Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Political Digest for April 27, 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.

Worth reading: The Trump Card by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The boomlet for Donald Trump as a Republican nominee for President of the United States ought to be a wake-up call for Republican candidates and Republican Party leaders alike. Why has Trump surged ahead of other Republican candidates and potential candidates in the polls? It is not likely that his resurrection of the issue of Barack Obama's birth certificate has aroused all this support. The birth certificate issue does more political damage to Obama's critics than to the president himself, because it enables the media to paint those critics as kooks. Nor are Donald Trump's political positions such as to create a stampede to his cause. Radio talk show host Mark Levin has rebroadcast Trump's varied and mutually contradictory statements on political issues and personalities over the years. It was a devastating revelation of Trump's "versatility of convictions," to use a phrase coined long ago by Thorstein Veblen. … Donald Trump is dangerous in at least two senses. If, by some tragic miracle, he should become the Republicans' candidate for president in 2012, that would be the closest thing to an iron-clad guarantee of a second term in the White House for Barack Obama.

Obama, Ryan and You
Excerpt: Both parties are being disingenuous about Medicare reform. So let me be the first to open Pandora's box and reveal three unpleasant truths. First, health care spending is growing at twice the rate of growth of our income — clearly an unsustainable and undesirable spending path. Second, any plan to reduce the growth rate of federal spending on health care without doing something about health care spending as a whole will necessarily shift costs — to the elderly, to the poor, to state governments, and to anybody other than the federal government. Third, neither party is offering a serious plan to control health care spending as a whole.

Raw Intelligence Report: A View from Syria
Excerpt: Support for the protests is mixed. Many of those out in the streets are there because someone close to them was killed. Think tribal mentality: I wasn’t mad at you before but you killed my cousin/brother/friend and now I am mad. People are gathering to defend their honor. There is almost no organization inside Syria among the protesters. I asked several people and they agreed that the Muslim Brotherhood was almost non-present in the country. All that is coordinated is information being leaked out about the responses by the security forces against the protesters. As I told my friend, the problem is that unlike in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, all the demonstrators are dispersed across the country and do not have enough time to talk to each other to decide what they wanted. There is also a fairly widely held belief that much of the killings are taking place as a result of these armed gangs firing on security forces and innocents being caught in the crossfire. Some are quick to blame “foreign conspirators” although several of my friends admitted that whatever meddling by Abdul Halim Khaddam (the former Syrian vice president) and Rifaat al Assad (the president’s uncle living in exile in the United Kingdom) was minimal. Both of these guys have very, very little support on the ground and while the Muslim Brotherhood might have some latent support among Sunnis, they would not be welcome by any of the minorities in Syria. At this point the regime is going to have to go Hama-style if it wants to completely shut down the protests, otherwise it will have to make some major concessions like multiparty elections and presidential term limits, which the regime won’t accept. From what I’ve heard is going on today it looks like the regime is opting to play it Hama-style.

Wrong advice, wrong policy
Excerpt: There has never been a comprehensive independent scientific review of any IPCC report by a member government or by an official audit body. Nonetheless, the following five events, drawn from a much larger group of happenings, have demonstrated to all the political nature of the IPCC and its scientific advisers, and greatly damaged the credibility of the organisation as a source of accurate policy advice on climate change: (From the Australian magazine Quadrant. Australia’s government set-up is different from ours (even though they have Senators). Votes are cast for parties, not individual candidates running for an office (on the plus side, they can “kick the bums out” quicker and easier than we can). The party that won control in the most recent election has made a commitment to some form of cap-and-trade, even though most Australians say they don’t want it. The academics there seem more evenly divided than ours, so there are a lot more verbal and printed fireworks about climate change in their media than we see in the MSM here. Ron P.)

IED Found on Texas Highway near Brownsville
Excerpt: Brownsville police are trying to determine who left an IED or Improvised Explosive Device on the southbound lane of U.S. Expressway 77/83 Sunday afternoon.
A concerned citizen found the device around 4:54 p.m., police spokesman Eddie Garcia said.
Authorities shut down the expressway’s southbound lane from FM 1732 to
Alton Gloor Boulevard
for about three hours, while the police department’s bomb squad checked out the device, Garcia said.

George Stephanopoulos: Nation's 'Gas Gripes' Are 'Knocking Down' Obama's Polls
Excerpt: The former Democratic operative turned journalist tried to put the best spin on Barack Obama's growing problems: "And, Jake, these gas prices are also knocking down President Obama's poll numbers, which is why he's out there nearly every day addressing this problem." Reporter Jake Tapper, on the other hand, provided a more balanced look, pointing out, "When President Obama was sworn in, gas averaged $1.84 a gallon. Today, it's $3.86. And as prices have spiked since January, the President's approval ratings have sunk."

Chris Matthews' Entire British Panel Corrects His Claim Blair Was Closer to Clinton - No, It Was Bush
Excerpt: There was a marvelous moment on this weekend's "Chris Matthews Show" when the host literally stuck his foot in his mouth claiming in front of four British journalists that former Prime Minister Tony Blair "was much closer emotionally and politically to Bill Clinton" than George W. Bush. Guest's Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast and Gillian Tett of the Financial Times both immediately shook their heads as the BBC's Katty Kay and Matt Frei said "No" and "Wrong" ...

Boehner: Obama not being upfront about problem of deficit
Excerpt: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has accused President Obama of not being upfront with Americans about the country’s fiscal problems and criticized the president for not embracing more of his own fiscal commission’s ideas. 

Boring but important: Who Owns the Fed?
Excerpt: Have you heard? The Federal Reserve System raked in profits of $79.3 billion last year, almost triple what runner-up ExxonMobil made. The Fed’s business model is a snap—just print money—and unlike poor beleaguered Exxon, the Fed has no competition to worry about. This means a gigantic windfall for the big banks because, although they don’t like to admit it, they actually own the Fed. Or not. These are all half-truths and distortions, all too easy to find on the Internet. Bloggers like to begin with the discovery that commercial banks hold shares of Fed stock and those shares pay an annual dividend. A further discovery that the Fed makes big profits is all it takes to send some of them off on a conspiracy tangent. Because shareholders in a profit-seeking corporation are its owners, so it must be with the Fed, they think. Profiteering, world-government schemes, and who knows what else, must surely follow. As I will show, these half-baked ideas are distractions from the serious issues that surround the Federal Reserve System.

Health Reform and Medical Malpractice Reform
Excerpt: The final version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) included only two minor provisions related to medical malpractice. Section 6801 encourages states "to develop and test alternatives to the civil litigation system," say David A. Hyman, University of Illinois, and William M. Sage, University of Texas at Austin. Section 10607 authorizes $50 million over a five-year period to support demonstration grants to states for the "development, implementation, and evaluation of alternatives to current tort litigation for resolving disputes over injuries allegedly caused by health care providers or health care organizations." To qualify for the new funding, a state must demonstrate that its proposal: Makes the medical liability system more reliable and efficient. Encourages the disclosure of health care errors and enhances patient safety. Improves access to liability insurance. Fully informs patients about the differences in the alternative and current tort litigation. Provides patients the ability to opt out of or voluntarily withdraw from participating in the alternative at any time. Does not conflict with state law and will not limit or curtail a patient's existing legal rights. Why did the PPACA not emphasize malpractice reform as a more important component of health care reform? Should the PPACA have done more to change the rules of malpractice liability? What kinds of changes might make sense? The PPACA's omission of malpractice reform was a missed opportunity to secure the support of physicians for payment reform and delivery-system transformation. The real issue is what we want our health care system and our malpractice system to do when working together. Modifications to both should be undertaken with that question in mind, say Hyman and Sage.

Syrian tanks, soldiers lay siege to southern towns
When he’s “killing his own people,” doesn’t the Obama Doctrine call for a “no-fly_ zone and bombing everything that moves? ~Bob. Excerpt: Syrian leaders deployed tanks and troops against unarmed demonstrators Monday in a sharp escalation of their effort to crush the widening protest movement, prompting the Obama administration to condemn the deadly crackdown and weigh additional sanctions against the embattled government. The Syrian army entered the city of Daraa, the cradle of anti-government unrest near the border with Jordan, and other southern towns as protesters massed in the streets. According to witnesses and news reports, about 25 demonstrators were killed in Daraa and the coastal city of Jableh, where witnesses said snipers opened fire on the crowd.

Taliban digs tunnel to free prisoners from Kandahar jail
If you shoot t6hem, you don’t have an escape problem. ~Bob. Excerpt: So much had changed in the three years since the Taliban blew up the barrier wall at Sarposa prison and sprung 900 inmates: imposing rows of concrete walls backed by razor wire, floodlights, video cameras, sand bags and 40 well-armed American soldiers watching from perimeter guard towers with Afghan police. Kandahar’s largest detention facility had become so secure, said an American military officer giving a tour of the prison this year, that the only way to break through was to “put a nuke on a motorcycle.”

Paper: Leaked documents describe potential al-Qaida plots discussed by Guantanamo detainees
Excerpt: Classified military files obtained by the WikiLeaks website reveal a range of potential al-Qaida plots against the United States, including post-9/11 aircraft attacks on the West Coast, The New York Times reported Monday. The schemes — none of which were executed — are described in U.S. military assessments of terrorism suspects being held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Those detainees include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. One of the dossiers described by the Times concerns Saifullah Paracha, a New York travel agent for years who allegedly worked with Mohammed on plots to follow up on the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. One plan suggested by Paracha involved smuggling plastic explosives in shipments of clothing bound for the U.S., the Times reported.

Yemen's opposition 'agrees to Gulf plan
Excerpt: A spokesman for an opposition coalition said on Monday that his group had received assurances in order to accept the deal. "We have given our final accord to the [Gulf] initiative after having received assurances from our brothers and American and European friends on our objections to certain clauses in the plan," Mohammed Qahtan said. He added that the Common Front, a Yemeni parliamentary opposition coalition, had notified Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary-general Abdullatif al-Zayani of the decision. But many pro-democracy protesters, who are not members of the coalition that agreed to the peace talks, appear to be unconvinced by the Gulf-proposed deal and have called for fresh demonstrations, as security forces continued their crackdown. (Three down, another dozen or so to go. But, it seems unlikely we’ll enjoy what we’ve bought. Ron P.)

Strike Kills No. 2 Insurgent in Afghanistan
Excerpt: International Security Assistance Force officials confirmed today that an April 13 airstrike in Kunar province killed the No. 2 targeted insurgent in Afghanistan. Abu Hafs al-Najdi, a senior al-Qaida leader also known as Abdul Ghani, was a Saudi Arabian national who operated primarily from Kunar and frequently traveled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.

FDA to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products
Excerpt: The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it plans to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and won't try to regulate them under stricter rules for drug-delivery devices. (…) The FDA lost a court case last year after trying to treat e-cigarettes as drug-delivery devices, rather than tobacco products, because e-cigarettes heat nicotine extracted from tobacco. (…) Some sellers of e-cigarettes sued the FDA in 2009 after the agency told customs officials to refuse entry of shipments into the U.S. A federal judge ruled that the FDA can't stop those shipments, saying the agency had overstepped its authority. (What I find most amazing is the manufacturers of these products that contain no tobacco, are not burned, and produce no ash or “smoke” in the usual sense, are WELCOMING this development. Why would they do that? Because it will give them a predictable regulatory environment to do business in. Maybe the FDA will regulate matches and lighters, next (they can get hot and cause burns, you know). Does it ever stop? Ron P.)

Smugglers As Heroes
Excerpt: Smuggling is illegal. It becomes a sometimes-nasty criminal enterprise because those who engage in it tend to be people with an overall lower regard for the law. Since smuggling is illegal, disputes must be settled with guns and violence instead of courts. Plus, police and other public officials are corrupted. Worst of all is the reduced respect for laws by the public at large. After the 18th Amendment's repeal, virtually all of the crime and corruption associated with Prohibition disappeared. Not many Americans are aware of today's big smuggling activity -- cigarette smuggling. Confiscatory taxes that are as high as $7 a pack, in New York City, making one pack of cigarettes sell for $13, have encouraged a thriving smuggling business across our country. Like Prohibition, confiscatory tobacco taxes are popular with Americans. (Hey, tax-and-spend pols, there’s a new source of tax revenue right here in this article: tax, but not heavily enough to make smuggling attractive, all those vices people are going to feed anyway! It might even reduce the gang violence in our urban areas. Emphasis added. Ron P.)

Human Smuggling Case Evokes South America's Terror-Linked History
Excerpt: A Somali man used Brazil as a staging ground to smuggle people, including members of a terrorist group into the United States, witnesses are expected to testify during a sentencing hearing Thursday in San Antonio. Ahmed Mohammed Dhakane pleaded guilty in November to two counts of making false statements on his 2008 asylum application. He failed to disclose his terrorist affiliations and that he had acted as an alien smuggler.

How Health Reform Punishes Work
Excerpt: Supporters of ObamaCare acknowledge it will have some unintended consequences. Yet surprisingly little attention has been focused on the law's most problematic provision: government subsidies to help individuals and families purchase health insurance. This new entitlement—which the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates will cost more than $100 billion per year once it is fully implemented—will damage the country's long-term fiscal outlook. It also will introduce far-reaching negative effects on rewards to work and bizarre new inequities into American life. The health law establishes insurance exchanges—regulated marketplaces in which individuals and small businesses can shop for coverage—and minimum standards for the insurance policies that can be offered. Because the policies will be so costly, there's a subsidy for buyers that phases out as family income rises. This sounds reasonable—but the subsidies required to make a "qualifying" insurance policy affordable are so large that their phaseout creates chaos.

Egyptians Cool Toward U.S.; Want to Scrap Peace Treaty With Israel
Excerpt: A new survey of Egyptians’ attitudes two months after President Hosni Mubarak’s departure depicts a society in which the Muslim Brotherhood is broadly popular, the United States is not, and more than half the country would like to scrap Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. Muslim respondents in the poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, were almost equally divided between those who say they agree with Islamic fundamentalists (31 percent) and those who say they do not (30 percent). Sixty-two percent said Egypt’s laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Qur’an, while only five percent said laws should not be influenced by Qur’anic teachings. Another 27 percent favored another option – that laws should follow the values and principles of Islam but should not strictly follow the teachings of the Qur’an.

Excerpt: At a fundraiser in Southern California last week, where pump prices are the highest in the country, Obama acknowledged the political peril of high gas prices. He said, “My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people.” He tried to show that he feels motorists’ pain. “I admit, Secret Service doesn’t let me fill up the pump anymore,” he said. “But it hasn’t been that long since I did.” True. He had to pump his own gas when he commuted from the manicured lawns of Hyde Park with its private police force to whichever decrepit part of town two miles away he was “community-organizing” in. The Post’s reporters, Steven Mufson and Jon Cohen, neatly illustrate the “stubborn nature” of J-school reporting on this issue and “the difficulty of weaning” the media “off its dependence” on lazy tropes:

Remember this when you next fill up. ~Bob. Excerpt: Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight. Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

Economic Study: Despite Obama's Claim, the Poor are not Getting Poorer
Excerpt: In his mid-April speech on the budget deficit, President Obama echoed conventional wisdom when he cited the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer as a reason to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to reduce the national debt. Research, published at The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, from Cornell economist Richard Burkhauser, Joint Committee on Taxation economist Jeff Larrimore, and Indiana University economist Kosali Simon, however, suggests that the president’s piece of conventional wisdom isn’t entirely accurate. According to the findings, while the rich have indeed been getting richer, for the last 30 years so too have the poor and middle class.

The Hidden Tax: Regulation
Excerpt: We see what Uncle Sam makes us pay every April. But a new edition of an annual report shows there’s an insidious fee we pay on a daily basis. (…) Yet we forget there’s a hidden tax which gnaws at our pocketbooks and the economy at large every day. It was pointed out by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in their “Ten Thousand Commandments” report, released on Tax Day. Regulations cost $1.75 trillion in compliance costs, according to the Small Business Administration. That’s greater than the record federal budget deficit — projected at $1.48 trillion for FY 2011 — and greater even than all corporate pretax profits. (Holy, uh, socks, Batman! I knew there were over 75,000 pages of regulations, and I’ve always despised beancounters—partly as a matter of principle; it's like hating music critics that can’t sing or play, but still manage to find fault—but I never dreamed the cost could be this high. And, this figure is from the SBA, not some political group trying to make a point. Ron P.)

How the Obama administration is Using Executive Power to Support Union Goals
Excerpt: Indeed, it marks a new departure in the corporatist and statist policy of the Obama administration. For the first time, a government board dominated by pro-union appointees is being empowered to tell a private corporation where to build a new factory. The NLRB decision, as an editorial in The Examiner points out, violated the existing Boeing agreement with the IAM that allows the firm to build in other areas. Boeing must have been stunned at the NLRB’s complaint. (…) Evidently the money given by the government to Boeing in contracts, Export-Import Bank loans and the like is not as valuable to the administration now as using its power to placate the AFL-CIO and the IAM, which gives almost all of its contributions to Democrats, and hardly any to Republicans. A new election is looming, and the administration needs those union workers to get out the vote, man the phone banks and take to the streets in the forthcoming campaign.

The Finest Movie about the Railroad Industry Since Silver Streak But actually, as the film unfolded and gathered steam — to use an appropriately railroad-themed analogy — I sorta, kinda, perhaps in spite of myself, began to like it. (WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD.) I’d say the film was more enjoyable than any of the Star Wars prequels, but that’s setting the bar awfully low, in retrospect. But I guess that’s the trade-off. In the era of political correctness, you can have zillion-dollar films that are shows about nothing, or a slightly stiff low-budget film that will give you plenty to talk—and argue—about afterwards.

Stuxnet Has Completely Paralyzed Iran’s Bushehr Plant
Excerpt: … Stuxnet has wreaked serious and perhaps fatal havoc on the foundations of energy structure and the operating systems of the Bushehr nuclear installation. According to the Green Liaison news group, over the past year and a half the Bushehr plant has incurred serious damage and has lost major capabilities. An individual involved in Iran’s nuclear activities reports that this virus was placed in the system by one of the foreign experts contracted to Iran. The virus has automatic updating capabilities in order to track and pirate information, and can also destroy the system hardware step-by-step. The internal directives programmed into the structure of the virus can actually bring the generators and electrical power grids of the country to a sudden halt, or create a “heart attack” type of work stoppage. (As good as this new sounds, especially combined with yesterday’s revelation of the additional virus, Stars, it is very difficult to find confirmation from other sources. The author, 'Reza Kahlili,' mostly reports on things that are hard to verify. This doesn’t mean they’re untrue—PJM has a pretty good record for having valid data—but, it’d be easier to give full credence to something from Michael Ledeen or others with a longtime record of getting things right. Especially when we’re hearing what we want and hope to hear. Oh well, ‘Reza’ won’t be a new guy forever. Ron P.)

Excerpt: The Professors are Judy Ancel, Director of Labor Studies at UMKC and Don Giljum, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers at Ameren UE in St. Louis. (Bonus: he is a member of the Communist Party.) In the class, the Professors not only advocate the occasional need for violence and industrial sabotage, they outline specific tactics that can be used. As one of our colleagues pointed out, it’s the matter-of-factness of it all that is so disturbing. And yes, the schools, and the professors’ salaries, are funded by taxpayers.

President Obama Chose To Worship On Easter At A Church That Hosted A Palestinian Hate-Israel Conference
Excerpt: It would be such a heart-warming picture of religious devotion except that the mainstream press neglected to mention a couple of things about the church which Obama chose for his Easter worship. The Shiloh Baptist Church hosted an anti-Israel hate fest in 2009at the same time as an associate minister of the church, Adam Russell Taylor, was serving as an Obama administration White House Fellow in the Office of Cabinet Affairs, Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Tin Foil Turbans: The 6 Stupidest Conspiracy Theories that Millions of Muslims Believe
Excerpt: Of course, the unpleasant fact is that the Muslim world has been in decline for centuries. Since this decline contradicts their self-image as a superior people, there must be some other explanation for their backwardness. Conspiracy theories provide that explanation, while short circuiting the very self-criticism that international Islam desperately needs to get itself out of its hole. It’s easy to laugh at these conspiracy theories, and maybe watch Jesse Ventura’s new show about them, “just for laughs.” However, as memorably laid out in one of my favorite books — The Cost of Deception: The Seduction of Modern Myths and Urban Legends, by John A. Williams — conspiracy theories, far from being harmless fun, actually pollute the public square. Misinformation undermines civil society by making trust in one’s fellow man a mug’s game. Paranoid cynicism becomes the default “sophisticated” worldview.

The Last Days of Ethanol?
Excerpt: A prosaic commodity—corn—is making strange political bedfellows. But their stance makes infinite sense. They oppose heavily subsidized ethanol, made from corn. Opposition comes from such diverse advocacy groups as the Democrat-aligned activist organization to the Tea Party-aligned FreedomWorks. Other opponents ranging across the ideological spectrum include the American Bankers Association, the Sierra Club and the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. They believe, as do sensible Americans, that using food for fuel is public policy insanity. The Environmental Protection Agency, keeping true to its usual irresponsible actions, decided earlier this year to allow the use of fuel containing ethanol in any gas-powered car or truck An agency that is supposed to protect the environment looks the other way despite such environmental consequences as water pollution from heavy application of farm chemicals applied to corn fields to increase production, clearing of wildlife habitat, and plowing marginal and erodible lands to boost corn supply. (Another green Chimera proves a disaster—but follow the money. ~Bob.)

'Leading from behind' could doom O
Excerpt: The reliably liberal New Yorker magazine isn't usually in the habit of presenting gifts to the Republican Party, but it has just published three little words that may prove central to the GOP effort to defeat President Obama next year. Those words are "leading from behind," and they appear at the end of a Ryan Lizza article on Obama's foreign policy. Lizza didn't coin the phrase. "Leading from behind" is a direct quote from of "one of [Obama's] advisers," who is describing his boss' policy on Libya. That same adviser goes on to say that the effort to lead from behind is "so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world. But it's necessary for shepherding us through this phase." And there you have it: the 2012 campaign against Obama's foreign policy in a nutshell. By the time Election Day rolls around, if the GOP knows what's good for it, the phrase "leading from behind" will be the "yes, we can" of 2012.

Petition to Redistribute GPA Scores?
Excerpt” Watch as Republican students at the University of California-Merced ask their Democrat counterparts to sign a petition that would redistribute excessive GPA points to the less fortunate. Do you think they will get any takers?

Iraq, Iran and the Next Move
Excerpt: The United States told the Iraqi government last week that if it wants U.S. troops to remain in Iraq beyond the deadline of Dec. 31, 2011, as stipulated by the current Status of Forces Agreement between Washington and Baghdad, it would have to inform the United States quickly. Unless a new agreement is reached soon, the United States will be unable to remain. The implication in the U.S. position is that a complex planning process must be initiated to leave troops there and delays will not allow that process to take place. What is actually going on is that the United States is urging the Iraqi government to change its mind on U.S. withdrawal, and it would like Iraq to change its mind right now in order to influence some of the events taking place in the Persian Gulf. The Shiite uprising in Bahrain and the Saudi intervention, along with events in Yemen, have created an extremely unstable situation in the region, and the United States is afraid that completing the withdrawal would increase the instability.

The Left's Favorite Traitor --Treason Has Become a Fashion Statement
Excerpt: The only crime our government has committed against PFC Bradley Manning, the pudgy little arch-traitor adored by America’s left, is that the taxpayer is still paying to house, feed and medically treat him. After brazenly committing the worst security breach since the Rosenbergs passed our atomic bomb secrets to Stalin sixty-odd years ago—then bragging about it—Manning should have been tried by military tribunal, convicted based on the impregnable evidence he himself provided, sentenced to death and hanged promptly. Manning should no longer be an issue.

Shooting Jews at Prayer (Updated)
Excerpt: Palestinian police shouting "Allahu akbar" opened fire on Jews praying at Joseph's Tomb Sunday, killing one and wounding four. The worshippers were attacked as they were exiting the prayer site by PA policemen, who according to the IDF "were fully aware that the men they fired on were Israeli worshipers who were unarmed and posed no threat..." The murder was followed by Palestinians rioting and burning tires at Joseph's Tomb The attack is far from an aberration; it is an expectation of the religious intolerance Jewish worshippers have received and can expect if Palestinians gain their demands for control of Judaism's holiest sites. The incident is not the first Arab violence at Joseph's Tomb. Under the Oslo Agreement, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was committed to protecting it and other holy sites, Jewish and Christian, and to ensure access by all. On October 7th, 2000, Palestinians mobs overran the site, killed a soldier, and ransacked the place, burning Jewish prayer books, and reducing the sacred site to a smoldering heap of rubble.

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