Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt links for Jan 31st

VDH at Works and Days
What’s the Matter with Egypt?
So what’s the matter with Egypt? The same thing that is the matter with most of the modern Middle East: in the post-industrial world, its hundreds of millions now are vicariously exposed to the affluence and freedom of the West via satellite television, cell phones, the Internet, DVDs, and social networks.
Read it all, well worth it. Click the title above.

The New American Fans of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
by Ron Radosh

From the UK's Daily Mail
More than 102 dead and thousands of prisoners on the loose in Egypt as 30,000 stranded Britons struggle to leave the country
 
Reuters
Looters pillage Egyptian antiquities warehouses

Trump's take in Newsmax - I hope he is right
Mideast Explosion Could Destroy OPEC, Lower Oil Prices


Updates as I see them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

As Reagan would have said, "Uh oh, here they go again"

I found this link at Lucianne.com.  It's from the Hill's blog briefing room.
By Michael O'Brien
Key Republicans are embracing a major spending initiative outlined in President Obama's State of the Union address.
Two top members of the House Transportation Committee said they will push the president's initiative seeking to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail over te course of the next 25 years.
"I believe it's good for America to develop a high-speed rail corridor in the Northeast corridor," Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the railroad subcommittee, said according to the Connecticut Post. "It's a place we have to start, we have to accomplish it, because then I believe all of America, in the various corridors around the country, will want high-speed rail if they see success here."
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the whole committee, also said Friday he was "pleased that President Obama has helped to launch a system for improved passenger rail service for our nation."
The pair warned Obama to seek more private investments in the project, and encouraged the administration to be more focused in where it will deploy high-speed rail service.
Still, the pair's support could enable cooperation between the Republican House and the Obama administration on one of the president's major initiatives.
"Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail," Obama said in his address. "This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car."
While I firmly believe our nation would be better off if it had not torn up so many railroad tracks and used rails instead of highways for industrial transportation this is not what high speed rail is for.  This would amount to transportation for people on rails and transportation for goods and equipment on the highways, topsy turvy to what it should be.

Obama takes care of his friends

This is the opening quote from an article in the Washington Times:
If you would like to know what the White House really thinks of Obamacare, there’s an easy way. Look past its press releases. Ignore its promises. Forget its talking points. Instead, simply witness for yourself the outrageous way the White House protects its best friends from Obamacare.
Last year, we learned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had granted 111 waivers to protect a lucky few from the onerous regulations of the new national health care overhaul. That number quickly and quietly climbed to 222, and last week we learned that the number of Obamacare privileged escapes has skyrocketed to 733.
Go read it all.

The Conundrum that is Egypt

Is especially spelled out in this article by Michael Goodwin in the New York Post:
The Worst of Times
The first page of the online article explores the many reasons the New York Times has lost its way, the extremely liberal and biased reporting of the news. The second page gets into the meat of what is happening in Egypt. I don't know about you, but I am much more worried about Egypt than the NYT at this point.
Goodwin says:
But because Keller sees his options on national security as simplistically binary -- either a free press or a government veto -- he fails to recognize his duty to exercise voluntary discretion. In a time of war, that is unforgivable.


Pain of double edged sword

As Egypt burns, nervous Americans must resist one thing: certainty. Ignore anybody who is absolutely, positively sure of who will be standing when the smoke clears and what we should do about it.

Take Joe Biden. The veep was certain Hosni Mubarak is not a "dictator." He is wrong and there is no honor in pretending otherwise.


On the other side, the thugocracy in Iran is gung-ho for the demonstrators. "Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people" a spokesman said.

To judge an uprising by its supporters, we don't want to be on the same side as the Iranian rulers who brutally crushed a democracy movement. They seize on destabilization anywhere, from Lebanon to Gaza to Iraq, to spread their evil.

Remember the lesson of the Iranian revolution: One person, one vote, one time.

The easy truth is that Mubarak personifies the double-edged sword that bedevils our policy in the Mideast. He is a firewall against Muslim terrorists and a helpful neighbor of Israel's for 30 years. He is also a ruthless ruler who created the powder keg now exploding.

The hard truth is that there is no obvious path as America faces an agonizing choice between our interests and our values. That's why the White House's is hedging its bets, leaning first toward Mubarak and then toward the protestors without breaking with either.

It also realizes that what happens in Egypt won't stay in Egypt, just as the revolt in Tunisia is awakening Arabs in Yemen and Jordan as well. Saudi Arabia is nervous, as is Europe, because 40 percent of the world's oil passes through the Suez Canal.

The smart money says Mubarak's days are numbered. Fair enough, but two questions more:


What or who follows him? And is it good for America?


As of now, nobody really knows.

Al Zawahiri, Al Queda, Iran, Iraq and Egypt

I am listening to C-Span's Washington Journal this morning.  Tom Ridge is on taking questions and giving answers.  Someone called in and reminded us of Al Zawahiri's involvment with the assassination of Sadat. Then I opened my email and found a link to this article by  by N.M. Guariglia in Pajamas Media on  "Remembering the Iran-Al Queda Link." It is subtitled The connection that Western intelligence agencies fear to make.  This is how it begins:
Credit must be given to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. During his testimony before Britain’s Iraq inquiry, Blair addressed an issue considered taboo in many Western national security circles: the alliance between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda. “What nobody foresaw,” Blair said, “was that Iran would actually end up supporting al-Qaeda. The conventional wisdom was these two are completely different types of people because Iran is Shi’a, the al-Qaeda people are Sunni, and therefore, you know, the two would never mix. What happened in the end was that they did because they both had a common interest” in fighting the United States.

The Iran-al-Qaeda relationship is long and extensive. As with Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, the Iran-al-Qaeda alliance can best be understood simply by reanalyzing the very same documents that are said to contain evidence to the contrary. The 9/11 Commission, for example, states: “On November 4, 1998, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed its indictment of bin Laden, charging him with conspiracy to attack U.S. defense installations. The indictment also charged that al-Qaeda had allied itself with Sudan, Iran, and Hezbollah.”

The Iranian regime created Hezbollah in 1982 to serve as its terrorist proxy army throughout the world. Hezbollah and al-Qaeda have collaborated for many years. The Saudi branch of Hezbollah helped al-Qaeda commit the deadly Khobar Towers attack in June 1996. The 9/11 Commission elaborates:
In late 1991 or 1992, discussions in Sudan between al-Qaeda and Iranian operatives led to an informal agreement to cooperate in providing support — even if only training — for actions carried out primarily against Israel and the United States. Not long afterward, senior al-Qaeda operatives and trainers traveled to Iran to receive training in explosives. In the fall of 1993, another such delegation went to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon for further training in explosives as well as in intelligence and security. Bin Laden reportedly showed particular interest in learning how to use truck bombs such as the one that had killed 241 U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983. The relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran demonstrated that Sunni-Shi’a divisions did not necessarily pose an insurmountable barrier to cooperation in terrorist operations (emphasis added).
The Commission continues:
Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al-Qaeda figures.… Iran made a concerted effort to strengthen relations with al-Qaeda after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, but was rebuffed because bin Laden did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia.

In this case, it was Iran reaching out to al-Qaeda. But al-Qaeda had been an underling of Iran’s for some time.
The article has a lot of truths that must be realized, One of the most telling is this:
When asked whom the Iranians support, Tamimi responded:
Everybody — [Iran] works with the [Iraqi] government, with the opponents of the government, with the opponents of the government’s opponents, with al-Qaeda, with the enemies of al-Qaeda, with the militias, with the enemies of the militias. … Iran spreads its investments everywhere — with the Shi’ites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds.

This might be one of the most accurate quotations an intelligence analyst could read about Iran and the state of its affairs in the Middle East.
Read it all. I hope the president, defene secretary and Secretary of State are taking notes on these facts.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Obama and The Egyptian Uprising as noted by A J Strata

A J Strata has a very thoughtful take on the uprising and how it should be handled. This is such a dangerous situation we can only hope it does not desolve into utter chaos and be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood.

This is from AJ's Stratasphere blog:
Obama A Deer In The Headlights Of Egypt’s Uprising

The situation in Egypt is not simple or clear cut. I have hesitated to write about it simply because it is complex, unstable and could result in a regional war if not handled correctly. It opens the future to two warring philosophies that have been roiling the Middle East since 9-11 and America’s efforts to instill peaceful democracies into the region.

America’s knee-jerk preference is, of course, democracy. We believe through freedom of individual rights you gain two very important results:

* Individual, family, local and regional financial success that translates into a productive and educated society that grows instead of stagnates.
* A calming of the human soul that comes from having the basic needs met, some worthy accomplishments under your belt, time to learn and gain some wisdom – all of which negates the urge for violence and hate.

The Middle East has yet to gain this serene balance so many in the West take for granted (and liberals risk through their endless and oppressive government edicts). Hosni Mubarak has been a solid and worthy ally for 3 decades. He has attempted to acclimate his people to the modern world in preparation for a transition from the Arab-Muslim autocracy to democracy. The problem is, Mubarak may have waited too long to see the fruits of his efforts bear fruit. He may have been waiting for that mythical ‘perfect moment’ where there is no risk in ringing in massive societal change.
Read the rest here. I am heartened by reports today that when looters tried to storm the Egyptian Museum others in the crowd reacted by protecting it. The military stepped in them and did a good job of keeping the looters out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Richard Fernandez has a good article on the Egyptian Unrest (Uprising?)

I have been reading his work for years at his Belmont Club blog.  He has been a part of Pajamas Media since its beginning so he is a little hidden behind their label.  I like his explanations of a lot of international politics.
Dustbins I Have Known

A friend in Egypt sent the following assessment of the situation there yesterday:
1. Most commentators tend to make it [the unrest in Egypt] a “western oriented strongman” v. Islamist thing, whereas the Islamists are already very well placed within this regime, including the military and the security services.

2. Recent Pew poll shows one-in-five Egyptians support Al-Qaeda. Egyptians I spoke to thought this as understatement.

3. The MB [Muslim Brotherhood] seems certain to emerge on top at some point, only question is when. That will give them state-resources for their sophisticated agitprop and penetration efforts in the West.
There is a possibility that if Mubarak falls, it will have an effect analogous to the collapse of the shah during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. The same friend with Egyptian connections noted that very extreme poverty depicted in the “Happyland” post could be found in Egypt. He sent a link to pictures, showing garbage scavengers in Egypt, called the zabbaleen, who consist almost exclusively of Coptic Christians. They have traditionally used pigs to recycle trash. But these porcine aides have been outlawed by the Mubarak government.

This governmental decision poses a major setback to the Zabbaleen because pigs are an essential component to their recycling and sorting system, in which the pigs eat all of the organic waste. Immediately after the culling of pigs, observers have noticed a visible increase of trash piles and piles of rotting food on the streets of Cairo.
That Egyptian government’s decision to clamp down on scavengers should lead to rotting piles of garbage should be no surprise. I remember Marcos-era efforts to ban garbage scavengers for cosmetic reasons resulting in the same thing. One thing the scavengers knew that the leaders in their palaces didn’t was that garbage could not be wished away. But you could, with some effort, make something out of it.

The idea was alien to the dictators. The rot, you see, was not in the heaps but elsewhere; less in the scavengers than in the heart of the dictatorial system. Failing systems are sumps of bad ideas, which have for a long time been subsisting on rent-taking and cronyism. Regimes which are about to fall can never get rid of all the toxic ideas circulating in their memory space, like a bad operating system that is full of memory leaks and dysfunctional background processes. At some point you either reboot or face the Blue Screen of Death.

And speaking of trash heaps, with the unrest now spreading to Algeria and Jordan, Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post concludes that maybe the Obama administration’s policies may have put them on course to joining dictators in “the ash heap of history.” She writes:
What will the Obama team learn from this? Perhaps it will understand, if not acknowledge, that its coziness with dictators has been unwise. And maybe more sober heads will admit that Obama’s obsession with the Middle East peace process was equally misguided. If the administration can attend to the Middle East “democracy deficit,” as Abrams calls it, we might be able to turn failure into success. The alternative is to side with the aging Sunni despots who are headed for the grave and the ash heap of history.
The ash heap of history. A lot more than Mideast foreign policy may be heading there now. The administration’s strategic miscalculations have been vast. Like the Mubarak regime, Washington has been been weighed down by a corrupt memory space. It too is looking for a memetic reboot. From ignoring the fact that the Middle East, not Southwest Asia, was the strategic center of gravity, to starting the ObamaCare medical program in the middle of a deficit crisis and pushing carbon trading and green energy at a time when energy and food production are critical, they have set up a whole string of things for an epic fail.
You will want to read the rest of this.

Why Do they Hate Glenn Beck?

They will not find many who support Israel more than the right wing talk show hosts. This is from Pajamas Media Roger L. Simon
Rabbis Spend $100K to Slam Beck for Slamming Soros

Four-hundred lib rabbis — the kind that give sanctimonious sermons about the environment at Westchester synagogues — have banded together to slam Glenn Beck with a $100K ad in the Wall Street Journal. According to the clerics, Beck has been unfairly attacking George Soros for collaborating with the Nazis in WWII when the billionaire was a fourteen-year old — something that Soros himself admits and, incredibly, doesn’t feel guilty about.

Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes interviewed Soros about his “youth.” Given the rabbis’ WSJ ad, it seems worth reprinting a transcript of a significant part of that interview here:

KROFT: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.

KROFT: In what way?

Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and–and anticipate events and when–when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a–a very personal experience of evil.

KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that’s–that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not–not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t–you don’t see the connection. But it was–it created no–no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No.

KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?

Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c–I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would–would–would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the–whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the–I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.
Go read it all.  It is very hard to understand the liberals take on Israel, they are usually for the underdog. They seem to not realize every leader in the Islamist countries has a goal of completely eradicating Israel.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A book found in the Arizona desert praising suicide bombers

and we only hear about it from Fox News.
Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert
By William La Jeunesse

EXCLUSIVE: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.

Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, "The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments." Each biographical page contains "the terrorist's name, date of death, and how they died."

Agents also say that the book appears to have been exposed to weather in the desert "for at least several days or weeks."
Read more here.

Newt is trying to gain support again

I am afraid I do not cut any slack when it comes to Newt Gingrich.  In my opinion he is a brilliant but very flawed man.  He has a personality problem he cannot overcome.  He is very much like our president in that respect, he seems to think only he knows the way.  He is way off base on the ethanol question.  This is from National Review Online.

Newt Hearts Ethanol
By Jonathan H. Adler

While President Obama is pitching new “clean energy” mandates, potential presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was defending costly and environmentally destructive ethanol mandates in Iowa. Rejecting the charges of “big city” ethanol critics and invoking concerns about energy security, Gingrich argued that if only the federal government were to mandate that all cars sold in the U.S. be “flex-fuel’ vehicles capable of running on ethanol or methanol, the ethanol industry would be able to “stand on its own.” As much as Gingrich likes to criticize the President’s agenda (often with good reason), he apparently shares the President’s disdain for leaving energy choices to the market.
Read it all here.

The Washington Post is still talking about the Speech, here is what they are saying:

A disappointing State of the Union address - an editorial the day after

PRESIDENT OBAMA entered office promising to be a different kind of politician - one who would speak honestly with the American people about the hard choices they face and would help make those hard calls. Tuesday night's State of the Union Address would have been the moment to make good on that promise. He disappointed.

Obama's economic proposals: Okay, as far as they go
an editorial by Harold Meyerson

America, President Obama emphasized in his State of the Union address, must really be open for business. It must create growing markets for the alternative energy industry. It must generate more scientists and engineers. It must build high-speed rail and Internet to compete with other nations'. It must adjust corporate taxes so they're more in line with our global competitors'.

Mr. Obama's missed opportunity on gun control an editorial

THE FAMILY of Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old murdered during the Tucson rampage this month, sat elbow-to-elbow with the first lady during the State of the Union address Tuesday night. Also guests of honor were Daniel Hernandez, the intern who assisted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) immediately after she was shot, and Dr. Peter Rhee, who was in charge of caring for the shooting victims.

But conspicuously missing during the president's hour-long speech was any mention of the kind of gun control laws that might have saved the little girl and made unnecessary the heroic acts of Mr. Hernandez and Dr. Rhee.

Obama finds a new angle to reach old goals
editorial by E. J. Dionne

The era of no politicking is over. Tuesday's State of the Union speech laid out a rationale for the Obama presidency that stands a chance of enduring through Election Day 2012. The choice is between backward-looking Republicans who talk grumpily about government spending and "Obamacare," and forward-looking Obama Democrats who would use government - carefully and efficiently, of course - to restore American leadership and a humming, innovative economy.

In fact, what Americans must be ready for now is the paradoxical phase of Barack Obama's presidency. Many things will not be exactly as they appear.

Paradox No. 1: Because over the next two years he can't get far-reaching, progressive legislation through the Republican-led House, Obama will be doing far more to make the core progressive case that energetic government is essential to prosperity, growth and equity.

Paradox No. 2: His talk about the new, the bold and the innovative is in the oldest of political traditions. The Obama of Tuesday night represented not the rambunctious liberalism of the late 1960s but the unifying, John Kennedy-style liberalism of that decade's beginning - with a dash of Dwight Eisenhower moderation. Obama also sounded like a Whig, the insufficiently appreciated 19th-century American political party that proudly included Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln.

Paradox No. 3: Obama used a conciliatory speech to pick some carefully chosen fights. It will be amusing to watch Republicans defend the oil companies' tax loopholes that Obama would like to scrap.

Paradox No. 4: It may never be clear if American business is co-opting Obama or if Obama is co-opting business.

The greatest shortcoming of Obama's first two years in office was his failure to take Americans back to first principles and tell a credible story about how his approach to governing would move the country forward. The administration's alibi was that it had too much to do to waste time on what the president dismissed as "politicking." No longer.

How Obama's speech muddied the budget debate
opinion by Robert J. Samuelson

It was a teachable moment - and Barack Obama didn't teach. Unless public opinion changes, we won't end our budget deadlock. As is well-known, Americans want budget deficits curbed. In a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 54 percent urge Congress and the president to "act quickly" and 57 percent prefer spending cuts to tax increases. But there's little support for cuts in Social Security (64 percent opposed), Medicare (56 percent) and Medicaid (47 percent), which together approach half of federal spending. The State of the Union gave Obama the opportunity to confront the contradictions and educate Americans in the unpleasant realities of uncontrolled government. He declined.

What we got were empty platitudes. We won't be "buried under a mountain of debt," Obama declared. Heck, we're already buried. We will "win the future." Not by deluding ourselves, we won't. Americans think deficits are someone else's problem that can be cured by taxing the rich (say liberals) or ending wasteful spending (conservatives). Obama indulged these fantasies.

No-bend Obama
by Michael Gerson

We've now had several tests of President Obama's ideological flexibility, proving him as supple and pliant as a hard pretzel. Following the elections of Republican Govs. Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell in 2009, the president was dismissive. Following the election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat in 2010, Obama was defiant. Following the largest pickups for Republicans in the House since 1938, Obama has remained in character.

The 2011 State of the Union address was tonally accommodating and ideologically unbending.

There were, in fairness, some concessions to reality. Obama, by conspicuous omission, recognized that there will be no cap-and-trade system to regulate carbon emissions and no quick closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison (where the administration now seems resigned to resuming military tribunals). But other elements of his outreach - promoting teacher quality or reviewing federal regulations - were both minor and predictable.

And when it came to his governing philosophy, Obama shifted arguments without retreating an ideological inch.

These are all from The Washington Post online, I have put only the leading paragraphs up.  To read the whole thing click on the headlines.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I confess, I didn't Watch the SOTU speech

So I am having to take this article on faith that he knows whereof he speaks. It is from the Pajamas Media Tatler.
Update Be sure to see Tatler's Bryan Preston's take on Ryan and Bachmann below.

What Obama didn’t mention in his speech
by Richard Pollock

Some of the most intriguing things in the Statue of Union address were the issues the president did not address:

- Climate change: The signature environmental issue of this administration evaporated into thin air. The UN conference in Copenhagen didn’t really exist. No reference to cap and trade. Not a word.

- The housing crisis: If you had tuned into planet Earth from outer space, you would not know there was a housing crisis in America. Not a word about the near bankruptcy of government mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nor did he mention the rising number of foreclosures.It was the president who unveiled his HELP program to keep people in their homes. Most evidence is that it has been a failure. Tonight, not a word about it.

- Jobs: Yes, there was the feeling of pain. But you would not know the country is still in a jobs emergency. There were words like “competition,” “innovation,” and “Sputnik,” but not a road map to explain how he will spur jobs in the private sector.

- States facing bankruptcies: Our biggest state governments are in a debt crisis, most of them led by Democrats. Does he recognize this is a looming problem? Does he wish to bail them out? Tonight there was no word.

- Closing down Guantanamo Bay and trying terrorists in civil court: Gitmo still functions and holds enemy combatants. This was a sterling commitment of his administration — to shut down Gitmo. He also failed to mention any willingness to abandon his attorney general’s effort to try terrorists in civilian courts. It’s a huge issue in New York City where the prospect of trials has been denounced by nearly every political office holder.

- War on Terror: On the basis of this speech, there is no War on Terror. There is community-building in Afghanistan and defeating the Taliban. But nothing about the worldwide terror network that is waged from Malaysia to London subways to Times Square.

- Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK: They are all flirting with economic catastrophe.

- Overseas human rights: A Chinese Nobel Prize-winner tonight sits in a prison cell. Nothing about human rights in Egypt or Iran or anywhere else in the world.

- Israel: Supposedly America’s most important ally in the Middle East. Nothing about Jerusalem or one of his stated highest goals of his first term: ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

- Reaching out to the Muslim world: His next trips take him to South America.

- Osama bin Laden: He’s still at large. John Kerry and the Democrats campaigned that this was the litmus test for winning the war on terror.

- George W. Bush: There was no Bush-bashing tonight. His advisers probably suggested blaming Bush no longer had currency.

Update GOP response reax: Rep. Paul Ryan was serious and brief in his response to the president. He provided more specifics than the president did, but that’s not saying much. The response suffered from the same things these speeches always suffer from — the lack of a live audience to feed off of, the drab setting, the lone man or woman in the room approach. Ryan did about as well as can be done in those circumstances. Of the two speeches (so far), his was by far the more grown up.

Bachmann response: The content was fine, the staging was terrible. Her prompter was off to one side of the camera, making it look like she was talking to someone behind the viewer. Delivery was meh. She would have been more useful, and far more effective, going straight on MSNBC or CNN after the SOTU and fisking that speech rather than delivering her own.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No More Energy Czar?

I certainly hope that is the case.  We certainly had no need for one.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting Carol Browner will be leaving the administration and there will likely be no one replacing her.  I hope she will not be the only czar gone and not replaced.
White House Energy 'Czar' to Exit in Staff Shake-Up
By LAURA MECKLER

WASHINGTON — Carol Browner is leaving her position as White House "energy czar," and a staff shake-up is likely to eliminate her post altogether, according to Democrats familiar with events.

The White House health czar position may also be eliminated, said people familiar with the process.

Ms. Browner led the administration's effort to gather votes in Congress for legislation to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. The effort unraveled in the Senate last year, amid opposition from Republicans and some Democrats fearful of its impact on energy prices and jobs.

Ms. Browner was also a heroine to many environmentalists who cheered her decisions when she led the EPA in the 1990s and viewed her as an ally in internal administration debates over environmental regulation. Her influence within the administration within the White House has long been a source of concern to Republicans critical of her record in the Clinton administration.
Read the rest here.

Have you had that email about the FTZ's?

I had one this morning so I did a search on Bing.  This is what I found.

An older page explains it http://ia.ita.doc.gov/ftzpage/tic.html click on the link to read a very long list of questions and answers, this is just the first one scroll down for the updated.

FOREIGN TRADE ZONES
June 2000
By Ian MacLeod
Trade Information Center, Trade Development

What is a Foreign Trade Zone?

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) were created in the United States to provide special customs procedures to U.S. plants engaged in international trade-related activities. Duty-free treatment is accorded items that are processed in FTZs and then reexported, and duty payment is deferred on items until they are brought out of the FTZ for sale in the U.S. market. This helps to offset customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with domestic industry. The Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board (composed of representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury) has its operational staff in the International Trade Administration's Import Administration.
***************************************************************************
This page is updated information:  http://ia.ita.doc.gov/ftzpage/  and has many links to other information.
What's New:
List of Received 2010 Annual Reports
UPDATED 1/19/2011 - Free Forums on Proposed Regulatory Changes

Information on Proposed FTZ Regulations
2009 Annual Report to Congress Now Available
Adjustments to Alternative Site Framework
Information on Cases
Case Timing and Case Status
List of Cases with Open Public Comment Period
New to FTZs?
Start here with FAQ's, articles
and other information. List of FTZs

Zones are listed by state and include contact information and subzones.

How to Apply

Forms, guidelines, instructions

and everything you need to know

about FTZ applications. Already in a Zone?

Information for operators

and users, including Annual Report

forms and more.

FTZ Manufacturing Center

Information and Tools Designed for

Small & Medium-Sized Manufacturers. Reading Room

Federal Register Notices, Applications and Comments Received.

Information for CBP

Export Assistance Centers
Export.gov
ITA Privacy Policy

For information on all the states and alist of their zones go here: http://ia.ita.doc.gov/ftzpage/letters/ftzlist-map.html

My advice is to read it all, or as much as you have time for.  If you find anything startling please report it back to me by email.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A difference in concerns, why do you think that is?

Many of us on the conservative side have questioned the coverage of the shootings in Arizona.  My questions have been for one, why we have not heard more about the death of a judge who died saving someone else's life; and secondly why make it a chance to berate concervatives?  Okay, okay, I know the anwser to the last question.

In Power Line today they take on the question of why so much over the Aizona shootings and the recovery of Gabby Giffords and not a peep about the recovery of some who were injured in the Ft. Hood shootings, done by a radical, and an act of war.

A Hero's Recovery
posted by John
It is hard not to compare the press coverage of Jared Loughner's Tucson rampage with that of Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood. Hasan killed and wounded twice as many as Loughner, and the fact that he was an officer in the United States Army would seem to give his attack a particular significance as well as a unique horror. Moreover, Loughner was just a nut, while Hasan was part of a worldwide movement. Yet, for whatever reason, the press has been far more interested in the Tucson shootings and in the fate of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords than in the servicemen and women who were shot by Major Hasan.

It's nice to get daily updates on the condition of Ms. Giffords, but I don't believe I had even heard of Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler until today. Sgt. Zeigler had just finished a tour of duty in Iraq and was at Fort Hood in preparation for beginning Officer Candidate School when he was randomly targeted by Hasan. Hasan shot him four times, once in the head. That shot wiped out twenty percent of his brain and left a large hole in his skull. Eight brain operations later, Sgt. Zeigler has made what some consider a miraculous recovery:

For the past 8 ½ months, Zeigler has looked death in the face and refused to blink. He's battled back from eight brain surgeries and diagnoses that labeled him everything from "comatose" to "permanently disabled."

Zeigler was one of 32 who was injured on November 5, 2009 when accused gunman Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire inside the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood.

Thirteen people died that day, and Zeigler came very close to adding to that number.


He was airlifted to Scott and White Hospital in Temple with four gunshot wounds, including one that shattered his skull. The bullet left a hole the size of a softball.

Zeigler's family and fiancée were warned that he may never recover.

He has since fought a battle that he refused to lose. And on Friday, a major victory: Zeigler walked out of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
That was in July. A few months later, Zeigler and his fiance, Jessica Hansen, were married. She has maintained a rather remarkable blog since shortly after the shooting. In it, she details Sgt. Zeigler's slow, painful and still incomplete recovery. She also offers this observation on Hasan's Fort Hood attack:

All politics aside, November 5th was an act of war. It was an attack on U.S. soldiers in uniform on a military base. It was the harsh reality of the world we live in and of the Global War on Terror (or the "Overseas Contingency Operation" as some prefer to call it). I don't mean to cause controversy or persuade anyone of anything... not with this post, anyway. But that's just the mindset we have about November 5th, it wasn't one man, it is a global war that we are fighting.
As such, it is a little hard to see why Major Hasan's Fort Hood attack, and the havoc it wreaked on Sgt. Zeigler and many others, has been of so little interest to the liberal press.
Well, we really all know why it isn't of interest to the liberal press, but it is good to point it out occasionally.  We need to make sure we add Zeigler to our heroes list.  Prayers for him are good, too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Voter ID - will it keep illegals from voting?

From Empower Texans we get news of an attempt to use college ID's as voter ID's.
Nope, not a good idea.
Rep. Smith again mucking up Voter ID?
By Pratt on Texas
 
If there is anything the DC debate on the ill-named DREAM Act has taught us in Texas, it's that our public universities are filled with those who are residing in the country illegally and, despite that fact, are politically active.

Demonstrations by college students have been held around the state, especially in San Antonio where a hunger strike was held, in support of the amnesty-for-illegal-alien-students bill they call the DREAM Act. And it’s important to note that many of these students, who are not in the country legally, see no problem involving themselves in our political process.

That brings us to the Voter ID bill that is almost certain to pass the Texas Legislature this spring. According to a story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, House Elections Committee chairman, Todd Smith of Euless, has introduced a version of the bill which allows “driver's license; passport; concealed handgun license; military identification card; student ID with a photo; US citizenship certificate; and state, federal or tribal ID cards with photos” to used as polling-place identification.

Smith’s bill should be a non-starter until he dumps the “student ID with a photo” part. These ID’s are issued routinely without regard to one’s legal status in the country and thus do not provide the protection from fraud expected of the bill.

We’ve just learned that illegal-alien college students see no reason that they shouldn’t pressure Senators Hutchison and Cornyn to vote a certain way in Congress. So why would we for a moment believe the same activists will not use their student ID’s to vote in elections? It looks to me that Rep. Smith is once again mucking up the issue.
Thanks to Jim H. Little for sending this to me.

ACORN and SEIU taking more power

The DNC is very helpfully giving it to them. From the Daily Caller:
January 22, 2011
DNC announces new executive director associated with ACORN
by Steven Nelson

In a letter Thursday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine announced that he had selected Patrick Gaspard to serve as the political party’s new executive director.

The selection is certain to draw criticism from conservatives because of Gaspard’s past association with activist organization ACORN.

Gaspard donated thousands of dollars to ACORN, The American Spectator has reported, and worked for New York’s Working Families Party and labor union SEIU.

Kaine wrote in the letter, “He understands the importance of grassroots politics and team building… Working together, I am confident that we can protect the progress of the past two years, achieve important electoral victories in 2011 and 2012.”

Gaspard is currently working as the Obama administration’s director of the Office of Political Affairs.
As Keith Olbermann who used to have a show said, "Have you  no shame?"

Our next President

I get a great many emails from WL, this one is a good one to post here.  Read it, add or subtract your ideas, and make some comments on it.

Here's a "rule of thumb" on choosing GOP leaders, including the nominee for POTUS 2012:

1)He/she must never indicate a willingness to "sit down and talk" with the Dems,especially Obama.

2)Bonus points should accrue to advocates of "gridlock" should it be warranted.

3)The selectee must not have served in the U.S. Senate.(Having been a governor is a distinct asset!)

4)Study the attributes of Governor Haley Barbour and seek them among the prospects.(Note: Barbour would be an excellent choice, but he may have mellowed and is not desirous of the campaign his qualifications notwithstanding.)

5)Study Paul Ryan's speeches. The selectee's should appear similar.

6)Selectee should never have advocated "comprehensive immigration" for illegals. . . .

7)Should be a distinct hawk on defensive issues.

8)Should be willing to cut all spending other than Social Security, Medicare,Medicaid(Should be a state-run function), veterans' benefits.

W
(below is his standard signature note)
No More Than Two Terms For All Politicians+Strong National Defense+ Lower Taxes+Strict Adherence To 10th Amendment+Repeal 17th Amendment:Return Election Of U.S. Senators To State Legislatures+Secure National Borders+Balanced Federal Budget+Reform Entire Tax Structure+No Congressional Pay Raises Without Voter Approval

They just can't let go of Sarah Palin - and it's her fault, just ask them

Today we have Dana Milbank of the Washington Post declaring a Palin Free Month.  Well, that's fine and dandy.  He goes on to say: "I have written about her in 42 columns since Sen. John McCain picked her as his vice-presidential running mate in 2008. I've mentioned her in dozens more blog posts, Web chats, and TV and radio appearances. I feel powerless to control my obsession, even though it cheapens and demeans me. "  I'm wondering why he doesn't mention what it might have done to her, after all that is his intent, to cheapen and demean her.

Further into his screed he tries to blame her: "The media obsession with Palin began naturally and innocently enough, when the Alaska governor emerged as an electrifying presence on the Republican presidential ticket more than two years ago. But then something unhealthy happened: Though Palin was no longer a candidate, or even a public official, we in the press discovered that the mere mention of her name could vault our stories onto the most-viewed list. Palin, feeding this co-dependency and indulging the news business's endless desire for conflict, tweeted provocative nuggets that would help us keep her in the public eye -- so much so that this former vice presidential candidate gets far more coverage than the actual vice president. " 

I find myself so disgusted with that statement.  She is fighting back so that makes it her fault!!  Bad, Bad Sarah.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Good News: Muslims Showed Solidarity with Christians in Egypt

On Jan. 6, the eve of Coptic Christmas, thousands of Muslims showed up at Mass to act as human shields and show their solidarity with the beleaguered Christian community.
By BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI
Cairo, Egypt

As a Christian and an Egyptian, I was heartbroken by the New Year's Eve terrorist attack on the Coptic Church of Alexandria that killed 21 of my countrymen. Whether this heinous act was carried out by Egyptians or by terrorist groups from outside the country, the intention was surely the same: to sow discord between Muslims and Christians in a country long known for its religious tolerance.

The attack seems to fall within a larger pattern of violence against Christians elsewhere in the Middle East. Indeed, extremist groups that target Christians in Iraq explicitly stated their intention to bring their war against Christians to Egypt.

But while the recent attack led to an outpouring of anger among Copts, Egypt—unlike other countries in the region—has been remarkably immune to the scourge of sectarianism.

The Copts in Egypt are the largest Christian population in the Middle East, and today they make up some 10% of the population. Christians in Egypt exercise their faith freely, and they occupy leading positions in government, business and public life. There's no such thing as "Muslim neighborhoods" or "Christian ghettos" in Egypt.

Egypt's history—a millennium and a half of peaceful Muslim-Christian coexistence, and a civil state-building project that dates back to the early 19th century—has been a model of religious tolerance in the region. That legacy was made clear following the new year: On Jan. 6, the eve of Coptic Christmas, thousands of Muslims gathered around churches across the country to act as human shields, protecting their Christian neighbors during their Mass. This coincided with huge demonstrations during which Muslims and Christians held up the Koran and the cross in unison as a symbol of national unity

Complete article here

Friday, January 14, 2011

Theme for memorial tea shirts right off the campaign blog

It was outrageous that the memorial service turned into a cheering Obama  rally complete with tea shirts. Canada Free Press tracked down the origin of the slogan on the shirts.  
Theme of “Together We Thrive” T-shirt came from Obama’s Organizing for America
By Judi McLeod Friday, January 14, 2011

The “Together We Thrive” T-shirts that starred at Wednesday’s Arizona `Memorial’ originated from Organizing for America (here), a sad fact unearthed by The Drumbeat of Liberty and the Preservation of Freedom editor and Canada Free Press (CFP) columnist Robert Rohlfing.

In the controversy of the pep rally/rock concert style Memorial for those who lost their lives in Saturday’s Arizona tragedy, the mainstream media reported that the “Together We Thrive: Tucson & America” T-shirt given to mourners as they entered McKate Center was the idea of University of Arizona brass, not the Obama administration.

Yet the “Together We Thrive” slogan dates back to a post to Obama’s own Organizing for America in a Feb. 11, 2008 post by self-described “globalist” John Berry IV.

More than passing strange that the Obama campaign message of civility was the same on Feb. 11, 2008 as it was in his Wednesday Memorial speech, and the same one, too carried by the mainstream media in coverage of the Memorial.


“For too long Americans have been set one against the other. It is a side affect of a free market society,” Berry IV posted. “How can profits be maximized, how can I get the work down for the lowest possible costs. This continually sets one group against the other, especially in the blue collar sectors of America. It has become part of the American Business model, whether it was indentured servants, slaves picking cotton, sharecroppers, the industrious people that built the railroads or today’s migrant workers. As long as we remain divided, fighting for the scraps that America has to offer it will be one group against the other.

“What I see in Obama is a chance for revolution. (Italics CFP’s). A chance for every group to be heard; A chance to live the American dream that has been denied to so many…

“In a previous career, I was the global leader of Diversity for a global fortune 500 corporation. I have studied the affects of diverse groups working together and the results can not be denied. Together we Thrive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

University of Arizona brass did not originate the “Together We Thrive” T-shirt. They merely recycled it for Obama—and recycled it in time for what should have been a dignified Memorial for the dead.

If you were a mourner who took home a “Together We Thrive” T-shirt have a look at the bottom of your shirt. “Rocking America and Rocking the Vote” is a common theme of the DNC, and it’s right there on your Memorial T-shirt memento.

Welcome to the era of Obama, where cheering and standing ovations, for the first time in history, became part of the Requiem for the Dead.

I have posted the whole article here as I feel it is important that everyone know this was a campaign rally for the democrats, but more importantly for Obama.  To see a screen shot of the Organizing for America post go here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BP and the oil spill commission

I found this via Instapundit. It is something we already knew but he gets a gazillion more readers so he will have an impact on who actually reads or hears about it.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, we’d have a President who got big bucks from an oil company and then gave it political protection. And they were right!
The While House oil-spill commission made it official today: The entire oil industry, not BP, is evil and potentially the source of another Deepwater-sized spill. Thus the entire oil industry, which has already been punished by the administration with its drilling moratorium and slowdown in permitting, should be punished further with massive new regulations and fees.

Those conclusions were virtually predetermined when the administration appointed a panel heavily stacked with academics and environmentalists. And those findings are wrong. Why? A simple reality check: Other companies drilling in deep water in the Gulf have not had well blow-outs. But in BP’s case, the commission’s own studies show not just one mistake but a series of failed judgment calls by BP officials. Responsibility is specific, not collective.
Obama got record donations from BP, while BP got lax treatment from federal regulators. Now, post-disaster, Obama’s handpicked commission is letting BP off the hook.

If the Republicans were smart, they’d be making an issue of this.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Left wing rhetoric (wishful thinking)

Some of the left wing persuasion just cannot admit and see the facts on the Arizona shootings.  In their minds full of wishful thinking there absolutely must be a reason they can blame conservatives and their "hateful, murderous rhetoric for this tragic happening.  No other reasons need apply. Bookworm Room has a good article on this.
Progressives live in the past when it comes to shaping the message *UPDATED*
by Bookworm

Some Democrats, either more honest or loose-lipped than others, have explicitly stated that, in making anti-Tea Party and anti-Palin statements about the Tucson shooting, they are attempting to replicate the stunning success they had with shaping the spin following the Oklahoma City bombing, back in 1995:
One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did. “They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”
Indeed, whole articles are now being written about Obama looking to the Oklahoma City bombing as an inspiration to reshape his ability to control the political agenda in this nation. It is Obama’s 9/11 (and the Dems don’t mean that in a tragic way, they mean that in a politically opportunistic way).

I have mentioned before, haven’t I, that a defining characteristics of Progressives is that they live in the past?

UPDATE (3:10 p.m. PST): Speaking of finding history on the internet, here’s a great screen shot from today’s Big Hollywood:

Monday, January 10, 2011

So much for that right wing violence rhetoric.... Bill Ayers strikes again

This was on World Net Daily, admittedly a right wing site.  I wonder if it is anywhere in the MSM/

Bill Ayers, communist provided Arizona shooter's curriculum?
High school part of learning community funded jointly by Obama and domestic terrorist
By Aaron Klein

Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in Saturday's Arizona shooting, attended a high school that is part of a network in which teachers are trained and provided resources by a liberal group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama, WND has learned.

The group, Small Schools Workshop, has been led by a former top communist activist who is an associate of Ayers.

Obama provided the group with funds in the 1990s when he worked at an education reform group alongside Ayers.

Loughner attended Mountain View High School, which is part of Arizona's Morana Unified School District.

Since 2003, Mountain View has been part of what is known as the Smaller Learning Community, a network of schools that have been restructured to create a more personalized learning environment where students often have the same teachers and fellow students from grade to grade.

Read more here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The New York Times sees pomposity only when practiced by the Republicans

After all the pompous actions of the Obama administration this editorial is just amusing. On second thought, it also makes me angry.
Pomp, and Little Circumstance
A theatrical production of unusual pomposity will open on Wednesday when Republicans assume control of the House for the 112th Congress. A rule will be passed requiring that every bill cite its basis in the Constitution. (ed.note: and they see fault with this?) A bill will be introduced to repeal the health care law. On Thursday, the Constitution will be read aloud in the House chamber.(again, where is the fault here? The pomposity?) And in one particularly self-important flourish, the new speaker, John Boehner, arranged to have his office staff “sworn in” on Tuesday by the chief justice of the United States.

Those who had hoped to see a glimpse of the much-advertised Republican plan to revive the economy and put Americans back to work will have to wait at least until party leaders finish their Beltway insider ritual of self-glorification. Then, they may find time for governing.

The empty gestures are officially intended to set a new tone in Washington, to demonstrate — presumably to the Republicans’ Tea Party supporters — that things are about to be done very differently. But it is far from clear what message is being sent by, for instance, reading aloud the nation’s foundational document. Is this group of Republicans really trying to suggest that they care more deeply about the Constitution than anyone else and will follow it more closely?(why, yes, yes they are!)

In any case, it is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations of reinterpretation. Certainly the Republican leadership is not trying to suggest that African-Americans still be counted as three-fifths of a person. (since they are reading the whole constitution this is a riduculous and hateful statement.)

There is a similar air of vacuous fundamentalism in requiring that every bill cite the Constitutional power given to Congress to enact it. The new House leadership says this is necessary because the health care law and other measures that Republicans do not like have veered from the Constitution. But it is the judiciary that ultimately decides when a law is unconstitutional, not the transitory occupant of the speaker’s chair.  (This whole editorial is vacuous and hateful in any conservative point of view.)

All of this, though, is simply eyewash — the equivalent of a flag-draped background to a speech — compared with the actual legislation the Republicans plan to pass. And though much of that has no possibility of being enacted, it does suggest the depth of the struggle to come. The bill tauntingly titled the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” has nothing to do with increasing employment and will never reach the Senate floor, but shows that the leadership is willing to threaten the hard-fought access to health care for millions of the uninsured, just to make a political point. (we can certainly hope so!)

On budgetary issues, the House Republicans’ new rules bypass the chamber and even their own Budget Committee to give all power to set spending levels to the committee’s new chairman, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. It is hard to imagine how long such an aggrandizement of power will last in a contentious body like the House. The plans by Mr. Ryan and his colleagues to simply cut all spending back to 2008 levels also have no chance of being enacted.

The one good thing about these meaningless rules and bills is that they finally seem to be prodding House Democrats into standing up for their own programs as they enter the minority. Democrats have begun to remind Americans of what is at stake in repealing health care: popular provisions like the elimination of lifetime coverage limits, insurance under parents’ policies up to age 26, and coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The Republicans’ antics are a ghastly waste of time at a moment when the nation is expecting real leadership from Congress, and suggest that the new House leadership is still unable to make tough choices. Voters, no less than drama critics, prefer substance to overblown theatrics.
I wonder if they borrowed a talking head from MSNBC to write this vitriolic editorial.
Someone, somewhere in the heart of the almost extinct Old Gray Lady, is really feeling left out as the Republicans take over the house.  I feel no sympathy for him/her, they helped in  the making of the Democratic Administration that has rained down such disaster on our country.

Iraq DID have WMD's

I have firmly believed this all along as I read Iraqi citizens blogging before, during and after the start of the war.  One of them detailed, as I have written earlier, seeing large trucks carrying missiles to Syria during the dead of the night. Today in Human Events James Zumwalt has an article asking why the MSM has not recognized one of the major stories from Wikileaks.

Media Slow To Show WikiLeaks Justified Iraq War

While the media have been quick to run with WikiLeaks’ U.S. State Department cable releases to undermine Washington’s efforts to effect stability in unstable parts of the world, it is slow, if not silent, in giving credit where credit is due. Although other credible sources confirmed it before WikiLeaks did, in receiving similar disinterested responses from the media, it should be clear now that President Bush’s concerns about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program were well-founded.

The controversy goes back to Bush’s State of the Union address in January 2003. In the speech, he said the British government learned Saddam had "recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." This became one of several justifications leading to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq two months later — and one about which, Bush critics later claimed, he lied.

British intelligence had determined an effort was made by Iraq to obtain "yellowcake" — a uranium concentrate extracted from ores for use as material in higher-grade nuclear enrichment — from Niger. The waters separating fact from fiction over this allegation were muddied after various claims and counter-claims followed.

The 2003 Iraq invasion by U.S. forces also launched a massive effort to find WMDs. By late 2003, as determined in a review by a Wired Magazine editor of WikiLeaks documents on the issue, the Administration was losing faith WMDs would be found. But, as Wired reports, the WikiLeaks documents clearly show "for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction. . . . Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam's toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents."

A September 2004 New York Times op-ed by the former head of Saddam’s nuclear research program supported this, as well. He wrote:

"[T]he West never understood the delusional nature of Saddam Hussein’s mind . . . he lived in a fantasy world . . . . giving lunatic orders . . . he kept the country’s Atomic Energy Commission alive . . . Saddam fooled . . . the world . . . . [O]ur nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein’s fingers."

Of note too is a January 2004 revelation by Syrian journalist defector Nizar Nayuf. He reported there were three locations in Syria where Iraqi WMDs had been transported prior to the 2003 invasion and were being stored. He also revealed some of these sites were being built with North Korean cooperation. This explained why three years later Israel attacked a nuclear facility being built in Syria by Pyongyang — and Syria’s subsequent failure to criticize Israel for fear of drawing further international attention to what Damascus had been doing.

Five years after Joe Wilson’s op-ed claimed no yellowcake was sold to Iraq — the ease with which Saddam could have snapped his fingers and reinstituted his nuclear program became apparent. In July 2008, in an operation kept secret at the time, 37 military air cargo flights shipped more than 500 metric tons of yellowcake — found in Iraq — out of the country for further transport and remediation to Canada.

The U.S. government is committed to efforts to make the world a safer place by seeking the removal of WMD threats. One would think a press undermining that effort at the time under the guise of freedom of the press would feel an obligation to accurately report the success of such a governmental effort. This should especially be the case after those same media contributed to the false perception Saddam possessed no WMD capability and, therefore, never really posed a serious threat.

As evidenced by the WikiLeaks disclosures, apparently no such obligation is felt.
It seems the only ones paying attention to this particular leak are those of us who already knew the truth.  The MSM is apparently not interested in a story that would show them as biased liberals who are not looking for all truths.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Troubles in Mexico and in the United States

We who live within a few hours travel time to the Mexican border may keep a closer watch on the problems than do you who not live so close.  Today there seems to be a lot of national attention on the conservative side of the online world.  Maybe there is on the liberal side but since I do not check that as frequently I have no links to them.
Here are some you should read.

Failed State Watch: How Much Longer for Mexico? (Part One)
Pajamas Media by Alber de la Cruz
We know about barbarous cartels. But more terrifying is their cancerous spread through Mexican government, and societal decay caused by a state with no justice. There is no avoiding the problem: we need to know all of Mexico, now.

The Manhattan Project Of Illegal Immigration
by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review
Why do millions of Mexican nationals see America as racist, exploitative — and worth everything to get to and stay in?

And to tell us why they all want to come here we have this by Rick Lowry in National Rivew:
Yes, the Greatest Country Ever
Our greatness is simply a fact.

There is more out there but this should do it for today.

I liked this title about the Global Warming hype so much I had to post it here.

It's from Investors Business Daily.  I found it on Ed Driscoll's post. He titled it The Second God that Failed.  I think by now most of the people I know regard "climate change" as a religion.
 “The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers:”

Prognosticators who wrote the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming report in 2007 predicted an inevitable, century-long rise in global temperatures of two degrees or more. Only higher temperatures were foreseen. Moderate or even lower temperatures, as we’re experiencing now, weren’t even listed as a possibility.Since at least 1998, however, no significant warming trend has been noticeable. Unfortunately, none of the 24 models used by the IPCC views that as possible. They are at odds with reality.

Karl Popper, the late, great philosopher of science, noted that for something to be called scientific, it must be, as he put it, “falsifiable.” That is, for something to be scientifically true, you must be able to test it to see if it’s false. That’s what scientific experimentation and observation do. That’s the essence of the scientific method.

Unfortunately, the prophets of climate doom violate this idea. No matter what happens, it always confirms their basic premise that the world is getting hotter. The weather turns cold and wet? It’s global warming, they say. Weather turns hot? Global warming. No change? Global warming. More hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? You guessed it.

Nothing can disprove their thesis. Not even the extraordinarily frigid weather now creating havoc across most of the Northern Hemisphere. The Los Angeles Times, in a piece on the region’s strangely wet and cold weather, paraphrases Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert as saying, “In general, as the globe warms, weather conditions tend to be more extreme and volatile.”

Got that? No matter what the weather, it’s all due to warming. This isn’t science; it’s a kind of faith. Scientists go along and even stifle dissent because, frankly, hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants are at stake. But for the believers, global warming is the god that failed.

Whom the more fervent believers had hoped would have been an effective substitute for the first God That Failed.
He is really pointing out the true religions of the global warmers- or warmongers. I like that word!

Internal Republican Problems in Texas

I've been getting all the emails pro and con on as to who should be the speaker in the Texas House.  This is a good wrap up of what is going on - or maybe not going on.  It has been a real anthill of activity since the November elections.  This is from the Trailblazer's Politics blog. (Dallas News)
Speaker's race: Any votes moving beneath froth?
by Robert T. Garrett/Reporter

"The Tea Party in Texas has been working overtime to ensure that we have conservative leadership in the Texas House," says the unknown producer of this anti-Joe Straus video, which appears on the website StopJoeStraus.com , itself something of a mystery. Since I first noticed the site a few weeks back, I've asked the most visible organizer of the push for a more conservative speaker, Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, if he has learned who's behind StopJoeStraus.com.

"I have not," he told me today.

This video, with its network-news-type graphics, is more sophisticated -- or jaded -- than some of the anti-Straus fusillades we've seen up to now.

I say jaded because it's ironic to see an ostensibly conservative issue campaign cite the liberal Texas Observer as its authority for spreading fear that Joe Straus' family ties to gambling mean that casinos are sure to start popping up like dandelions across the state. The article about Straus' gambling bloodlines was written last spring by the estimable Andrew Wheat of the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice, and just those words alone should grab the attention of the tort reformers among us.

But speaker's race politics does make for strange bedfellows. To guard his right flank, Straus, R-San Antonio , has produced the video below, which puts forth his Republican credentials. Also, as a tea party blog known as Ramparts 360 recently noted, Straus has hired quite a diverse cast of political consultants and his most outspoken defenders in the House Republican Caucus have included some members he really went to the mat -- or the checkbook -- to assist in last year's election.

Speaking of the caucus, if you've been on vacation, you might have missed that its Straus-supporting chairman, Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, has agreed to hold a meeting on Jan. 10, the day before the session starts; Straus opponent Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, wants Taylor to call for "a vote to determine the Republican preference for speaker," which would be nonbinding but potentially trouble-causing for the incumbent; and Straus has reacted by saying, in effect, big deal, I've got more than enough Republican votes to carry the day -- whether it's opening day or the day before.
You will want to go to the site, read the whole thing, and then follow some of the other postings. The only way to have a fair appraisal of this situation is to read all the links, pro and con, watch the videos, all the comments (one of which gives the story behind the video mystery) then make up your mind.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lessons Liberals and their President refuse to learn

More of Victor Davis Hanson to come- he first discusses Greece in Raging Against “Them” Seems the Greeks want to blame everyone but themselves.
It’s All Greek to Us
In very un-Icelandic fashion, last week protestors in Athens tried to blow up a downtown courthouse. Over a year after the Hellenic meltdown, the Greek newspapers still reflect the popular fury—protests, strikes, senseless violence—at the mandatory cutbacks, the public sector layoffs, and the high-interest needed to attract investors to shaky Greek bonds. And yet amid the furor, 60% of the public still polls in favor of the European Union. How are we to diagnose the drowning non-swimmer who eagerly grasps—and yet hates—the life preserver?
.....
You get the picture:1970s Greece reflected a small southern Balkan population wedded to a siesta lifestyle, on a rocky peninsula in which there was little wealth other than tourism, a poorly developed agriculture, some shipping, and remittances from Greek expatriates in the United States and Germany.

Fast forward to the post-Olympics Greece: five star hotels, 20,000 plus private swimming pools (most of them unreported for tax purposes), half the work force ensconced in cushy government or government-related jobs, Attica dotted with Riviera-like second homes, BMWs more common than Mercedeses, billions of euros worth of new highways, and a new airport and subway system.
......
Now? Oz is over with and the Greeks are furious at “them.” Furious in the sense that everyone must be blamed except themselves. So they protest and demonstrate that they do not wish to stop borrowing money to sustain a lifestyle that they have not earned—but do not wish to cut ties either with their EU beneficiaries and go it alone as in the 1970s. So they rage against reality.
Now he compares Greece and California
California Got What It Wanted
The same is true of California. Our elites liked the idea of stopping new gas and oil extraction, shutting down the nuclear power industry, freezing state east-west freeways, strangling the mining and timber industries, cutting off water to agriculture in the Central Valley, diverting revenues from fixing roads and bridges to redistributive entitlements, and praising the new multicultural state that would welcome in half the nation’s 11-15 million illegal aliens. Better yet, the red-state-minded “they” (the nasty upper one-percent who stole from the rest of us due to their grasping but superfluous businesses) began to leave at the rate of 3,000 a week, ensuring the state a Senator Barbara Boxer into her nineties.
....
And now we are broke. Our infrastructure is crumbling and an embarrassment. My environs is known as “Zimbabwe” or “Appalachia” for its new third-world look that followed from about the highest unemployment and lowest per capita income in the nation. Again, thanks to the deep South, our schools are not quite last in reading and math. So of course, like the Greeks, we are mad at somebody other than ourselves. Californians are desperate for a “them” fix. But who is them? “Them” either left, is leaving, or has been shut down.
You will want to real it all.  What happens in California usually travels all across the United States in a slow pace.  Please don't let it happen here.

The Constitution - Is Obama and the Congress following it?

There is plenty of talk about this as the new Congress plans to read it aloud in chambers.  It may be the first time many of the Democrats (and some Republicans) have read it completely through.  I think listening to something being read will sometimes make it clearer.  We tend to scan when we read long documents. David Limbaugh has an article published by Creator's Syndicate that is a long discussion of overriding of the Constituion by executive fiat.
The Administration's Administrative Tyranny Marches On

This administration is abusive enough when it acts outside its constitutional authority, but it is even more tyrannical when it affirmatively thwarts the express will of the Congress on matters within the legislative domain.

When Congress denied Obama authority to transfer money to the International Monetary Fund, he did so anyway, issuing an executive order promising to give that body $140 billion for redistribution to Third World countries.

Now he's made another mockery of bipartisanship and the Constitution in making six recess appointments, including two people so objectionable that a near supermajority of Democratic senators wouldn't confirm them: James Cole as deputy attorney general, whose lax position in the war on terror is disturbing, and Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. as ambassador to Turkey.

Meanwhile, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up to engage in a defiant end run around Congress by attempting to impose cap-and-trade-type regulations by administrative fiat after Obama's failed attempt to shove this nightmarish disaster through Congress.

It obviously doesn't matter to these zealots that an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress couldn't pass cap and trade or that the Clean Air Act gives them no authority to regulate so-called greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn't matter that their proposed regulatory blitzkrieg would further damage an already anemic and precarious economy.

What matters is that the earth goddess Gaia beckons, and she is not to be denied. Just as her global warming cultists view every environmental development and incident as confirmation of their cataclysmic myopia, including the ones that flatly contradict their theories, her disciples in government march to her orders, irrespective of the rule of law and silly capitalistic concerns.

Unlike those annoying evangelical Christians, who employ gentle persuasion techniques in their efforts to proselytize, Gaia's acolytes use the coercive power of government to bring us all into the fold. And all this time, libs have been telling us they abhor state-sponsored religion.
Mr. Rush LImbaugh Sr. raised some really bright boys. Go read the rest of this article for some great insights into how far the Constitution has been trashed.