Monday, March 7, 2011

Political Digest for March 7, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Book Recommendation: Brute--the Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine by Robert Coram
This is a terrific biography of the man it calls, with justification, "the most important officer in the history of the United States Marine Corps." Brute Krulak was my commanding general when I was on Okinawa and in Vietnam, though, thankfully, Cpl. Hall never did anything brave or disastrous enough to come to his attention. We all knew he was a demanding perfectionist, a brilliant thinker and very short--God help the Marine who looked down at him during an inspection. Are you interested in WWII? It was Brute who pushed development of the Higgins boat, which Ike said won the war. Brute was the driving force behind the "Chowder Society" which saved not only the Marine Corps, but prevented the imposition of a military strongman who reported only to the president, a threat to American democracy. Korea? Brute told the Army that a Marine brigade could sail in five days, when the Army was being pushed back--and delivered, saving the Pusan Perimeter. He was high in the councils planning the Inchon landing for Macarthur, and pioneered helicopters and vertical envelopment, a revolutionary tactic the Army would adopt from him for Vietnam. He developed the strategy of protecting villagers with CAP units and was the only senior general to tell Lyndon Johnson his and Westmoreland's strategy was failing--which cost him a fourth star and the position of Commandant of the Corps--which his son would later hold. Nor does the book neglect Brute's hero-size flaws. The only glaring error I noted was the author saying the Marines lost more men on Iwo Jima than the Japanese. We took more casualties--30,000 to 22,000. But most of the 22,000 were dead, while the Marines and Navy personnel had about 6,800 killed. That's still a horrible butcher's bill, but not more than the enemy paid in "lost." Still, Coram is a fine writer--I finished the book in two days. And I highly recommend it.

The lunacy of the Eco-nuts: Oil? No. Natural gas? No. Nuclear? No. Coal? No. Clear-cutting pristine mountaintops for wind-farms: Hell, yes!
Excerpt: The pristine views from several New Hampshire peaks will be inaccessible to hikers and snowmobilers thanks to a delightful wind-farm project that will clear-cut a set of mountaintops. A couple of us rode over the peak yesterday and the very top was closed due to logging. We stopped to inquire and were told they were clearing the top, down to the 2700 ft elevation for the installation of Wind Towers. 2700 feet is roughly where the "T" intersection (134/110) is on the South side of the peak. They said they were clearing it all by April 1st, and that 30 Wind Towers were being installed in the area (maybe 30 including those at this location)...

Nuke reactors to power your home? Communities could run for decades without having to refuel
Excerpt: Bill Gates announced last week that his start-up company, TerraPower LLC, is ready to build and test a small-scale nuclear reactor that theoretically could power a local community for decades without having to be refueled. The TerraPower traveling-wave reactor is designed to be buried in the ground, where it would run for 100 years. Describing how the reactor would work, the Wall Street Journal explained last week that enriched uranium would shoot neutrons into the depleted uranium making up approximately 90 percent of the fuel. That process would produce plutonium, designed to burn slowly in a controlled reaction that would continue over many years without the need of human intervention. The Wall Street Journal also pointed out that large supplies of depleted uranium are available as a byproduct of today's water-cooled nuclear reactors. Gates was intrigued by the potential for small nuclear reactors to produce cheap, zero-carbon energy and its ability to turn what is a waste product (depleted uranium) into fuel. (If this catches on, Bye-Bye to the 'Global Caliphate,' because petrodollars will evaporate. The big problem in making such a drastic (and nationally beneficial) change would be intense opposition from oil & petroleum industry interests throughout the state legislatures and in congress. Massive financial interests would be in peril and the fight would be ferocious. Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. Sir Isaac Newton...........or woe to whomever tries to rock the boat of an economic status quo. --DH. The envirowackos should love it--no carbon footprint. But they'll fight it too, on general nihilist principles. ~Bob.)

White House praises Muslims ahead of House hearing
Excerpt: Muslim Americans are not part of the terrorism problem facing the U.S. — they are part of the solution, a top White House official said Sunday at a Washington-area mosque. Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough set the Obama administration's tone for discussions as tensions escalate before the first in a series of congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization. The hearings, chaired by New York Republican Peter King, will focus on the level of cooperation from the Muslim community to help law enforcement combat radicalization. The majority of the recent terror plots and attempts against the U.S. have involved people espousing a radical and violent view of Islam. Just a few weeks ago a college student from Saudi Arabia who studied chemical engineering in Texas was arrested after he bought explosive chemicals online. It was part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages and blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.

Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White indicted, faces 7 felony counts
Excerpt: The state’s top election official will face seven felony counts, including voter fraud, perjury and theft, a special prosecutor said today. Secretary of State Charlie White was accused of intentionally voting in the wrong precinct during the May 2010 primary, a potential felony. White turned himself in at the Hamilton County Jail Thursday afternoon and was released after posting $10,000 bond. If ultimately convicted of a felony, White would have to give up the position that he won by a wide margin over Democrat Vop Osili in November’s election. White has admitted to voting in a district where he no longer lived. (It appears foolishness is blind to party labels. Of course, if he'd been a Democrat, he'd have voted in both precincts. Ron P.)

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association condemns Obama remarks on ICE agents in Mexico.
Excerpt: Today, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) announced its opposition to remarks made by President Obama regarding the role and safety of ICE Special Agents assigned to Mexico. After his meeting with Mexico President Calderon on Thursday, President Obama stated, “There are laws in place in Mexico that say our agents should not be armed,” and “We do not carry out law enforcement activities inside of Mexico.” President Obama also stated that the role of ICE Agents was an “advisory” one. FLEOA vehemently disagrees with both comments. In response to these remarks, FLEOA National President Jon Adler stated, “With all due respect, Mr. President, you have been tragically misinformed on both points.”

Good Question from Robert Farago: ATF Informant Smuggled 40 Guns into Mexico. How?
Excerpt: As the ATF’s Gunwalker scandal continues to unfold, we’re getting a clearer picture of who did what when. For example, the scale of Operation Fast and Furious is starting to emerge. The word “thousands” seems appropriate to describe the number of American weapons that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed smugglers to smuggle to Mexican drug lords. reports that an ATF informant videotaped a single delivery of 40 weapons. The feds showed the tape in court to prevent the Osorio brothers—the Texas men accused of purchasing the gun or guns used to kill ICE Special Agent Zapata —from receiving bail . . .At the hearing on Friday, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), showed a video that supports the charges against the three suspects. The video was captured last November 9 with a hidden camera he was carrying the confidential informant who came to pick up a shipment of 40 guns, which was delivered by the Osorio brothers in the parking lot of a Walmart store in southern Dallas.

Libya: British Army ready for mission at 24 hours’ notice
Excerpt: Sources confirmed that The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, had been placed on heightened readiness, prepared to deploy to North Africa at 24 hours’ notice. The 600-strong infantry unit returned from Afghanistan in late 2009 and is based at Fort George near Inverness. “They’re ready, just in case,” said a source. The Ministry of Defence insisted that the battalion was prepared for humanitarian relief operations, not combat. But the disclosure that British troops are on stand-by came amid growing concerns that Col Gaddafi’s struggle to retain power could take Libya into a protracted civil war and cause a humanitarian crisis. (Meanwhile Barack the Indecisive, Incompetent, and Impotent has decided to go play golf. Apparently the drone in chief has gone right to the Bill Clinton play book: gold will take your mind off decision making !I wonder how many people were aware this guy wasn’t packing a full seabag prior to his running for office? Certainly his Voting record indicated something was amiss----or missing! --TC)

Homeland Security Delays Launch of 'Real ID' Again
Excerpt: States facing a federal deadline in May to launch a controversial program to tighten security requirements for driver's licenses got another reprieve Friday when the Department of Homeland Security delayed for the third time enactment of the 2005 law by 21 months to January 2013. Homeland Security officials said the deadline was extended because most states would not be able to meet all the federal requirements of the so-called Real ID Act by May 11, partly because of the economic downturn and uncertainty about congressional action on a proposal to modify the law........Twenty-four states are refusing to comply with the regulations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sixteen of them -- including Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Utah -- have passed laws prohibiting compliance with Real ID, most of them citing privacy and funding issues. The other eight, including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois and Nevada, have passed resolutions opposing the law. Homeland Security officials did not mention the open revolt by those states in its statement announcing the extension.

Suspected Thai insurgents kill Buddhist monk
Didn't get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Police say suspected Muslim militants have fatally shot a Buddhist monk in a drive-by motorcycle attack in insurgency-plagued southern Thailand. Police Maj. Gen. Rapeepong Sukpaiboon says two militants carried out the attack Saturday in the Kok Pho district of Pattani province. Two other people were wounded, including another monk.

Scientist Imam threatened over Darwinist views
Why moderates Muslims don't speak out against the fundamentalists. ~Bob. Excerpt: A prominent British imam has been forced to retract his claims that Islam is compatible with Darwin's theory of evolution after receiving death threats from fundamentalists. Dr Usama Hasan, a physics lecturer at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was intending yesterday to return to Masjid al-Tawhid, a mosque in Leyton, East London, for the first time since he delivered a lecture there entitled "Islam and the theory of evolution". But according to his sister, police advised him not to attend after becoming concerned for his safety. Instead his father, Suhaib, head of the mosque's committee of trustees, posted a notice on his behalf expressing regret over his comments. "I seek Allah's forgiveness for my mistakes and apologise for any offence caused," the statement read.

U.S. could resort to Sharia "blood money" provision to try to free U.S. agent imprisoned in Pakistan
Excerpt: The Islamic principle of qisas, or retaliation, allows for blood money (diyya) to be paid by the perpetrator to the relatives of the deceased in cases of accidental death or even murder. This is not just an Islamic ritual; it is part of Islamic law and suffices as punishment for the murder if the relatives of the deceased agree. In any case, the amount of compensation required is higher if the victim was a Muslim than if he was a non-Muslim. Only the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence allows for the possibility of capital punishment in the case of a Muslim who has murdered an unbeliever. The Maliki and Hanbali schools set a Muslim's life as worth twice that of a non-Muslim. The Shafi'i school sets a Jew's or Christian's life as worth two-thirds that of a Muslim. Polytheists are valued less. The Shafi'i Sharia manual 'Umdat al-Salik dictates: "The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man. The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim." (o4.9)

Sweden: Politician not guilty of "agitation against an ethnic group" for nude Muhammad poster
Excerpt: The freedom of speech survives, for now, in Sweden. Do you think Carl P. Herslow would have been put on trial for a poster mocking Jesus Christ? "Politician on trial for nude Muhammad poster," from The Local, March 3: A Swedish politician facing charges for producing a poster depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad naked together with his nine-year-old wife was found not guilty by a jury in Malmö on Wednesday. Carl P Herslow, leader of the Skåne Party (Skånepartiet), a small right-wing populist regional party, is charged with agitation against an ethnic group (hets mot folkgrupp). The poster included the text: 'He is 53 and she is nine. Is this the kind of wedding we want to see in Skåne?'. Herslow admits producing the poster but contested the charges. He said the aim of the poster was to stimulate a debate about Islam, which he argued was incompatible with democracy and equality.

Egyptian cleric touts Al-Azhar textbooks for teaching jihad and Jew-hatred
Excerpt: Al-Azhar is the leading institution in Sunni Islam, which the New York Times has called "the most moderate Islamic educational institution." "Egyptian Cleric Miqdam Al-Khadhari on the Benefits of Al-Azhar Curricula: They are the Only Textbooks to Militarize the Students and Eplicitly [sic] Teach Jihad and Hatred of Jews," from MEMRI, March 3

Didn't get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Muhammad Imran, a man charged with blasphemy in April 2009 and later released for lack of evidence, was gunned down in the Danada, a village near Rawalpindi. He had been accused of making insulting remarks about Prophet Mohammed during a discussion in a village cafe. However, he and another defendant were eventually set free by a court order after prosecution failed to produce evidence. Imran was in a shop when two attackers came in and shot him dead. A third accomplice stayed outside. According to the victim’s brother Muhammad Akramm, Imran was killed by the same man from a nearby village who had originally accused him of blasphemy.

Ethiopian Muslims Burn Down Five Churches, More Attacks Feared
Excerpt: International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that in the past two days, thousands of Muslims have razed five churches and the homes of two evangelists in Asendabo, Ethiopia. Christian leaders are asking for protection after the Muslim attackers continued burning churches even after the federal police were sent to the town. The Muslims started the attacks yesterday after falsely accusing the Christians of desecrating the Qur’an. More than ten thousand Muslims shouted “Allah Akbar” (Allah is great) as they burned down five evangelical churches. The government sent the federal police force to protect the Christians after the Muslims burned down the first three churches. The Muslims overwhelmed the police force and burned down two more churches today. Speaking with ICC, Christian leaders expressed their fear that Muslims will start killing the Christians unless the government sends more security forces to contain the Muslim attackers.

Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown says he struck a job deal with Vincent Gray campaign
Democrats in DC--change we can believe in. ~Bob. Excerpt: Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown told The Washington Post that he struck a deal last summer with the campaign of Mayor Vincent C. Gray to continue his attacks on incumbent Adrian M. Fenty in exchange for a city job if Gray won. Brown, who was recently dismissed from his $110,000-a-year position with the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance, also alleges that two Gray campaign aides gave him a series of cash payments to help finance his campaign. The Post could not independently verify any payments. In an interview Saturday, Gray adamantly denied Brown's allegations, saying the campaigns did not work in tandem. He said he agreed only to get a job interview for Brown, but not in return for attacks on Fenty.

Message to unions: Taylorism died a long time ago
Excerpt: The labor union movement is in deep trouble. Only 6.9 percent of private sector employees are union members. Voters are beginning to realize, thanks to governors like Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, that public sector unions have negotiated unsustainable levels of pensions and benefits -- and that public sector unions are a mechanism for involuntary transfers of money from taxpayers to the Democratic Party. Who's to blame for the unions' plight? I blame Frederick W. Taylor. Most readers will ask, Who? And those who know the name might wonder why I pin the blame on someone who died in 1915. But Taylor, the supposed pioneer of scientific management, was an influential man in his day and long after. He conducted time and motion studies aimed at getting workers to perform most efficiently single tasks on long assembly lines.

Rep. Rangel Causes Stir In Courtroom, Gets Reprimanded By Judge
Excerpt: WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reports Rangel caused a stir in the courtroom, repeatedly standing up and interrupting the judge. A court officer told Rangel three different times to sit down. When he stood up again, Judge Edward McLaughlin had apparently had enough. “I see someone standing who should not be standing, unless you have a bad back like I do,” McLaughlin said. Rangel sat down.

Majority of American students flunk civics test
Excerpt: A groundbreaking multi-year survey of 28,000 students attending 85 U.S. colleges and universities by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute ( found that American institutions of higher learning are not providing students even basic instruction on American history, economics and government -- probably not even enough for them to make informed decisions at the ballot box. Even Ivy Leaguers could not pass a multiple-choice test on America’s foundational principles. Students at Harvard scored highest nationwide, but only managed an average score of 69 percent on the 60-question test – compared to 54 percent on average for seniors and 51 percent for college freshmen. “Nobody got above a D+,” political scientist Richard Brake, co-chair of ISI’s Civic Literacy (or more accurately, Illiteracy) Board, told The Examiner. “Less than half knew about federalism, judicial review, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and NATO. And this was a multiple-choice test, with the answers staring them right in the face.” “Ten percent thought that ‘…we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…’ came from the Communist Manifesto,” he added. Only 49 percent - less than half of all college students – could correctly identify the three branches of the federal government. The dumbing-down of the American electorate from the days of the Founding Fathers has been precipitous. “The Federalist Papers were originally newspaper articles trying to persuade the common man. The common man can’t read them today,” Brake pointed out.

The lawsuit abuse problem in a nutshell
Excerpt: America's legal system cries out for reform when a solicitation described by a federal judge as "junk mail" can expose a mortgage company to as much as $16 billion in liability for allegedly failing to provide 16 million recipients with a sufficiently "clear and conspicuous" notice of one of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The prospect of having to face so massive a liability forced the company to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against it by plaintiff lawyers, who then received from the defendant $3.5 million in fees. The lawyers got something else, too -- a promise from the company they sued that its executives would not criticize the lawyers in public regarding any issue in the case. The company is prevented from talking about the settlement in critical terms, but this newspaper is not: We agree with Class Action Watch Executive Director Lawrence Schonbrun that the case represents "the class action mess in a nutshell." First, because the FCRA stipulates such heavy fines -- mandatory statutory damages for violations range from $100 to $1,000 per violation -- the class-action lawsuit becomes in the hands of aggressive trial lawyers a legal weapon of mass destruction. Thousands of such suits have been filed in the past two decades by trial lawyer sharks epitomized most prominently by the recently jailed William "Circle of Greed" Lerach and Dickie "King of Torts" Scruggs. Many of these suits never went to trial, not because the defendants were guilty, but simply because they were paralyzed by the fear of losing and thus being forced to pay billions in damages and legal fees. It was cheaper, to say nothing of being a matter of corporate survival, to just settle, thus effectively paying the trial lawyers to go away. Second, Schonbrun notes that in the mortgage company case, the trial lawyers who filed the suit received $3.5 million in legal fees despite significant doubts about whether that amount was even remotely justified.

Reid's prostitution remarks ignite debate in Nevada
 Excerpt: Nevada allows brothels in counties with fewer than 400,000 residents. That leaves out Clark County and its main city, Las Vegas, a popular gambling and resort center with a reputation as "Sin City." The state has been home to legal brothels since the early 1970s, currently numbering two dozen. (I'm no community organizer, but the obvious solution is for the owners of the brothels to unionize their "employees", which will in turn create a conundrum within the Democratic Party. MasterGuns)

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