Monday, April 4, 2011

Political Digest for April 4, 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.

Guest Post: Defense Cuts

Guest Post: Israel

Did Obama avert a bloodbath in Libya?
Obama lied and people died. Has a nice ring, don't you think? ~Bob. Excerpt: In his March 26 radio address, Obama said the United States acted because Gadhafi threatened "a bloodbath." Two days later, he asserted, "We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi — a city nearly the size of Charlotte (N.C.) — could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world." Really? Obama implied that, absent our intervention, Gadhafi might have killed nearly 700,000 people, putting it in a class with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. White House adviser Dennis Ross was only slightly less alarmist when he reportedly cited "the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred." But these are outlandish scenarios that go beyond any reasonable interpretation of Gadhafi's words. He said, "We will have no mercy on them" — but by "them," he plainly was referring to armed rebels ("traitors") who stand and fight, not all the city's inhabitants. "We have left the way open to them," he said. "Escape. Let those who escape go forever." He pledged that "whoever hands over his weapons, stays at home without any weapons, whatever he did previously, he will be pardoned, protected."

NATO airstrike reportedly kills 13 Libya rebels
Excerpt: The loss of fighters drew unwanted attention to the rawness of the opposition's recruits. Some fighters and medical aides near the front lines outside Port Brega said Saturday that the rebels had probably let loose with celebratory gunfire after witnessing a NATO strike or capturing some Kadafi fighters. (When you are on the side of guys who randomly shoot precious ammo in the air to celebrate, say, the birth of a new goat, and trust that, Insha'Allah it wouldn't come down and kill anyone, you know you are in deep Kimchi. ~Bob.)

The Caterpillar that roared
Excerpt: Oberhelman, 58, made national headlines after a letter he wrote to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, bemoaning the state's business climate and hinting at the possibility of moving company operations, was leaked to the media. The letter ignited speculation that the state's third-largest employer, with 23,000 workers in Illinois, was seriously thinking of exiting. (Might as well save his breath. In the view of Illinois politicians, business is there to be milked. They won't believe a word he says unless Caterpillar actually leaves the state. Then they will blame George Bush, Sarah Palin or Global Warming. ~Bob)

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs
Just like drug abusers, they abetted murder. Why are they not in prison? ~Bob. Excerpt: On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel. During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo. The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller's cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.

Vietnamese Communists' Fear Factor is Rising
Excerpt: As a Libyan protester said, "After we saw Tunisia and Egypt, we thought that we can do it too;" their "fear wall broke" and the people of Libya no longer feared their corrupt and brutal dictatorship. In contrast, the prospect that the Middle-East pot might boil over into their region has dramatically increased the fear factor of Vietnam's and China's communist rulers. Since the Middle-East uprisings began, in fear of popular uprisings, they have reacted with increasingly brutal crackdowns and arrests of possible dissidents, with Vietnam following China's lead. Vietnam's pucker factor must have ratcheted up several notches when the UN approved a No-Fly Zone over Libya, a strong show of international support of the democracy advocates there. Libya's brutal dictatorship and the communist regime in Vietnam have a lot in common. Could it be that the Vietnamese peoples' "wall of fear" might also crumble? In China democracy advocates called for people to start a peaceful "Jasmine Revolution." In Vietnam longtime human rights and democracy advocate Dr. Nguyen Dan Que wrote an online challenge to the People of Vietnam: (Mike Benge knows his stuff, and this sharp dissection of the awful humanitarian abuses in Viet Nam needs to be seen far and wide. It's a travesty that the US insists on being nicey-nice to Hanoi, and refuses to see what is so plain to see, that the CPC rating must be reapplied to Viet Nam, and pressure brought to bear on their horrific human rights record. --Del. The communists are not afraid to murder protesters by the thousands, and the media won't be there to cover it. That makes it very different. Maybe John Kerry and Jane Fonda could talk to their pals. ~Bob.)

Obama Continues His Lies About Oil Production
Excerpt: Obama sticks to his lies! He claims that America has only 6% of the world's oil reserves. The truth is the fact that America is sitting atop the most oil of anywhere in the entire world!

Former EPA researcher Alan Carlin publishes his paper
Excerpt: On Friday my new paper on climate change science and economics was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a peer-reviewed journal. The paper is unusual from a number of different perspectives. From a policy perspective, the paper’s conclusions include the following: “The economic benefits of reducing CO2 emissions may be about two orders of magnitude less than those estimated by most economists because the climate sensitivity factor is much lower than assumed by the United Nations because feedback is negative rather than positive and the effects of CO2 emissions reductions on atmospheric CO2 appear to be short rather than long lasting. The costs of CO2 emissions reductions are perhaps an order of magnitude higher than usually estimated because of technological and implementation problems recently identified. CO2 emissions reductions are economically unattractive since the few benefits remaining after the corrections for the above effects are quite unlikely to economically justify the much higher costs unless much lower cost geoengineering is used. The risk of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming appears to be so low that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it, including geoengineering.”

Too funny: The Cause of All Discrimination? Me.
Excerpt: The Census has released its figures. The latest count is 308,745,538 citizens living within these Disunited States. I say “Disunited” not to pun but because it is well-known that discrimination is rampant within our tumultuous borders. The problem is so awful and so sickeningly pervasive that we are anything but united. Logically, if there is discrimination, there must be discriminators and discriminatees. Who, then, are the vile discriminators?

Team Obama's Wyoming Howler
Excerpt: But by Friday, the Caspar Star-Tribune had a very different headline: "Salazar appears to have vastly overstated coal money in Wyoming." After the announcement, folks like Mr. Loomis started to dig into the numbers and discovered that Mr. Salazar had overstated the amounts by a factor of 10. The proceeds from 758 million tons of coal would be closer to about $2 billion -- a little less than half of which would go to the state. By Saturday, the Interior Department was "clarifying" that the $21 billion estimate included some 1.6 billion tons of coal that Interior plans (maybe) to be sold at a future date. The leases for that coal are still under consideration and are no sure thing.

Al Qaeda members hide in Brazil, raise money: report
Excerpt: Al Qaeda operatives are in Brazil planning attacks, raising money and recruiting followers, a leading news magazine reported Saturday, renewing concerns about the nation serving as a hide-out for Islamic militants. Veja magazine, in its online edition, reported that at least 20 people affiliated with al Qaeda as well as the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah, the Palestinian group Hamas and two other organizations have been hiding out in the South American country.

Bomb plotter Nezar Hindawi wins legal bid over release
Well, I think he should be released. At about 1,000 feet up over the ocean, no chute. ~Bob. Excerpt: A man jailed for 45 years for plotting to blow up an Israeli airliner has won a legal challenge against UK government refusals to allow his early release. Jordanian Nezar Hindawi was jailed in 1986 after planting a bomb in his fiancee's hand luggage for a flight from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv. The Parole Board has recommended release but successive governments have rejected its advice.

Excerpt: The newfound fervor for human rights among liberal supporters of President Obama’s “kinetic” enterprise in Libya might be better turned to Vietnam. Instead, ignoring the persecution of minorities there and ongoing – indeed, increasing – repression of dissent, they fall into line with US businesses profiting from cheap Vietnamese labor to look away. We ally with Middle East foes of freedom and abandon real seekers of freedom in Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the Montagnards -- Vietnam’s Central Highlands hill people, a distinct ethnic and cultural group different than the majority lowland Vietnamese – became strong allies in fighting against the communists. They had long wanted autonomy within Vietnam, and seeking their support Saigon granted them many of their requests. Since 1975, the communist government of Vietnam has ruthlessly persecuted the Montagnards, imprisoning, torturing, murdering many and taking their lands for roads, plantations and mines, denuding the forests for valuable woods, moving the Montagnards from poverty to rootless impoverishment and loss of culture. Together with many within the government, those with connections and Chinese state businesses profit. Many Montagnards are devout Protestants, Degar, whose churches are not recognized by the state and whose members come in for particularly harsh punishments. The Montagnard Foundation is their voice in the West, documenting and exposing their persecution. Few listen and fewer care, least of all the US government. Under both presidents Bush and Obama, the US government has looked away, with the myth that somehow Vietnam would be a counterweight to China but actually favoring US businesses that also profit from trade with Vietnam.

Biting back against a little-known, fatal disease
Excerpt: came to understand that in addition to being one of the least known and least researched diseases, it's also uniquely cruel. It scars the lungs. They shrivel and harden, making it difficult for air to pass. In PF's advanced stages, it makes simple movements like sitting down or standing up feel like sprinting or drowning. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation will get $1 for every charitable dawg sold, but the money isn't Bulandr's main goal. Mostly, she wants to educate. She is recruiting support for the dog from state Sen. John Cullerton and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, both of whom lost their fathers to the disease.

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