new health care law are not part of it. Further, each must be addressed in any new attempt to create workable health care reform, Goodman said. Goodman focused on five main themes: The growing cost of the individual and employer mandates. The bizarre system of subsidies. The perverse incentives the reform creates for insurers and individuals. The impossible expectations placed on the health care workforce. And the large benefit cuts for seniors. Goodman hopes Republicans and Democrats can agree on reforms that will truly control runaway entitlement spending. In the meantime, the approach should be to cancel cuts that are never going to be made anyway and pay for the cancellation by delaying the implementation of key provisions of the PPACA.

Reforming Public Employee Compensation
Screw the employees—Democrats and union fat cats think they will benefit by forcing layoffs on evil Republicans, who are trying to fill budget gaps created by Democrats and union excesses. Given the economic ignorance of the public, they may be right. ~Bob. Excerpt: State and local governments all across the country are under financial strain, and lawmakers of both parties are looking to cut spending and balance budgets while maintaining vital services. To make ends meet, cuts must be made where the money is -- and since state and local governments spend nearly half their budgets on employee salaries and benefits, public-employee compensation costs will be front and center in budget discussions all over the country, says Josh Barro, the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Benefits paid or owed to public-employee unions are not the sole source of fiscal trouble in the states. But employee compensation accounts for nearly half of state and local spending, making reforms to compensation a necessary part of the solution. We have seen this over the last two years, with state and local elected officials from both political parties showing a new willingness to seek cost control in employee compensation. Their hands are being forced by budget realities. Not recommended here is one strategy that has been frequently proposed in state capitols and city halls: layoffs. This is not to say that layoffs are always inappropriate; they may be the best choice for some governments, especially those with an unusually large workforce relative to population. But layoffs are usually the most disruptive way to reduce employee compensation costs, as they reduce the quality of public services and de-stimulate the economy, says Barro.

Conservatives Push Back Against ‘Infectuous’ Wisconsin Public Unions
Excerpt: There is no carnival so vulgar that it cannot be made more so by the presence of Jesse Jackson, who told ABC News that he found the spirit of the assembled protesters in Madison "infectious. Oh, how sunny and bright and positively limitless the future must have seemed. For American liberals, Barack Obama’s inauguration signaled far, far more than a new administration. In their new president they had a man who not only shared their disdain for America’s history but who traveled the world apologizing for it, a man who knew how to stiff America’s allies and kowtow to her enemies. And what was wrong with that? Any country that had remained on friendly terms with America through the wretchedness of the Bush-Cheney years was surely just as worthy of contempt as America itself. But all of that was about to change: Guantanamo would be closed, perhaps to be offered to Fidel Castro in a show of contrition for all the trouble we’ve caused him. Iraq (the Bad War) and Afghanistan (the Good War that somehow became another Bad War) would be abandoned to the care of their rightful masters, again with our apologies. The whole strategic map of the Good Guys and the Bad Guys was about to be inverted, and how the former Bad Guys would love us now. And here at home, free health care for all! Never mind that a majority of Americans said they didn’t want it. What did they know? We, the coastal elites, the graduates of the finest schools, the guests on Meet the Press, the anointed ones, we had to pass the bill so they could see what was in it, and then the ignorant proles would all dutifully fall into line. And who cares that not a single Republican voted for it in the Senate or the House. Soon there wouldn’t even be any Republicans, so discredited, so retrograde, so completely unhip and unworthy of their New Leader were they. Barack Obama was president, Nancy Pelosi was speaker of the House, and Harry Reid was Senate majority leader. The country, as they warned, was about to be fundamentally transformed, and your choice was between allowing yourself to be transformed along with it or else be trampled and forgotten.

NATO Seizes Iranian
Arms En Route
To Afghan Taliban Forces
Excerpt: In new proof the Iranian regime is arming Taliban fighters, NATO forces in Afghanistan have seized 48 Iranian-made rockets intended to aid the Taliban’s spring battle campaign, the most powerful illicit weapons ever intercepted en route from the neighboring state, officials said Wednesday. The shipment is seen as a serious escalation in Iran’s state support of the Taliban insurgency, according to NATO officials and described in detail by an international intelligence official. It’s also an escalation in the proxy war Western officials say Iran is waging against U.S. and other Western forces in Afghanistan, as Washington continues to lobby for tougher international sanctions against Tehran to dissuade it from its alleged goal of building nuclear weapons. (Why haven't we closed the Iranian border? –DH)

Stats don't reveal true border crisis
Excerpt: For the past several weeks, all eyes have focused on the turmoil in the Middle East and the daily atrocities being committed by Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. While the situation obviously deserves the American public's close attention, there's another crisis that's flying below the radar: the influx of cartel-related activity and violence along the U.S. side of the Mexican border. But not everyone here in the United States agrees on the depth of the problem. Based on some of her recent statements related to border security, sometimes I wonder whether Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is talking about the Utah-Arizona border or the U.S.-Mexico border.

America Must Discriminate
Excerpt: To survive as an independent nation, America must discriminate. America must exclude, and no longer tolerate its enemies. America must be prejudiced. History presents no example of any nation with a constitutional invitation to all foreigners, all religions, all values, or all social institutions. So-called Americans who advocate plurality, diversity, and the multicultural ‘melting pot’ approach to nationhood are not Americans, but the enemies of America. I’m afraid that includes many so-called “conservatives.” Every nation must have the power to determine who its citizens are. A nation without this right, without this power, will soon not exist as a nation. It will be overrun with invaders of every ilk, even as we see America invaded today. It will become a ware house of crooks, globalists, and desperados. In America today, our most deadly, determined foes–the murderous Muslims, are invited here. They are encouraged to come to America and to denounce every principle upon which the government of America was founded. They are defended by congress and the media. They are praised by every oedipal white liberal. This is the antithesis of nationhood. As a member of the Comanche Nation, I must remind Americans of what it means to be a nation at all. I hold out the Indian way as exemplary. Indian nations are public exhibit No.1 for what it means to be a nation. I can freely say to all non-Comanches, here or abroad, “You will never be Comanches. You will never be a member of the Comanche Nation.” (Well, the Comanche should understand the results of weak immigration laws, if anyone does! ~Bob.)

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: The Stakelbeck Report
Excerpt: Below is Erick Stakelbeck’s excellent summation of the “hate speech” case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. His report for CBN News is a covers last month’s conviction of Elisabeth. (Eliminating free speech in Europe. ~Bob.)

Slavery in Sudan
Excerpt: Below is a news report — from CNN, of all places — about the enslavement of black Christians from southern Sudan by Muslim Arabs in the north. It is believed that thousands of slaves are still being held by Arabs in northern Sudan. (Muhammad kept slaves and allowed the rape of slave women. Muhammad is the example of perfect conduct. Therefore in fundamental Islam, slavery is ordained by Allah. ~Bob.)

NATO troops kill Karzai's cousin in botched raid, Afghans say
Excerpt: A NATO special operations team mistakenly killed a relative of President Hamid Karzai during a raid late Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Thursday, the latest incident in recent days to trigger an angry reaction from the president. Yaar Mohammad Khan, 65, was fatally shot when he exited his home in the Dand district of Kandahar province as soldiers approached, the president's half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, and other local leaders said.

Will Libya Again Become the Arsenal of Terrorism?
Excerpt: During the 1970s and 1980s, Libya served as the arsenal of terrorism. While this role may have received the most publicity when large shipments of weapons were intercepted that Libya was trying to send to the Provincial Irish Republican Army, Libyan involvement in arming terrorist groups was far more widespread. Traces conducted on the weapons used in terrorist attacks by groups such as the Abu Nidal Organization frequently showed that the weapons had come from Libya. In fact, there were specific lot numbers of Soviet-manufactured F1 hand grenades that became widely known in the counterterrorism community as signature items tied to Libyan support of terrorist groups. As we have discussed, the conflict in Libya could provide jihadists in Libya more room to operate than they have enjoyed for many years. This operational freedom for the jihadists might have an impact not only in Libya but also in the broader region, and one significant way this impact could manifest itself is in the supply of arms. The looting of the arms depots in Libya is reminiscent of the looting in Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003. There are also reports that foreign governments are discussing providing arms to the Libyan rebels in the eastern part of the country. While it is far from clear if any of those discussions are serious or whether any potential patron would ever follow through, past operations to arm rebels have had long-lasting repercussions in places like Afghanistan and Central America.

Rauf explains how "radicalization" happens, insulting Muslims in the process by implying they have no self control
Excerpt: This television appearance (thanks to Awake) is not the first time Rauf has turned the prospect of Muslim rage into a veiled threat against those who speak critically of Islam or behavior by Muslims, and implied that Muslims cannot control themselves in response. Note how, in his remarks below, "radicalized" Muslims are only reactors to provocations. It is automatic, and it is always the West's fault. Essentially, his argument depends on the idea of a one-way, almost gravitational pull by which all supposed "extremism" swirls -- "spirals," he says -- into what he ultimately portrays as an insensible hive of easily enraged drones who have no free will, and no self-restraint to keep from escalating the situation from words to physical violence. It's not Islam... it's The Spiral.

Forced marriages 'at record high' - South Wales Police
Notice the BBC is too intimidated to name individuals, or what group might be involved in “forced marriages” and “honour killings.” Probably Methodists stirred up by Sarah Palin. ~Bob. Excerpt: South Wales Police say they are dealing with the largest number of cases of forced marriage and honour based-violence they have ever seen. In the past 12 months, the force has dealt with 49 cases of forced marriage, up from a typical 30-35, with new cases almost every week. The four Welsh forces have been involved in about 60 cases, with four in north Wales in six months.

Egyptian protestor at women's rally: "We rule by the Qur'an and the Qur'an does not allow a woman to rule men”
Excerpt: Qur'an 4:34 attaches a woman's value to obedience ("good women are obedient"), and gives men the right -- from Allah's own command -- to beat (yes, beat) women from whom they "fear disobedience." The spirit of that verse is alive and well in those who turned out to grope, shove, belittle, and shout at the relatively few women who dared participate in the "Million Woman March" in Cairo. The Qur'an also sets a woman's testimony as worth half that of a man (2:282), another clear impediment to assuming a position of authority. And Muhammad himself pronounced that women are "deficient in religion and intellect," and comprise the majority of those spending eternity in hellfire (Sahih Bukhari 1.6.301, 4.54.464). In other words, the thugs in
Tahrir Square
yesterday weren't making this stuff up, underscoring the true challenge for meaningful reforms of women's rights in Egypt.

Six-Figure Bus Drivers and Other Working-Class Heroes
Excerpt: Can we stop acting as if people who work for the government are the heroes of working people? Fine, we understand that Wisconsin public sector employees like the system that pays them an average of $76,500 per year, with splendiferous benefits, and are fighting like wildcats against any proposed reforms to that system. But it's madness to keep treating people who are promoting their own self-interest as if they are James Meredith walking into the University of Mississippi. This isn't how we usually view people fighting for their own economic interests. When Wall Street opposes financial reforms or a tobacco company opposes new cigarette taxes, no one hails them as "working men and women" who "deserve a decent pay and decent retirement." We're not told Wall Street has a "fundamental right" not to be regulated, or tobacco companies promoting their own interests are just trying to "help working people and middle-class people retain a good job in America." People on the other side of the issue aren't said to be "just trying to kick the other guy in the shin and exterminate him." And yet all that was said by the Democratic governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, on MSNBC's "Hardball" last week, about government workers fighting to preserve their own Alex Rodriguez-like employment contracts.

A no-fly zone in Libya would mean war in Libya
Saddam killed ten times, maybe a 100 times as many of his people, including using poison gas, invaded a peaceful neighbor, started a war with Iran that left millions dead, fed his enemies feet first into wood chippers, allowed his son to order up school girls to be raped, allowed the torture of losing athletes, and on it went. And the left acts like removing him was a moral disaster—but we better go after Gadhafi right now, trading blood for oil, in their timeless phrase. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama can choose war with Moammar Gadhafi, or he can choose to keep the U.S. military out of Libya. But, contrary to claims of Sen. John Kerry and a platoon of pundits, Obama cannot walk a middle line by imposing a "no-fly zone" or staging an antiseptic air campaign. Imposing a no-fly zone is not a step short of war - it is war. And how many Americans are willing to go to war for Libya? Many commentators, hoping a no-fly zone would end Gadhafi's air attacks on protesters and rebels, point to the decade-long no-fly rules the United States enforced in Iraq. But Michael Knights, a leading expert on no-fly zones, says that the Iraq model is neither apt nor desirable. Knights, a Lafer fellow in the Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program, wrote his doctoral dissertation on no-fly zones. He says enforcing a no-fly zone "is basically an act of war." Secretary of Defense Robert Gates seems to agree. "A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses." This would include - as Kerry put it on CBS on Sunday - "cratering their runways" to ground their jets. "An attack on Libya," as Gates puts it, which would mean dropping bombs or shooting rockets, is pretty hard to distinguish from war.

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