Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Political Digest for June 8, 2011

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.

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Book Recommendation: Shade it Black
A friend sent me an autographed copy of “Shade it Black,” which I read in a day. As a Marine Vietnam Veteran (of no particular distinction), I have to say that Jess Goodell is a better Marine than I am, because she bravely performed a duty I don’t believe I could have done, working in Mortuary Affairs and dealing every day with the horrific dead of modern combat. That duty wounded her as deeply as any veteran who lost a limb, but it was a wound unseen and largely unacknowledged. I would not recommend this book to someone of fragile sensibilities. PTSD is very real and very painful. Unfortunately, because it is not a visible wound, it is also possible to fake it, as detailed in the great book about phony Vietnam vets, “Stolen Valor,” which I highly recommend. And agencies or providers in the money flow have no incentive to expose the fakes, which means they suck up resources needed by veterans like Goodell. Cash flow is probably why the CDC and the VA have such a different estimate of real PTSD among Vietnam veterans, and why so many groups raising money put out inflated phony claims of the suicide rate among Vietnam vets. Having in the past sent several hundred dollars to a woman Marine I knew to escape from an abusive marriage (she paid back every penny), I was disappointed to read that Goodell’s comrades offered her so little support after she left the Corps. This book may also make you rethink the politically-correct idea that women can be injected into the macho male environment of combat without adverse conditions. Thank you, Jess, for your service to our Corps, to your fellow Marines and to our Republic. Semper Fidelis, Bob Hall

Different Decisions by thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Two unrelated news stories on the same day show the contrast between government decisions and private decisions. Under the headline "Foreclosed Homes Sell at Big Discounts," USA Today reported that banks were selling the homes they foreclosed on, at discounts of 38 percent in Tennessee to 41 percent in Illinois and Ohio. Banks in general try to get rid of the homes they acquire by foreclosure, by selling them quickly for whatever they can get. Why? Because banks are forced by economic realities to realize that they are not real estate companies. No matter how much expertise bank officials may have in financial transactions, that is very different from knowing the best ways to maintain and market empty houses. … Incidentally, conservatives who think that schools should be teaching "abstinence" miss the point completely. The schools have no expertise to be teaching sex at all. We should be happy if they ever develop the competence to teach math and English, so that our children can hold their own in international tests given to children in other countries.

It was Weiner’s, er, Weiner: Weiner admits sending Twitter pic but says he won't leave office
This is only news to idiots. Everyone else knew from day one. Including, I’m sure, his wife. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) on Monday acknowledged sending a lewd photo of himself through Twitter to a college student in Washington state but said he would not resign. Weiner apologized to his wife, family, staff and constituents at a press conference in New York City, admitting he had not been truthful to even his closest friends and family. "I haven't told the truth and I've done things that I deeply regret," he said. "I apologize to my wife and our families. "I'm deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions."

'Gunwalker' guns linked to helicopter shooting
Excerpt: CBS News has learned that the recent case of a Mexican military helicopter forced to land after it was fired upon is linked to the ATF Fast and Furious "gunwalker" operation. Drug cartel suspects on the ground shot at Mexican government helicopters two weeks ago in western Mexico, forcing one chopper to land. Authorities seized more than 70 assault rifles and other weapons from the suspects. Among the seized weapons are guns sold to suspects as part of the ATF sting operation, sources say. That information came from traces of serial numbers. … "Shooting at an aircraft is a terrorist act," says one U.S. law enforcement source. "What does that say if we're helping Mexican drug cartels engage in acts of terror? That's appalling if we could have stopped those guns. "The Department of Justice provided no information or comment when asked about the incident by CBS News.

Arizona boycott: What happened to Los Angeles' boycott of Arizona?
Political posturing—cheapest game in town. Usually pays off, too, because the voters have ADD. ~Bob. Excerpt: In May 2010, Los Angeles was a part of wave of cities that voted to boycott Arizona after lawmakers in that state passed a controversial law targeting illegal immigrants. City Hall staffers were ordered to review contracts with Arizona companies for possible termination, and official travel to Arizona was supposed to be suspended. But a year later, little has changed in the way Los Angeles does business with the state next door. A similar pattern can be seen across California. Boycotts in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles County made headlines last year but have since delivered little punch.

Worth Reading for the numbers: Obama loses bin Laden bounce; Romney on the move among GOP contenders
As I predicted, the bounce was temporary. If these things won elections, Bush would have defeated Clinton in 1992. ~Bob. Excerpt: The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.

Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong
Excerpt: Are we living at the beginning of the Age of Fossil Fuels, not its final decades? The very thought goes against everything that politicians and the educated public have been taught to believe in the past generation. According to the conventional wisdom, the U.S. and other industrial nations must undertake a rapid and expensive transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy for three reasons: The imminent depletion of fossil fuels, national security and the danger of global warming. What if the conventional wisdom about the energy future of America and the world has been completely wrong? As everyone who follows news about energy knows by now, in the last decade the technique of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," long used in the oil industry, has evolved to permit energy companies to access reserves of previously-unrecoverable “shale gas” or unconventional natural gas. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these advances mean there is at least six times as much recoverable natural gas today as there was a decade ago.

Energy: What's Sustainable?
Excerpt: The claim is made that sustainable energy needs to be available for the day when we run out of oil and gas. But when will that day arrive? A fascinating thing about oil and gas is that the more we learn about the subsurface, and the better we become at drilling and completing wells and extracting fluids through them, the more oil and gas we find to be technically and economically producible, says Bob Tippee, editor of Oil & Gas Journal. The fear of imminent depletion of oil and gas should not be a factor in our thinking about sustainability. In fact, we will produce much more energy from supposedly finite resources than we will gather from renewable sources for many decades. But costs will begin to converge. As oil and gas become costlier, they will need higher prices in order to be economic. And higher prices for oil and gas will help renewable energy compete. As a taxpayer, Tippee says he does not want to have to pay for a futile effort to make sustainable energy happen on a political schedule inevitably at variance with what markets will allow. Governments do have a role in this process, especially governments of developed countries. But that role shouldn't be fuel selection. Markets should handle that, says Tippee.

Worth reading: Ugly Modeling: Will spending cuts ruin or improve America’s economy?
Excerpt: Yet even this correction implicitly assumes that government spending is the source of all recovery. The logic, as with Bernanke’s and Zandi’s analyses, is that government spending cuts reduce overall demand in the economy, which affects growth and then employment. This argument ignores the fact that the government has to take its money out of the economy by raising taxes, borrowing from investors, or printing dollars. Each of these options can shrink the economy. All these analysts also systematically ignore the fact that GDP numbers include government spending. When the federal government pumps trillions of dollars into the economy, it looks as if GDP is growing. When government cuts spending—even cuts within the most inefficient programs—aggregate GDP shrinks. But that’s misleading. If Washington spends $1 a year on a bureaucrat’s salary, for example, GDP numbers will register growth of exactly $1, whether or not the employee has produced any value for that money. By contrast, if a firm pays an engineer $1, that $1 only shows up in the GDP if the engineer produces $1 worth of stuff to sell. This distinction biases GDP numbers—and the policies based on them—toward ever-increasing government spending.

Ghadry: Assad Will Fall, But the Brotherhood May Follow
Excerpt: The wave of unrest sweeping Syria will drive President Bashar Assad from power and severely weaken the Islamist regime in Tehran, a prominent dissident predicts. "It is a certainty the Assad regime will fall," said Farid Ghadry, president of the Reform Party of Syria (RPS). Ghadry, currently living in the United States, closely monitors the situation in his native land through a network of contacts there. He said his organization is getting reports that Syrian security men appear tired and demoralized and have reached "levels of mental and physical fatigue they are not prepared for." Syrian forces killed as many as 40 people during weekend clashes and human rights groups say the total death toll during three months of unrest is more than 1,100 people. A new online video shows Syrian soldiers joking over the bodies of some of those killed." Your father told you to watch out," one soldier says over the body of someone with a head wound, "but you didn't."

Education And The Constitution
Excerpt: World War II changed the face of learning for those Americans who choose to enter college or university. The life and death necessities of the War period and the subsequent Cold War challenge of the Soviet Union brought unprecedented levels of defense-related federal funds into private and State-run institutions of higher learning and research. In addition to necessary federal requirements on how these dollars could and should be spent, there came increasing regulatory controls on institutional management largely unrelated to defense needs. The federal reach extends to employment, environment, internet services, institutional financial activity, financial aid and student data, campus security, and equity in athletics to name only a few areas now under the federal thumb. Since World War II, the private sector’s interest in supporting students and research at colleges and universities has been discouraged by the increasingly anti-free enterprise biases of faculty and administrators.

Top Obama Economic Adviser Goolsbee to Quit to Return to Professor Position
9% unemployment--my work here is done. ~Bob. Excerpt: The White House says Austan Goolsbee, a longtime adviser to President Obama, will resign his post as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers this summer to return to teaching at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Goolsbee has been the face of the White House on economic news, and is a regular every first Friday of the month explaining the administration's take on the latest jobless numbers. Goolsbee served on the three-member economic council since the start of the administration. He advised Obama during his 2004 Senate race and was senior economic policy adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Iran Submarines Red Sea Journey Causes Alarm
Excerpt: The deployment reflects Iran's efforts to show off its naval power. Iran has long sought to upgrade its air defense systems and navy to portray itself as a regional military superpower, as well as prepare for any possible future attacks against the country, saying they would most likely be air and sea-based. (...) Iran has long had three Russian-made submarines and last year, four new small Iranian-built submarines were delivered to its navy. The four were said to be Ghadir class submarines, which can fire missiles and torpedoes and at the same time are capable of cruising in shallow waters, such as those of the Persian Gulf off the Iranian coast.

'EU climate policies are driving smelters out of Europe'
Excerpt: The EU's climate and energy policies are threatening the survival of the European producers of non-ferrous metals like aluminium, copper, zinc and nickel, says Robert Jan Jeekel, Director Energy & Climate Change of Eurometaux, the European Metals Association. According to Jeekel, the models the European Commission uses to calculate the effects of climate policies on the industry are deeply flawed. The EU's 'unilateral policies' are driving up electricity prices for European producers compared to their international competitors, he says. 'As a result, factories are closing. This could spell the end of the production of aluminum and other non-ferrous metals in the EU.' (This in-depth look at the industrial issue of smelting and energy overlooks the fact that “de-industrialization” is clearly the main—perhaps, only?—real goal of the AGW religionists and their green allies. I suspect if the AGW crowd and their allies woke up some bright morning and found 90% of humanity had vanished during the night, their first reaction would be pleased surprise. Economic and social collapse isn’t a “bug” in their program. It’s a feature. --Ron P.)

Rate Of Uninformed Conversations About Navy SEALs Skyrockets
satire: The frequency and detail of uninformed conversations about the required strength, agility, and killing abilities of the Navy SEALs has increased exponentially since the SEAL-led operation to kill Osama bin Laden, Pentagon officials told reporters Monday. “Since last week, the number of people who have incorrectly stated that all SEAL members must do 300 pull-ups in a minute, earn advanced calculus degrees from MIT, and be able to hold their breath underwater for an hour, has been extraordinarily high,” said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, adding that the comment, “I heard you need to be able shoot a quarter from a mile away after running for four hours straight,” has been idiotically uttered in more than 65 percent of discussions related to the military operation. “Just to set the record straight: Navy SEALs are allowed to talk to their families. Ninety percent of them do not die during training. And members of SEAL Team Six did not have to fight and kill a tiger shark in order to be admitted.” Morrell added that current enlistment numbers couldn’t possibly account for the number of Americans claiming they have an uncle in the Navy SEALs. (Joke: Only 500 SEALs served in Vietnam—and I know all 30,000 of them.” ~Bob.)

Obama's Jobless America
Excerpt: The economic news keeps getting worse for America. Last month, the unemployment rate went up to 9.1 percent, the economy added only 54,000 jobs, and the average length of unemployment rose to more than nine months, the longest since the Labor Department started keeping track in 1948. But despite all the writing on the wall, President Barack Obama wants you and the 13.9 million unemployed Americans to hang on for the ride. In his weekly address on Friday, President Obama played down May's terrible unemployment numbers as mere "bumps on the road to recovery" and blamed America's latest economic woes on high gas prices (which he can do something about, but hasn't), the earthquake in Japan, and "unease about the European fiscal situation."

For The Sake Of The Republic, It’s Time To Hold The Mainstream Media Accountable
Excerpt: If you are a Republican, a conservative or an American who does believe in traditional values, you have met the enemy, and it's the mainstream media. Period. Don't take my word for it. Read the verbatim words of two liberal editors. With regard to the highly negative, unfair and clearly biased treatment John McCain and Sarah Palin received in 2008, John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei, editors of the liberal paper Politico said: "OK, let's just get this over with: Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico. And, yes, based on a combined 35 years in the news business we'd take an educated guess — nothing so scientific as a Pew study — that Obama will win the votes of probably 80% or more of journalists covering the 2008 election..."

Syria town of Jisr al-Shughour braces for army assault
Excerpt: Communications were cut to the area around Jisr al-Shughour on Monday and the details of the attack were impossible to verify. Syria does not allow foreign journalists to report on events. But Syrian state television said hundreds of gunmen had taken over Jisr al-Shughour, which lies about 20km (12 miles) from the Turkish border. It said "armed gangs" ambushed police and 20 officers died. It said another 82 personnel were killed when the town's security headquarters were overwhelmed, eight in a bomb attack on a post office and 120 overall. Opposition activists said there had been fighting, but the situation was unclear and they feared the government was simply setting the stage for a new onslaught.

Firms to cut health plans as reform starts: survey
Excerpt: Once provisions of the Affordable Care Act start to kick in during 2014, at least three of every 10 employers will probably stop offering health coverage, a survey released Monday shows. While only 7% of employees will be forced to switch to subsidized-exchange programs, at least 30% of companies say they will “definitely or probably” stop offering employer-sponsored coverage, according to the study published in McKinsey Quarterly. The survey of 1,300 employers says those who are keenly aware of the health-reform measure probably are more likely to consider an alternative to employer-sponsored plans, with 50% to 60% in this group expected to make a change. It also found that for some, it makes more sense to switch.

Decline and fall of the American empire
Excerpt: The US is a country with serious problems. Getting on for one in six depend on government food stamps to ensure they have enough to eat. The budget, which was in surplus little more than a decade ago, now has a deficit of Greek-style proportions. There is policy paralysis in Washington. The assumption is that the problems can be easily solved because the US is the biggest economy on the planet, the only country with global military reach, the lucky possessor of the world's reserve currency, and a nation with a proud record of re-inventing itself once in every generation or so.

In Alabama, a Harsh Bill for Residents Here Illegally
Excerpt: Alabama has passed a sweeping bill to crack down on illegal immigrants that both supporters and opponents call the toughest of its kind in the country, going well beyond a law Arizona passed last year that caused a furor there. The measure was passed by large margins in the Alabama Senate and the House, both Republican-controlled, in votes on Thursday. Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law. “Alabama is now the new No. 1 state for immigration enforcement,” said Kris Kobach, a constitutional lawyer who is secretary of state in Kansas. He has helped write many state bills to curtail illegal immigration, including Alabama’s.

Obama at war: making Nixon proud
Excerpt: Somewhere, Richard Nixon is smiling. In 1973, he vetoed the War Powers Act, insisting that it was unconstitutional. Congress overrode him, but almost every one of Nixon's successors has agreed with his assessment of the resolution. It took President Obama, though, to rip the War Powers Act into little pieces and sprinkle it over his Libyan intervention like a premature victory parade. The thrust of the War Powers Act is clear enough: 60 days after reporting the start of a military intervention, the president must secure congressional authorization or a declaration of war, or remove our forces. Presidents have typically acted "consistent with," but not "pursuant to," the law's provisions -- basically, humoring Congress while never conceding the law's constitutional legitimacy.

A Letter to DC
excerpt: It is with great wonderment and sadness that we listened to your May 10 speech on immigration issues. All of the joking about moats and alligators cut residents of Portal, AZ, to the core as we sheltered with friends or at a Red Cross evacuation site, to survive a terrible fire that still threatens our lives and property, as well as our ecotourism-based economy. Like last spring’s ‘Horseshoe Fire’, fought in SE Arizona at a cost of more than $10 million, ‘Horseshoe Fire 2’ was ignited by humans along a well-established route used by human and drug smugglers high in Horseshoe Canyon, about 50 miles north of Mexico. This fire burned catastrophically in an environment stressed by the worst drought this region has ever recorded, and 50 mph winds have propelled it through whole mountain valleys in a heartbeat. During its first 24-hrs, the fire consumed a greater area than did last year’s fire over a 6-week period. Local residents were roused after midnight, and some slept fitfully in cars after fleeing with family photos and any valuables that could be quickly assembled. Elderly retirees left with medical supplies, including oxygen tanks on which some depend. Thinking about this in the context of your own loved ones, does this account strike you as a description of security? We can personally attest to the fact that neither the border nor daily life is secure for members of our community.

The Palestinian Move
Excerpt: A former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, has publicly criticized the current Israeli government for a lack of flexibility, judgment and foresight, calling it “reckless and irresponsible” in the handling of Israel’s foreign and security policies. In various recent interviews and speeches, he has made it clear that he regards the decision to ignore the 2002 Saudi proposal for a peace settlement on the pre-1967 lines as a mistake and the focus on Iran as a diversion from the real issue — the likely recognition of an independent Palestinian state by a large segment of the international community, something Dagan considers a greater threat. What is important in Dagan’s statements is that, having been head of Mossad from 2002 to 2010, he is not considered in any way to be ideologically inclined toward accommodation. When Dagan was selected by Ariel Sharon to be head of Mossad, Sharon told him that he wanted a Mossad with “a knife between its teeth.” There were charges that he was too aggressive, but rarely were there charges that he was too soft. Dagan was as much a member of the Israeli governing establishment as anyone. Therefore, his statements, and the statements of some other senior figures, represent a split not so much within Israel but within the Israeli national security establishment, which has been seen as hard-line as the Likud.

Darkness in Syria
Excerpt: The chaos in Syria, Israel’s northern nemesis and a major geopolitical actor in the Middle East, has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. The situation is rapidly approaching that of an outright civil war, and in such an eventuality, it is unclear who would replace the Assad regime, if it can be pushed from power at all. Although nature of the Syrian opposition movement is deeply uncertain, recent reports have demonstrated that the Muslim Brotherhood is definitely within its ranks. Over the last several weeks, largely nonviolent protests against the ruling regime of Bashar al-Assad have been brutally put down by professional troops and security forces, with heavy casualties to civilians. Current estimates put the number of civilian dead at approximately 1,100, though that number is impossible to verify. As if that were not bad enough, on Monday, news broke that Syrian military forces were ambushed while responding to a call for help from a town where fighting had broken out. Again, the death toll cannot be verified, but state-run media reports 120 soldiers were killed.

Syria Blames ‘Terror Groups’ for Attacks on Security Forces That Kill 120
Excerpt: Syria’s government said as many as 120 security personnel were killed in an ambush by “terror groups” in the country’s north. Opposition supporters said the people who died were defectors who were shot by loyalists. The attackers carried out a “massacre” in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, and stole 5 tons of dynamite, Syrian state television said. The government will act with resolve against those responsible, it said. Opposition activists said there was a mutiny among security services in the town, and that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad executed police officers who had refused to open fire on protesters, according to Agence France-Presse, which didn’t identify the people who provided the information.

Excerpt: Michele Bachmann is bring Ed Rollins on board to run her Presidential campaign. This is big and significant news. Rollins was Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager in 1984, a fact downplayed by a lot of people who think Reagan’s landslide in 1984 had nothing to do with Rollins. Whether you are impressed by that or not, pay attention to the next one: Rollins took Mike Huckabee’s 2008 upstart campaign into overdrive and gave Romney, McCain, and the rest a run for their money. I’m already hearing from people on the ground in Iowa that Bachmann has the potentially to make huge waves there.

U.K.: Comedy show host threatened over suicide bomber joke
Excerpt: Not surprisingly, we're seeing more outrage about a joke about suicide bombing than actual suicide bombings, and as always, more of an outcry about "Islamophobia" -- an alleged feeling -- than actual acts of jihadist terrorism and the subjugation of women and non-Muslims. Never mind the tree falling in the forest: if a jihadist blows himself up and the infidels don't report on it, did it really happen?

Pakistanis agitating for banning the Bible call it "pornographic" and "blasphemous"
Excerpt: In Pakistan, "respect for religions" is obviously a one-way street. But the real motivation here is an attempt to accelerate the purge of Christianity from Pakistani society by effectively criminalizing every element of Christian religious life, including liturgy, prayer and teaching. It is perfectly plausible that even Biblical turns of phrase and allusions that have become part of everyday conversation could trigger "blasphemy" charges if overheard by the wrong person. After all, this is the country in which an Ismaili Muslim was jailed for throwing away a business card with the name "Muhammad" on it.

Accusation that Voter ID Is Racist Demeans Blacks
Excerpt: The left, which dominates our culture and educational institutions, has too often lowered standards for black Americans. Even worse, it has declared that if you are black, "they isn't" is not only not to be corrected, but many in academia have declared it an acceptable form of English, i.e., Ebonics, or Black English. It doesn't end. I saw "they isn't" the same week the Democrats and others on the left virtually unanimously condemned all Republican attempts in state legislatures to pass legislation requiring voters to show a photo ID. The Democrats labeled it a means of "disenfranchising" blacks. Many Democrats compared it to Jim Crow laws. (The liberal view is that blacks are useful as voters, but are stupid and lazy, thus must be held to lower standards for work and education. ~Bob.)

Pawlenty Says Obama Satisfied With 2nd-Rate Economy, Unveils Tax Reform Plan
Excerpt: Republican Tim Pawlenty says President Obama is satisfied with a second-rate American economy "produced by his third-rate policies." The former Minnesota governor is in Obama's hometown of Chicago on Tuesday proposing an economic policy that would cut taxes on business by more than half and simplify the tax code to just three tiers. Pawlenty also is proposing what he is calling "The Google Test." If Americans can find a service on the Internet from a private company, then the government probably shouldn't be providing it too.

Supreme Court allows California to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants
Luckily, California is in great fiscal shape, can well afford this! Anyone in California whose assets or business is moveable and who doesn’t flee the state in the next year is nuts. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to California's policy of granting reduced, in-state tuition at its colleges and universities to graduates of its high schools who are illegal immigrants. The justices turned down an appeal from lawyers for a conservative immigration-law group that contended "preferential treatment" for illegal immigrants violated federal immigration law. They cited a little-known provision in a 1986 law that barred states from giving "any postsecondary benefit" to an "alien who is not lawfully present in the United States on the basis of residence within a state."

Mob of teens thought responsible for four assaults: Roving criminal groups a growing threat downtown
Excerpt: One man was smoking a cigar Saturday night on a bench in the Streeterville neighborhood when his evening was interrupted by a group of young men who robbed and beat him. Another man was parking his motor scooter outside Northwestern University's downtown campus when the same group apparently made him their next victim, police said. Police believe the group of about 15 to 20 youths in their mid- to late teens also was responsible for two more attacks moments later along the lakefront. … (My letter to the editor: The roving gangs of thugs beating and robbing people are a symptom of the continuing breakdown of our society and culture. There is a cheap and simple short-term solution: concealed carry. A few dead thugs and they would think twice before attacking a citizen who might be armed. Unfortunately, Illinois and the political thugs who run it are never on the side of the decent people. ~Bob)

Oren: the devil Israel knows is worse than the one it doesn’t
Excerpt: Yesterday, Syrian buses transported rioters to the Israeli border in the Golan. They were paid to be there and to throw themselves at the border, with promises to pay even more to the families of any who were killed. Syrian TV reported that 19 (some reports say 23) were killed by Israeli soldiers, and the US media dutifully repeated this. But all we know for certain is that some rioters were killed when their Molotov cocktails ignited a brush fire which caused old, unstable Syrian mines to detonate. Assad is trying to use the old trick of deflecting opposition to his regime by creating anger against Israel. But it isn’t working. Anti-Assad dissidents know who is killing, raping and torturing them, and it isn’t Israel. Here is a video of Syrian security men planting weapons and ammunition on the bodies of protesters that they’d just killed. I won’t embed it, but if you have a strong stomach you can see it here. (He may not fool the people, but the western media and leftist politicians will buy any anti-Israeli lies that fit their world view. ~Bob.)

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