Thursday, June 16, 2011

Political Digest for June 16, 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.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
Info about my book. All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans. Please forward and post where possible.

Collapse book interview on the Rob Schilling Show
I'm scheduled to be interviewed about my book on Tuesday, 28th June from 1:15 pm EDT until 2:00 pm EDT (That's 12:15 pm CDT to 1:00 pm CDT). Also on the show will be Chet Nagle, author of The Iran Covenant and a former Naval Aviator and former CIA Agent. The show originates from Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia and streams live on the internet. You can get it on the "Listen Live" link at They welcome callers at (434) 977-1070 on their 'comment line.' Mark your calendars.

Another Collapse Response
Bob, I read your book on my flight to San Diego last week. I think you're right on target. I already gave it away and I would like to give a few more to friends. Can you get me ten more and sign them for me? Or would it be easier for me to order them and have them sent to you? Just let me know what would work best for you.--Mike (For those who want signed copies, if you have them sent to me from Amazon, I'll sign and ship them to you. That way the charity gets the royalty directly from Amazon and it doesn't pass through my hands, exciting the interest of the IRS. ~Bob)

12 More Signs That Society Is Collapsing
Unfortunately, I’m not the only alarmist. Some of this could have come from my book. ~Bob. Excerpt: What we are now witnessing is the slow motion unraveling of America. Our economy is dying, the American people have lost faith in the government and in almost all of our other major institutions, and our society is collapsing. Most Americans don't understand why all of this is happening, but most of them do realize that something has fundamentally changed. Earlier this year, McDonald's held a "National Hiring Day" and a million Americans showed up to apply for jobs. Only 62,000 of them were hired. That means only 6.2% of the applicants got jobs. So what are we supposed to tell the 93.8% that didn't get hired? Are they supposed to have any hope for the future when they can't even get a minimum wage job at McDonald's? When I was a teenager, I went over to McDonald's one day, filled out an application and was instantly hired. My, how things have changed. Now we have millions upon millions of young people that are staring directly into a very bleak future. The level of frustration in this country is rising to frightening levels and large numbers of people are already showing that they will stoop to anything in order to survive.

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds law limiting public employee unions
Excerpt: The public employee unions lose a big one, as the high court upholds the law passed by the Republican-led legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker. Recall that this is the law that led to 14 Democrat state senators fleeing the state, and to raucous, often vulgar and destructive demonstrations in the state capitol in Madison. (How can that be? The world hasn’t ended yet, and this law’s opponents made it pretty clear that would be the result if the law went into effect. No doubt they’re hoping the NLRB will pronounce a curse on Wisconsin to keep it from sending the jobs to South Carolina or something like that…. Ron P.)

New Austerity Measures Reignite Greek Turmoil
Don’t laugh, the entitlement riots are coming here soon. And we have no one to bail us out. Stockpile cobblestones now, before all the good ones are gone. ~Bob. Excerpt: Striking Greeks raged against a new wave of austerity on Wednesday after euro zone finance ministers failed to agree how to make private creditors contribute to a second bailout for their indebted country. As workers staged a national strike, thousands of protesters -- some chanting "Thieves, traitors! Where did the money go" -- massed at parliament to try to prevent lawmakers enacting more tax hikes, spending cuts and sell-offs of state property. Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou must push through a five-year deficit reduction and privatisation programme to continue receiving aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund and avoid default after Greece fell behind on its first 110 billion euros ($158.1 billion) rescue plan.

Excerpt: : This Entry will be released through this Blog over three days. It is lengthy but I implore all of you to take the time to read it and pass it on to all you know and most especially to your Congressmen/women. This is the genesis of the argument against COIN/ROE. It is the sole act, I believe, that "gave permission" for the military ideologues to dust off a 70 year old controversial doctrine and roll it into Afghanistan. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The Libyan War: NATO’s Twilight?
Excerpt: If the war in Libya has proven anything, it is how militarily weak the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries are without American help. And more importantly for those members involved in the Libyan conflict, it is this revealed weakness that, in the end, may allow Gaddafi to survive. Less than a week after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticised NATO members at a meeting in Brussels for “serious capability gaps and other institutional shortcomings laid bare by the Libyan operation,” Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, Britain’s naval chief, warned that the Royal Navy would be able to sustain operations in Libya for only another three months. “Beyond that, we might have to request the Government to make some challenging decisions about priorities,” said Stanhope. Although the British navy has only four ships operating off Libya, it has been called “a key contributor to the Libya mission.”

Jihadi Missile Crisis
Excerpt: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently claimed that Hezbollah possessed chemical and biological weapons. The news comes as the IDF contends the terror organization has now amassed more than 50,000 missiles and rockets, heightening Israel’s concerns over its vulnerability to a Hezbollah assault. The assertion by Gates followed reports in April 2011 that Libyan rebels had ransacked chemical weapons storage depots in and around the Libyan city of Benghazi. There they obtained at least 2,000 artillery shells carrying mustard gas and 1,200 nerve gas shells, which they sold to both Hezbollah and Hamas. Not surprisingly, Iran was believed to be the broker of the deal. Of course, Iran has long been accused of supplying Hezbollah with chemical weapons, the last time in 2009 when chemical traces were discovered in a Hezbollah weapons warehouse.

Too funny but worth reading: A Gay Girl in Damascus That Wasn’t
Excerpt: “Gay Girl in Damascus,” a popular blogger, turns out to be a beefy, bearded grad student recently of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Isn’t that just like the Internet? The readership of A Gay Girl in Damascus had exploded in the wake of the current unrest in Syria. Exploiting Western appetites for unfiltered, on-the-ground information, the blogger posted elaborate tales putting his heroine alter-ego in the midst of the action. In one posting Amina Abdallah Arraf and her father found themselves in a late-night confrontation with state security forces. More dramatically, a cousin, who also turns out to be the American blogger, posted that Amina had been kidnapped: “We do not know who took her so we do not know who to ask to get her back,” the blog announced. “It is possible that they are forcibly deporting her.” This abduction unleashed a global campaign to “Free Amina Arraf.” Earlier this week, Tom MacMaster, an American studying at Edinburgh University in Scotland, confessed that he had concocted Amina Abdallah Arraf. He invented the fictional blogger as both an exercise in creative writing and out of frustration that his postings on Middle Eastern affairs were routinely dismissed because, he believed, his name betrayed a Western identity. “I saw lots of incredibly ignorant and stupid positions repeated on the Middle East,” MacMaster claimed in his apology. “I noticed that when I, a person with a distinctly Anglo name, made comments on the Middle East, the facts I might present were ignored and I found myself accused of hating America, Jews, etc. I wondered idly whether the same ideas presented by someone with a distinctly Arab and female identity would have the same reaction.” ... The exposure of the hoax has left A Gay Girl in Damascus’s dejected followers asking how MacMaster could have so cruelly deceived them. A more pertinent but less asked question is: How could so many people have allowed themselves to be deceived? The portrait Tom MacMaster painted of the Middle East was the picture Western liberals wanted to see. It was not a picture of the Middle East.

Taken in by 'Gay Girl'
I'd barely followed "A Gay Girl In Damascus" until last week, when Daily Beast columnist Peter Beinart posted something to Twitter: "This is really important -- this woman is a hero," with a link to a story about Amina Abdallah Arraf, a Syrian-American woman and the author of the blog "A Gay Girl In Damascus." According to the story, Amina had been seized by Syrian security forces for her dissident writing. Quickly, Amina's arrest became a new Internet cause. Even the U.S. State Department joined the effort. And soon thereafter, the whole thing fell apart. Amina never existed. The author of "A Gay Girl In Damascus" was in fact a 40-year-old straight dude from Georgia living in Scotland. Rather than the sexy young lesbian in the photos (stolen from the Facebook page of a Croatian expat living in London), the photo of him in the Washington Post shows a man who looks like the bearded comic-actor Zach Galifianakis -- in a Che Guevara T-shirt, naturally. Tom MacMaster was raised to be a peace activist.

Excerpt: Yesterday, Barack Obama gave away the game. Without actually using the words, Barack Obama admitted he is completely and utterly ignorant about job creation and economics. In an interview with the Today Show, Barack Obama declared that the unemployment rate remains so high because of ATMS. Sadly, many people will agree with him because they lack the vision to see the whole picture. They see less bank tellers and more ATMs — much as Barack Obama does — and presume this must mean higher unemployment. This myth, and it is a myth, is older than even the great lament that cars put blacksmiths on the unemployment line by getting rid of the need for horse shoes. This left-wing populist thinking does not create jobs and often leads to dangerous policies that stifle the innovation that create the jobs that spring forth from the ATM’s replacing the bank tellers. Barack Obama sees less tellers at the banks because of ATM’s. But he does not see new IT workers at the bank to manage the ATM — higher paid than the tellers. He does not see the computer programmers. He does not see the manufacturers of the machines and their component parts.

Excerpt: Better throw some more logs on the fire. What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

The Money Hole
Excerpt: America is falling deeper into debt. We're long past the point where drastic action is needed. We're near Greek levels of debt. What's going to happen? Maybe riots -- like we've seen in Greece? We need to make cuts now. Some governors have shown the way. You know about Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, John Kasich, etc. But you probably don't know about Luis Fortuno. Fortuno is governor of Puerto Rico. Two years ago, he fired 17,000 government workers. No state governor did anything like that. He cut spending much more than Walker did in Wisconsin. In return, thousands of union members demonstrated against Fortuno for days. They clashed with police. They called him a fascist.

Our Moral Dilemma by Walter Williams
Excerpt: Most of our nation's problems are a direct result of our being immune, hostile or indifferent to several moral questions. Let's start out with the simple and move to the more complex. Or, stated another way, let's begin with questions that generate the least hostility, moving to those that generate the greatest. If a person benefits from a hamburger, a suit of clothing, an apartment or an education, who should be forced to pay for it? I believe the question has only one moral answer, namely the person who benefits from a good or service should be forced to pay for it, that's if we wish to distinguish ourselves from thieves who only care about enjoying something and who pays is irrelevant. Aside from the moral question is the economic efficiency question. If the user of something isn't paying, it's a good chance that he'll overuse and waste it. Our country's problem is that too many Americans want to benefit from things for which they expect other Americans to be taxed. A related moral question is: Does one American have a moral right to live at the expense of another American? (Lots of people are in favor of slavery as long as they expect to be among the masters and not the slaves. Ron P.)

Marco Rubio Delivers Maiden Senate Speech
Excerpt: I come from a hard-working and humble family. One that was neither wealthy nor connected. Yet I've always considered myself to be a child of privilege because growing up I was blessed with two very important things. I was raised by a strong and stable family. And I was blessed to be born here in the United States of America. America began from a powerful truth - that our rights as individuals do not come from our government. They come from our God. Government's job is to protect those rights. And here this Republic has done that better than any government in the history of the world.

Worth reading: The Art of Appreciating America from Abroad
Excerpt: Even a brief hiatus abroad always gives one perspective and appreciation of the United States; reading various European papers accents the difference, and daily association, by chance and by design, with Europeans enriches the perspective. I offer some reflections this week on the American experience, and hope to be back on the farm in the U.S. by the time most read this. I note that the Mediterranean is a beautiful place, the study of which I have devoted much of my adult career; so my comments are not so much critiques of Sicilian or Roman life as much as thoughts on the U.S. through the benefit of both distance and connectivity with the 24/7 news. 1. We should not listen to journalists, politicians, or academics who lecture about overpopulation, looming environmental catastrophe, or general unsustainability — if they live in a house over 2,500 square feet and fly more than once a month. Unfortunately that covers most of our alarmists. Otherwise these megaphones simply are medieval grandees seeking indulgences and penances through loud lectures against what they enjoy in the flesh.

The 'World without Nuclear Weapons' Fiction
Excerpt: The world without nuclear weapons became no more realistic after the Cold War, because new nuclear-armed states emerged during and after this struggle: India (1974), Pakistan (1998), and North Korea (2006). These countries, like Russia and China, will never renounce nuclear weapons under any circumstances. For Moscow, Beijing, and Pyongyang, nuclear weapons are very useful for threatening the West, blackmailing it, obtaining capitulations and concessions, and winning wars if need be. The same incentives have convinced Iran to try to develop nuclear weapons, with which it will be able to blackmail its Persian Gulf neighbors and Israel (and ultimately the U.S. as well). Nuclear disarmament will never work. Furthermore, unilateral nuclear disarmament -- which Obama is already pursuing by not developing new nuclear weapons, allowing existing weapons to decay, and cutting the size of the American arsenal -- will not convince any other nuclear state to give up nuclear weapons, nor will it convince any aspirant to the nuclear weapon club to cease the development of such weapons. In fact, unilateral disarmament will only expose America to grave danger. (No matter how hard you try, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. History is a one-way street; once discovered, atomic weaponry cannot be un-discovered. Every religion allows self-defense. Even “turn the other cheek” has its limits, it doesn’t mean if your oldest daughter is raped, you should give the younger one to the rapist as well. “Regardless of whatever high-sounding reason they cite, those who will not fight at need to defend their own or their families' lives become willing participants in their murders.” ~Unattributed.   Ron P.)

Top Barack Obama donors net government jobs
Thank God we elected Obama to transcend the broken politics of the past! ~Bob. Excerpt: Telecom executive Donald H. Gips raised a big bundle of cash to help finance his friend Barack Obama’s run for the presidency. Gips, a vice president of Colorado-based Level 3 Communications, delivered more than $500,000 in contributions for the Obama war chest, while two other company executives collected at least $150,000 more. After the election, Gips was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House, helping to place loyalists and fundraisers in many key positions. Then, in mid-2009, Obama named him ambassador to South Africa. Meanwhile, Level 3 Communications, in which Gips retained stock, received millions of dollars of government stimulus contracts for broadband projects in six states — though Gips said he had been “completely unaware” that the company had received the contracts.
Excerpt: Here's an excellent summation by a Congressman from Texas of all the wonderful things we have to look forward to once we are forced by the Federal government to use only the new environmentally-“friendly" CFL light bulbs by 2014.

Nearly 9 out of 10 Latino babies born in the U.S. relied on WIC says La Raza
Excerpt: La Raza sent out an email blast this week to supporters urging them to demand that their local lawmakers “Save our babies! Stop extreme cuts to the WIC program.” The La Raza email blast pointed out that, “nearly nine out of ten Latino infants born in the United States participated in WIC in 2008. This program has been especially important for Hispanic expectant mothers, who are less likely to have access to prenatal care and medical information,” according to Jennifer Ng'andu, Deputy Director, Health Policy Project for La Raza. With the economic health of the country at risk and states’ drowning in red ink, many lawmakers have turned to popular programs as a way to solve their budget shortfalls.

Hearing Offers Eyewitness Accounts of Prison Radicalization
Excerpt: A former federal prosecutor and a former New York state prison official who investigated radical Islamist recruitment will discuss the threat of prison radicalization during a House hearing Wednesday. Former prosecutor Kevin Smith likely will discuss a California case in which inmates radicalized at Folsom prison plotted to attack Jewish targets in Los Angeles and the LAX airport. Patrick Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general for New York state prisons' criminal intelligence unit and a contributor to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, has emphasized the role prison chaplains play in the radicalization process and the lack of effective oversight over their selection. It is the second hearing called by Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., on radicalization within the American Muslim community. In March, committee members heard from relatives of men who became radicalized and from a Muslim who actively opposes Islamist organizations.

Phila. judge overturns expulsion of 6-year-old
Excerpt: Citing past cases, Panepinto ruled that he can, in fact, step in when the school commits a gross abuse of discretion. "While the Court is reluctant to disturb a decision concerning how a school enforces its policies, it is this Court's opinion that their action here was arbitrary, capricious and prejudicial to the public interest," Panepinto wrote. (There has to be more to this than the article tells us. The child had already been suspended three times. If the first three were more justified than this one, maybe the child should be in some other school; if not, perhaps the teacher or administrator needs to find a different line of work. Something isn’t right. Ron P.)

Activists cry foul over FBI probe
Excerpt: FBI agents took box after box of address books, family calendars, artwork and personal letters in their 10-hour raid in September of the century-old house shared by Stephanie Weiner and her husband. The agents seemed keenly interested in Weiner’s home-based business, the Revolutionary Lemonade Stand, which sells silkscreened infant bodysuits and other clothes with socialist slogans, phrases like “Help Wanted: Revolutionaries.” (...) The probe — involving subpoenas to 23 people and raids of seven homes last fall — has triggered a high-powered protest against the Department of Justice and, in the process, could create some political discomfort for President Obama with his union supporters as he gears up for his reelection campaign. The apparent targets are concentrated in the Midwest, including Chicagoans who crossed paths with Obama when he was a young state senator and some who have been active in labor unions that supported his political rise.

On Medicare, Go on Offense: The GOP has been running scared. It needn’t, and mustn’t.
President Obama’s leftist ideology is killing the economy, rationing health care, and trashing the Constitution. That is the winning answer to the “Leftist or failure?” question recently posed by Charles Krauthammer. Should Republicans in 2012 hit Obama for being far to the left of the country, or should they point to his dismal economic record instead? Krauthammer himself replies, “Both,” advising Republicans to show that Obama’s “abysmal stewardship” is rooted in his “out-of-touch social-democratic ideology.” That is correct insofar as it goes. Yet Krauthammer dances around the Medicare issue. I fear Republicans may do the same.

Restored WWII bomber crashes
Falls into the “damn shame” category. My Uncle Very was flying as a volunteer tail gunner with the 587 Bomb group on December 24, 1944 when his B-17 was shot down. He died on December 26. I talked to the navigator on his plane a few years ago. I would have been interested in purchasing a ride, but it was quite expensive. Won’t be giving rides now. ~Bob. Excerpt: A World War II Flying Fortress bomber crashed and burned Monday in a cornfield southwest of Chicago, but seven crew members and volunteers walked away without serious injury. The B-17, christened the Liberty Belle, took off from the Aurora Municipal Airport at 9:30 a.m. and made an emergency crash landing in Oswego, 44 miles outside Chicago, after the pilot reported an engine fire, said Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkle. Witnesses said the pilot set the plane down between a tower and a line of trees.

Ronald Reagan tells joke about Democrats
Funny stuff. ~Bob.

A push for longer school days

Excerpt: The quantity of instruction can mean the difference between a high school dropout and a college graduate. As Mayor Emanuel has pointed out, a Chicago student's peer in Houston will experience up to four additional years of instruction by the time he or she graduates from high school. We know that every second counts, yet we are denying students days, weeks and years of opportunity. (Quinn signed the bill, but the TV news reported it doesn’t go into effect in Chicago until the teachers’ unions agree. Good luck with that. ~Bob.)

Quinn signs law making it easier to fire teachers
Excerpt: It will be harder for Illinois teachers to strike and easier for districts to fire them under a new education law signed Monday that also clears the way for Chicago to lengthen its school day and year. (Had union support. Must be toothless. Quinn is a wholly-owned union property. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Michelle Obama, at a Democrat party fundraiser in California last night:  “He reads every word, every memo, so he is better prepared than the people briefing him,” she said. “This man doesn’t take a day off.” 1) It’s a good thing that the Central Intelligence Agency is full of classy, dignified, professional people; otherwise, tomorrow’s President’s Daily Brief might consist of, “well, since you’re so well prepared, figure it out yourself, smarty-pants. After all, we already know you have as much courage as the Navy SEALs.” 2) The man doesn’t take a day off. No, but he has found time for golf for eleven straight weekends.

Students Stumble Again on the Basics of History
Actually, higher than I would have expected. Seems there are a few teachers teaching instead of doing political work, rioting, etc. ~Bob. Excerpt: Fewer than a quarter of American 12th-graders knew China was North Korea's ally during the Korean War, and only 35% of fourth-graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, according to national history-test scores released Tuesday. The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that U.S. schoolchildren have made little progress since 2006 in their understanding of key historical themes, including the basic principles of democracy and America's role in the world. Only 20% of U.S. fourth-graders and 17% of eighth-graders who took the 2010 history exam were "proficient" or "advanced," unchanged since the test was last administered in 2006. Proficient means students have a solid understanding of the material.

Agents Resisted Weapons Tracking
Excerpt: Federal agents battled their supervisors to stop a government program that kept illicit guns in circulation to trace them to weapons traffickers, a new congressional report shows. Officials in Monterrey, Mexico, where five men died in a May shooting. Some agents even worried that a gun tracked, then lost, in the program might have been used in the January shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. That didn't turn out to be the case, but other guns tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did end up at other crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico. The Phoenix ATF office devised the operation known as Fast and Furious in 2009-10 to monitor weapons purchases by suspected gun traffickers. The agency hoped to build a case against major arms smugglers to Mexican drug cartels.

Graham says Romney risks looking like Jimmy Carter
I’m just not convinced that Romney has any core values except ambition. ~Bob. Excerpt: A leading Republican voice on national security said Tuesday that presidential contender Mitt Romney risks looking like Jimmy Carter if he doesn’t take a stronger stance on Afghanistan. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) against Romney in the 2008 presidential primary, leveled one of his party’s most stinging insults at the 2012 front-runner in response to Romney’s statements in Monday’s New Hampshire debate. He directly challenged Romney’s suggestion that the conflict in Afghanistan was a war of independence, and added: “From the party’s point of view, the biggest disaster would be to let Barack Obama become Ronald Reagan and our people become Jimmy Carter.” Graham was not alone in his skepticism about Romney. Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), a senior Republican member of the Armed Services Committee, also voiced dismay with the former Massachusetts governor’s characterization of the Afghan war.

Excerpt: This past weekend, Wal-Mart was offering health care screenings to male customers at no charge. Sam’s Clubs across the country gave any customer willing to take the time: BMI Index measurements, Blood pressure tests, Cholesterol readings, PSA (prostate cancer) tests, and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) tests. And that’s not all. Sam’s Clubs have more free screenings planned for the future. Here’s the schedule: July: Kids Health Screenings. August: Vision Health Screenings. September: Diabetes Screenings. October: Women’s Health Screenings. November: Digestive Health Screenings.

Senate vote to repeal ethanol tax credit fails, but some in GOP break ranks
Another greenie chimera—I’d support repeal. ~Bob. Excerpt: A majority of Senate Republicans appeared to break Tuesday with two decades of GOP orthodoxy against higher taxes, voting to advance a plan to abruptly cancel billions of dollars in annual tax credits for ethanol blenders. The measure, offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla), fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster threat. But it had the support of 34 of 47 Republicans, most of whom have signed an anti-tax pledge that specifically prohibits raising taxes by any means but economic growth. Coburn has argued forcefully that Republicans must abandon that pledge if they are serious about tackling the spiraling national debt. Though the Senate turned back his measure, he said the vote nonetheless marks the beginning of the end of GOP tolerance for wasteful giveaways through the tax code.

Low-key Marine, Gen. John R. Allen, to take over Afghan war at high-stakes time
Excerpt: Of all the members of President Obama’s new national security team, Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, tapped as the fourth commander in two years to run the war in Afghanistan, may have the toughest assignment. In the coming days, Obama is expected to make a key strategic decision about how many troops the United States can afford to withdraw from Afghanistan without giving ground to the Taliban. To execute that high-stakes plan, he’ll turn to Allen, 57, a low-profile Marine with no combat experience in Afghanistan but with a reputation as a military turnaround specialist. Unlike the household name he is slotted to replace, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Allen has served in relative public obscurity for the past three years, as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command in Tampa. Like Petraeus, however, Allen is known in defense circles as a scholarly leader whose strategic acumen helped reverse the tide of the war in Iraq. While serving as deputy commander in Anbar province in 2007 and 2008, Allen orchestrated the Sunni Awakening, the long-odds campaign to persuade hostile tribes to side with the U.S. military against al-Qaeda in Iraq and foreign fighters who were fueling the insurgency.

Nuclear waste dump is mired in inertia
NIMBY rules. Must be one of BO’s “shovel-ready” projects. ~Bob. Excerpt: Yucca Mountain is a case study in government dysfunction and bureaucratic inertia. The project dates back three decades. It has not solved the problem of nuclear waste but has succeeded in keeping fully employed large numbers of litigators. The mountain dump was a project that came to life slowly and tortuously and is in the process of dying in a similar fashion. Proponents haven’t given up on it, and it could yet be resuscitated by the courts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is expected to issue a ruling any day now on a lawsuit, filed by the states of Washington and South Carolina, among other plaintiffs, that contends that the Obama administration lacked authority to kill the congressionally mandated program. But as it now stands, the Yucca Mountain tunnel is likely to turn into a $15 billion Hole to Nowhere.

Detainee who provided key information about bin Laden courier rejoins al-Qaida
Excerpt: The terrorist described as the linchpin in the hunt for Osama bin Laden has rejoined al-Qaida after the Bush administration released him from a secret CIA secret prison under pressure from Pakistan, according to former and current U.S. intelligence officials. Shortly after the CIA decided to close the secret prisons, the U.S. intelligence agency returned al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul in 2006 to his native Pakistan, which had been demanding his release since his capture about two years earlier.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck sell endorsements to conservative groups
Excerpt: If you’re a regular listener of Glenn Beck’s radio show and you wanted to contribute to a political group that would advance the populist conservative ideals he touts on his show, you’d have plenty of reason to think that FreedomWorks was your best investment. But if you’re a fan of Mark Levin’s radio show, you’d have just as much cause to believe that Americans for Prosperity, a FreedomWorks rival, was the most effective conservative advocacy group. And, if Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity are who you listen to, you’d be hearing a steady stream of entreaties to support the important work of the Heritage Foundation. That’s not coincidence. In search of donations and influence, the three prominent conservative groups are paying hefty sponsorship fees to the popular talk show hosts. Those fees buy them a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs – praising or sometimes defending the groups, while urging listeners to donate – often woven seamlessly into programming in ways that do not seem like paid advertising. (It’s been hard to interest conservative commentators in my book, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. They are selling their own books, for-profit, and might not want to plug a book where the profits got to help wounded vets, especially when I can’t pay for the plug. ~Bob)

Did Smart Growth Fuel the Property Price Boom?
Dr. Thomas Sowell has long argued that limits on property use and using tax dollars for green spaces drives up property costs, enhancing the value of wealthy properties while driving poor people out of the market. ~Bob. Excerpt: Bankers, politicians, policymakers and even home buyers are usually painted as the culprits of the housing bust, but land-use planners don't generally make that list. In a recent paper, though, Wendell Cox, an Illinois-based consultant and an adjunct fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, argues land-use restrictions and planning policies like smart growth fueled property prices and became the engine of the housing boom and bust, says the Wall Street Journal. Smart growth is generally defined as land-use policies that encourage mixed-use development that reins in suburban sprawl and long commutes by car. The aim is to preserve open space and farmland by pushing development toward public transportation and more walkable communities. Mr. Cox argues that the housing bust was concentrated in "prescriptively regulated" areas, or those with extensive barriers to development. These differ from "responsively regulated" metro areas, which allow development to meet demand. San Diego is prescriptive; Dallas is not. From the peak of the bubble in 2006 to the Lehman Brothers' collapse in September 2008, Mr. Cox writes, 11 heavily regulated metropolitan markets accounted for 73 percent of aggregate home-value losses, with an average loss of $175,000 per house. By contrast, homes in less regulated markets lost an average of $12,000 per house in value.

Michele Bachmann’s star turn
Excerpt: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann came into Monday night’s presidential debate in the Queen City as an unknown commodity. She left it as the most talked-about candidate in the 2012 GOP field. Bachmann stole headlines at the start by announcing that she had filed to run for president — skipping the exploratory phase entirely — and then proceeding to command the stage in the first hour of the CNN-sponsored debate with quotable answers on every question asked of her. The crowd assembled at Saint Anselm College broke into spontaneous applause after several of Bachmann’s answers “She knows what she believes and why she believes it,” Bachmann pollster Ed Goeas said in the post-debate spin room. “She is a very good communicator.” … Her personal story — she was raised by a single mother, and she and her husband have raised five children of their own and 23 foster kids — is compelling, and Bachmann made certain to tell it as many ways as possible. 

Bill to opt out of immigration fingerprints advances in state Senate
California, if it is to collapse in fiscal ruin ahead of Greece, not to mention other states, needs more illegal immigrants to support. ~Bob. Excerpt: A bill that would remove California’s counties from federal immigration fingerprint checks easily advanced in the state Senate this week. The Public Safety Committee on Monday voted 5-2 in support of AB 1081, legislation intended to make California the fourth state to opt out of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities program. Jails in all 58 of California’s counties are participating in the fingerprint program, many of them willingly. However, the fingerprint program has drawn significant criticism for how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has implemented the checks, and for who is being deported as a result.

Al-Qaida Issues New Mail Bombing Threat
Excerpt: The FBI has issued a new warning about an al-Qaida-inspired plot to assassinate key government and private sector individuals with mail bombs. The plot is only "aspirational," says a report reviewed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. But FBI officials have expressed concern about the actions of lone wolf attackers already in the United States. The threats follow a June 3 video featuring American al-Qaida member Adam Gadahn "in which he encourages acts of individual jihad, members of several extremist Web forums posted names of companies and its leaders to target," the FBI warning said. That video appeared initially on the closed al-Qaida web forum Shumukh al-Islam. The threat has since gone viral, appearing in major forums like Ansar al-Mujahideen and Somali terrorist site Al-Qimmah. (They better screen mail for Obama coming into golf courses. ~Bob.)

Pakistani Forces Arrest CIA Informants Who Led U.S. to Usama Bin Laden
Excerpt: In Pakistan, a Western official confirmed a New York Times report that five of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the CIA before the May 2 bin Laden raid were arrested by Pakistan's top military spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as ISI. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters. The Times, in an article posted on its website late Tuesday, said the detained informants included a Pakistani army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in the weeks before the raid. (I thought no one helped us. Isn’t that what they said when announcing the $25M reward wouldn’t be paid? We’re currently fighting THREE wars that all need human intelligence to be successfully prosecuted. If we fail to protect our assets, how many assets do we expect to have? Ron P.)

Capitol Hill's other dirty laundry
Excerpt: The same congressional panel that launched a preliminary inquiry into Weiner-gate this week has been diddling around with several other Democratic ethics scandals for years. These aren't foxes guarding the henhouse. They're sloths guarding the foxhole.

Amid budget sacrifice, let the lawyers go first
Excerpt: Congress and President Obama are on the verge of a budget deal likely to cause pain for almost everyone. The national debt stands at $14.3 trillion, with this year's deficit standing at $1.3 trillion. The days of collecting two years (99 weeks) of unemployment benefits are surely numbered. Entitlements will likely become less generous for those of us under age 50. Certain subsidies will disappear. Clearly, taxpayers have more than enough on their plates already. So -- should they also be made to pay $600-per-hour legal fees of environmentalists who sue the government? The Equal Access to Justice Act, passed in 1980, was intended to help people with legitimate damage claims against the federal government recoup their legal costs. (Anytime leftists talk about “Justice,” they mean, “You have money and I want it.” ~Bob.)

Why Has Pakistan Targeted Informants Who Helped Track Bin Laden?
Excerpt: In the days following the raid that discovered and killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan's top spymaster recalled that he had long made his feelings plain to his American allies. Where the two countries' interests meet, Lieut. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha told a select group of journalists, there would be co-operation. But where the U.S.'s interests were deemed to be acting against Pakistan's own, it would be a very different matter. "We'll not help you," the head of Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) quoted himself as telling his American counterparts. "We'll resist you."
Now, Pasha seems to be making good on that promise.

American Found in Mass Grave in Mexico
Excerpt: An American was found among the 193 corpses recovered in April in mass graves in Mexico near the border, presumably killed after being pulled off of a bus by the Zeta drug cartel a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Shale gas doesn't make Poland the new Norway yet
Excerpt: Poland is being hailed as Europe's new Qatar. Located deep beneath its rolling landscape are 5300 billion cubic metres (bcm) of recoverable shale gas, more than enough to meet the country’s needs (currently 14 billion bcm per year) for centuries to come. This has captured the imagination of a country that sees its dependency on Russian gas as a threat to national sovereignty. But Poland already seems to have sold its resources to American oil companies – and they might find it more lucrative to sell into the Russian-controlled pipeline network. As one analyst puts it, ‘Poland is not on course to become a second Norway, more a second kind of Turkmenistan.’ Ekke Overbeek reports from Warsaw. (One of life’s difficult, but important, lessons—one I still struggle with on occasion—is this: politics is economics is diplomacy. The three tie together like dancers in a fine ballet. What each does effects the other two. Often the choice isn’t between good and bad, but subtler shades of grey. This is an in-depth look at the potential bonanza and the attendant problems of capturing and selling Poland’s natural gas resources. Part of the problem the Poles are facing is that the “American” oil companies aren’t all that “American” any more. Most energy companies that can have gone global, if for no other reason than to avoid onerous taxes and regulations wherever possible. The best interests of the companies are not necessarily in the best interest of the USA, our allies or our friends. Let’s hope the Poles—and these companies—can find solutions favorable to us all. Ron P.)

Lawmakers sue White House over use of military force in Libya
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers sued the Obama administration on Wednesday over its use of U.S. military forces in Libya. 

Led by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), the members contend the White House broke the law when it launched military operations against Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi in March without congressional authorization. “With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated. We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies,” Kucinich said in a statement.

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