Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Governor Cuomo Introduces First Budget....

It would seem that all the powers that be are greatly displeased by the Governors budget proposal. If you are so inclined you can read the entire thing here. The displeasure being expressed at least gives me hope that Cuomo is serious about the fiscal crisis that is facing the state of New York.
For reactions to the budget feel free to start here. Much more here, here, and here.

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Unveils Slash-and-Hack Budget: MyFoxNY.com



Highlights of the budget include no new taxes and....

— $132.9 billion total budget.

— Reduces overall government fund spending 2.7 percent including a loss of $6 billion in federal stimulus money.

— Cuts Medicaid $1 billion, or 2 percent, to $52.8 billion.

— Cuts public school aid $1.5 billion, or 7.3 percent, to $19.4 billion.

— Cuts $170 million in support for state and city senior colleges and $46 million in base aid to community colleges; extends reductions in tuition assistance awards for a second year.

— With no contracts in place for the coming year, promises to work with unions representing 94 percent of the state work force for future, ongoing savings.

— Proposes up to 9,800 state layoffs if negotiated savings aren't reached; Cuomo says he still wants a wage freeze for the year.

— Adds $340 million in "revenue enhancements," with better tax collections from more electronic filing, lottery adjustments and a surcharge on state racing purses.

— Limits growth in property tax exemption benefits in the STAR program, which result from declining property value, to 2 percent.

— Creates a task force to recommend prison closures; merges corrections and parole agencies and cuts six parole board positions; cuts budget $237 million to $2.76 billion.

— Proposes more preventive local services for juvenile justice programs and reducing detention facilities.

— Cuts State Police budget $60 million to $647 million.

— Cuts environmental and energy program spending 6.5 percent, with $1 billion for the Department of Environmental Conservation, $209 million for the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation and $134 million for programs supported by the Environmental Protection Fund.

— Cuts aid to cities, towns and villages by 2 percent, with an estimated $301 million savings from no payment to New York City for the second straight year.

— Cuts aid to mental health agencies by $227 million to $8.2 billion.

— Merges banking, insurance and consumer protection agencies into a new Department of Financial Regulation.

— Cuts spending for economic development by $293 million for capital disbursements to $757 million, and by $4 million each for operations and programs to $23 million and $48 million, respectively.

Democrats are complaining that he sounds like a republican. Thank God.

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McConnell Keeps His Promise....

His timing couldn't be better. After the smackdown administered by Judge Vinson, Mitch McConnell introduced a measure to repeal the national healthcare overhaul. Although it is unlikely to pass, republicans are lined up in opposition, forcing the democrats to yet again put themselves in the position of supporting unpopular, expensive and likely unconstitutional legislation.


Earlier today, McConnell announced in a press avail: "We pledged to the American people that we would seek to repeal this 2,700-page bill that seeks to restructure all of American health care and put the decisions in Washington. I'm pleased to announce that all 47 of my members will be voting to repeal Obamacare." Thirteen Democrats won't join them, and maybe none will. But the process of pressuring vulnerable Democrats to go on the record in support of an unpopular, exorbitantly expensive and quite possibly unconstitutional statute has begun. And McConnell will do it again and again for the next two years.


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Source: Al-Qaeda on Brink of Using Nuclear Bomb

According to recently leaked diplomatic documents, the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda is on the verge of producing dirty bombs, after obtaining materials and scientists.

This could lead to what intelligence officials call a "nuclear 9/11."  If a dirty bomb were to be used in a populated area, thousands could die, mainly from radiation poisoning, as opposed to the devastation of a normal nuclear weapon.

Even worse, al-Qaeda could well be on its way to weapons worse than a dirty bomb.  According to a leaked report, al-Qaeda terrorists "have the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb."

This could mean a nuclear weapon could already be in development.
Al-Qaeda Flag

The Vancouver Sun continues:
Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing "workable and efficient" biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.
Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.
At a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaeda was plotting a program of "dirty radioactive IEDs", makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.
As well as causing a large explosion, a "dirty bomb" attack would contaminate the area for many years.

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Muslim Brotherhood: Suez Canal Must be Closed, Egypt Should be Ready for War with Israel

As the world watches the chaos in Egypt continue, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the major political groups fighting for power, has now greatly increased tension in the reason.

Muhammad Ghannem told an Iranian news network that if he and the Muslim Brotherhood had his way, the Suez Canal would be closed immediately.  This would not only hurt capital coming in for the Mubarak government, but it would have further repercussions, as one-third of the world's oil is transported through the canal.  This could increase the price of oil and gas substantially.

Continuing, Ghannem stated that gas flowing from Egypt to Israel should stop immediately, “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.”  Once again, this would hurt the Mubarak regime and would also hurt the Israeli economy in the process.

However, Ghannem's most provocative statements came about war with Israel.  Talking about what the Muslim Brotherhood is prepared to do, Ghannem stated that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel.”  This implies that a war with Israel could be inevitable if the group takes substantial power in Egypt.
Logo of the Muslim Brotherhood
Hosni Mubarak, the besieged President of Egypt is still in power despite protests from hundreds of thousands of Egyptians.  Mr. Mubarak is famous for ruling Egypt for 30 years, but also because he is one of the only Middle Eastern countries to have a formal peace treaty with Israel.

Should the Muslim Brotherhood take power, that distinction would likely end.

Ghannem continued his interview, confidently saying that the armies of Egypt would not listen to Mubarak.  When asked about the soldiers in the street, Ghannem stated that they “would not kill their brothers,” even if the order has already been issued.

He lastly stated that the United States did, in fact, support Mubarak.  However, “seeing millions head for the streets,” the United States has "abandoned" plans to help Mubarak retain power.

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Hundreds of Thousands Gather in Cairo

It is early morning in Cairo, Egypt today but already hundreds of thousands of people are gathering in the cities.  With much of the day left, protesters could get their wish and gather one million people by the end of the day.  Some pictures:



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Monday, January 31, 2011

A one-time post


One of my favorite bloggers is Morgan Freeberg a.k.a. House of Erato-sthenes. He is able to explain things clearly, although not always concisely. Simple ideas or complex ideas, when Morgan gets a hold of it, he can boil it down to something that is understandable. I urge you to make him a daily stop.

But I was a little dismayed when he rather off-handedly remarked that he didn't like fisking, musing that doing so usually didn't add anything to a discussion.

Of course, I've been doing a weekly (more-or-less) fisking of a liberal columnist for several years now. I don't think Morgan's comment was directed at me, because those fiskings are on a more obscure website that is more of a diary than a blog, but I did take it as whispered advice from an older brother. I hold Morgan's advice in high regard, so whenever he expresses an opinion, I weight it a bit more than other people's words. So I quit doing fiskings and figured that I would never do them again.

Until now.

This one has been sticking in my craw for over a week, and I've got to release it. I know this is only my second post here, so not much is known about me. But one thing I want to make clear: I do not tolerate fools gladly. And the fool that prompted this has a bit of a backstory.

Bob Scott claims to be a Republican here in Arkansas. I say claims, because back in 2004, Bob wrote a letter to the only state-wide newspaper (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette), urging every Republican to vote for John Kerry. I wish I still had a copy of the letter, but one phrase remains stuck in my memory. "For the first time in my life, I am going to vote for a Democrat for President." This is from someone who claims to have been a county chairman for the Republican Party, and having served on Republican Lieutenant Governor John Rockefeller's staff.

In a previous letter to the editor, Bob states that he is a liberal Republican. The liberal part I believe, but I have my doubts about the Republican part. And the letter Bob presents here shows what a complete fool Bob is.

So, with no further ado, I present here Bob's letter as it was published in the Northwest Arkansas Times, which I will put in italics.

*OPINION PAGES, WRITERS GREAT


The column by the Rev. Lowell Grisham (“Rich Get Richer,” Jan. 9) was, as usual, an excellent Bible lesson and very timely with the recent insistence by MY PARTY (the conservative Republican Party) to send an additional $81.5 billion tax deduction to the richest 1 percent of Americans. *

Well, Bob, I’m not sure, but I do believe that somewhere in the Bible there’s probably something that the followers of God would consider commands. I imagine that these “commandments" would probably be ten in number, simply because it would allow the followers to tick them easily off their fingers as they recited them. And I’m pretty sure that these “Ten Commandments" would have at least a commandment to not covet what your neighbor has. Now, Bob, assuming that there is such a commandment in these “Ten Commandments" that does indeed command the followers to not covet what others have, why are you concerning yourself with what others have?

*The ultimate example of the conservative “trickle down” theory worshipped [sic] by the “supply-siders” under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, an economic theory tabbed as “voodoo economics” by none other than the honorable George Herbert Walker Bush.*

So, since you find him ‘honorable’ now, did you find him ‘honorable’ when he struck a deal with the Democrats to raise taxes in exchange for cutting spending? A deal that Democrats reneged on?
The elder Bush believed that supply-side reforms like ending regulation would not be enough to rejuvenate the economy. Remind me how that turned out again, Bob?
Sorry to sound so cynical, but I find Bob’s labeling of the elder Bush as ‘honorable’ to be rather convenient, and most likely insincere.

*In addition to Grisham, you feature columns by John Brummett and Dr. Art Hobson, all of whom make us think. *

Make us think of vomiting from the idiocy, that is.

*Thank you for a great editorial page, and we are thankful for them as well as many other writers on your editorial pages. Your editorial page is comparable to the editorial pages of the Arkansas Gazette prior to the purchase by the Arkansas Democrat, owned by the right-wing Republican.*

You can almost hear the disgust at having to actually having to contemplate the thought that those evil, mean, contemptible right-wing Republicans are actually owners of a newspaper. I can even imagine Bob spitting in disgust at having to utter the term “right-wing Republicans". He’s tolerant like all liberals, you know.

*Comparing your editorial page with that of the Democrat-Gazette is like comparing CNN to Fox.

Finally, thank you for not publishing the hatred spouted by the extreme right wing. *

I’ll just pause a moment here so that you can relish the amount of irony in that sentence. Probably the only difference in Bob's mind is the insertion of the word ‘extreme' into that sentence.

*Even though I am not willing to conclude that the hatred spouted by conservatives like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck (Fox News) is responsible for the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the distinguished chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona, along with five other Americans, *

That’s mighty white of you, Bob. Seeing as how that’s what the evidence has proven.

*it is time for conservatives to examine that possibility.*

Oh. I see. So, conservatives and the “hatred" that we have “spouted" are not responsible for the shooting, but we need to examine the “possibility" that we are.

It all makes perfect sense!

*What about the open display of fully automatic weapons at Tea Party political events with total silence from the conservative leaders. *

He’s right! All that hate that was spouted at the Tea Parties and the weapons that were there caused.... er, no incidents at all.

Not one.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Clearly, the Tea Party has much to be ashamed of.

*Ever hear of a liberal spouting similar hatred, carrying a submachine gun at a political event or any other public event, talking about “crosshairs” on the back of politicians and activating our Second Amendment rights?*

Well, since you asked...

How about when some tolerant liberals plotted to attack Republicans at their national convention in 2008?

Or how about liberal Senator Carnahan (D-MO) who had his own campaign office firebombed and tolerant liberals like you blamed the Tea Party?

Ooh, that one’s gonna sting a little, won't it?

Or how about Casey Berzik, who cut the throat of a community college dean, but his intended target was Missouri governor Jay Nixon?

Okay, bombs and knives, but no guns, I hear you say. Ask, and ye shall receive:

Let's start with James von Brunn, who shot and killed a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

John Patrick Bedell shot two security guards at the Pentagon.

How about the guy who wanted to shoot the anti-abortion protesters? The quote is, ""When we come out, I’m going to put a bullet in your head if you talk to her."

How about Clay Duke, who opened fire on members in a school board meeting in Florida, then killed himself?

Or even how a tolerant leftist like yourself threatened to kill Senator Cantor and his family? Well, he didn’t put it that way. The way he put it was, ““My Congressman Eric Cantor, and you and your cupcake evil wife…” “Remember Eric…our judgment time, the final Yom Kippur has been given. You are a liar, you’re a Lucifer, you’re a pig, a greedy fucking pig, you’re an abomination, you receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads. You and your children are Lucifer’s abominations.”“

So I could be reading too much into that.

And surely you haven’t forgotten the shooting right here in Arkansas of a military recruiter? Unless you had your head in the sand (or some other dank dense place), you couldn’t have missed the newspaper account: “police said the man who’s suspected in the shooting did not know the victims but shot them because of “ideological reasons.” The suspect was described as a convert to Islam who specifically targeted soldiers for the attack”.

Ah. Well. How embarrassing. As Michelle Malkin says, “being a Tea Party-bashing liberal means never having to say you’re sorry for smearing conservative dissent."

*Take a look at the March 25 interview with Giffords during her campaign after Palin mentioned targeting her with crosshairs on the congresswoman’s legislative district on Sarah’s website. Sarah knew what she was doing and knew what happened in Tucson was a real possibility if not probability, as the reference was immediately removed from her website following the shooting.*

I love how the possibility that the people responsible removed it so as not to be insensitive to the tragedy never enters Bob’s mind. Nope, nope, it’s because dumb, idiotic Sarah remembered the map on her website and wanted to remove any hint of complacency in something that she clearly orchestrated.

And hey Bob! You didn't happen to see the map that's up at the top of this post here on this page, now did you? No, I didn't think so.

*The silence about this hatred rhetoric from the conservative leadership has been deafening. *

Hey, there’s also been a deafening silence from the black leadership! They must also be guilty!
And the Hispanic leadership, as well! They also must be guilty!
Ditto for the female leadership!
And the Eskimo leadership!
And the Soviets! Why aren’t they saying anything! I’m telling you, this conspiracy goes all the way to the top! They are all clearly guilty! Guilty, guilty, GUILTY!!!!!!!

*Sen. John McCain is the exception; he stopped the lady blathering about candidate Obama being a Muslim, foreign-born, un-American and candidly told her and the world that Obama was not evil or un-American, but an honest, good American.*

Clearly, John McCain (or should I say, Ivan McCain!) is in on the conspiracy! He’s always looked rather shifty-eyed to me!

And he messed up when he described Obama as ‘honest' and ‘good'.
And the ‘American' part is still in doubt, too.

*I do not have to know anything about the shooter to know he should never have had access to a gun, especially a gun capable of firing 30 rounds in seconds without reloading. That is a weapon for war or police enforcement, not hunting or target practice.*

Do you see Bob’s point here? He’s not saying that Kook Boy who shot a Congresswoman shouldn’t have had access to a gun. No, what Bob is saying here is that NO ONE should have access to such a gun, Second Amendment be damned.

*Turn off Fox. Stop hate and fear.*

Another irony-rich sentence. Dishonesty and smearing is still all right in Bob's book.

OK, that's it. It's out of my system, now. I feel better. I hope you enjoyed this fisking. I promise my next post will be more punditry. I'm aiming to have another one this week, because of my inability to get one out last week. I feel obligated to make up for that deficit.

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Report: Mubarak Planning to Step Down


NPR is reporting that Egyptian dictator is preparing to step down and cede power to a provisional government led by his allies in the military. This comes from an American scholar who is “in regular touch” with elites in the Egyptian government and military. It appears that these changes will attempt to bring in the opposition leaders and the protesters in the streets.

Suleiman and Mubarak
The two-part plan, according to Cohen, would involve the immediate removal of 100 members of the Egyptian Parliament whose election this past fall was seen as illegitimate. They would be replaced by 100 candidates who were barred from running in the election or who were defeated because of government meddling in the election process.
A second possible step would be the organization of new parliamentary and presidential elections. The plan, according to Cohen, “requires [Mubarak] to give up his office.” Asked whether Mubarak would do that, Cohen answered, “He is getting ready to do so.”
I’m not sure how accurate this report is. Of course, this is likely to happen, but I believe that the report would come from a more senior source than an academic.

Cross-posted on World Threats.


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Obama Duplicity Finally Comes Back to Bite Him in the A$$...

You may not remember, but back in February, 2008 then presidential candidate Obama had this to say about the individual health insurance mandate...



Today, in a very important ruling, federal Judge Robert Vinson used the President's own words against him in striking down the individual mandate and the entire oxymoronic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Via the Washington Times.....

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday.

The footnote was attached to the most critical part of Judge Vinson‘s ruling, in which he said the “principal dispute” in the case was not whether Congress has the power to tackle health care, but rather whether it has the power to compel individual citizens to purchase insurance.

Judge Vinson cited Mr. Obama‘s campaign words from an interview withCNN to show that there are other options that could pass constitutional muster including then-candidate Obama‘s plan.

During the presidential campaign, one key difference between Mr. Obama and his chief opponent, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, was that Mrs. Clinton‘s plan required all Americans to purchase insurance and Mr. Obama‘s did not.

Do you like apples? Indeed


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Report: New Iran Reactor Could Become Modern Chernobyl

According to new intelligence reports, "Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant has been penetrated by a computer worm unleashed last year."  When the plant comes online and is fully operational, this could lead to a Chernobyl-like meltdown.

The virus could have disrupted several safety precautions in the plant's system.  According to the report, the plant could meltdown with the "force of a small nuclear bomb."

The report continues, "The minimum possible damage would be a meltdown of the reactor.  However, external damage and massive environmental destruction could also occur... similar to the Chernobyl disaster."
Chernobyl
AP reports that the virus, known as Stuxnet, "has the ability to send centrifuges spinning out of control and temporarily crippled Iran's uranium enrichment program."

Though Iran denies that the virus has affected their nuclear plant, Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin dismisses that statement.  Rogozin stated that "the virus which is very toxic, very dangerous, could have had very serious implications could have led to a new Chernobyl."

The nuclear plant in Chernobyl exploded in 1986.  Its meltdown led to the evacuation of an entire cities, some 350,000 people, and the surrounding area is still mostly uninhabitable to this day.  It is also estimate that up to 4,000 people have died because of the meltdown (including those who died later from illnesses).

Yet this is in the U.S.S.R., which at the time was one of the strongest countries on earth with many resources.  Iran, on the other hand, could have a much greater humanitarian crisis on its hands.

Ironically, Russia built the new Iranian factory.  As AP reports:
Iran has acknowledged that the malware — malicious software designed to infiltrate computer systems — hit the laptops of technicians working at Bushehr, but has denied that the plant was affected or that Stuxnet was responsible for delays in the startup of the Russian-built reactor.

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Biggest Egypt Protests Planned for Tomorrow


Opposition leaders in Egypt have announced that it planned to hold its largest protests yet. This comes as the Mubarak regime returned police forces to the cities, albeit with less alleged violence occuring. This also comes at a time of widespread lawlessness even with the army and police both on the streets.
Protesters have been called upon to march in the “millions,” which is not out of the realm of possibility for this nation of 80 million.
But opposition groups say personnel changes will not placate them and have said they will continue until the president steps down.
“The whole regime must come down,” Hassan, a construction worker and protester told the Reuters news agency.
“We do not want anyone from Mubarak’s retinue in the new government, which the people will choose. We want a civil government run by the people themselves.”
Stay tuned tomorrow. I’d suggest right here on World Threats or on al Jazeera.
Cross-posted at World Threats



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Obama Admin Finally Calls for ‘Transition’


The Obama Administration, after spending days waffling between backing Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak or the protesters in the streets, has finally made up its mind. Last week Vice President Biden said that Mubarak was not a dictator and should not step down. Later both Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama both refused to take sides in the dispute.
Senior administration officials said that the “transition” wording, used by both the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was carefully chosen to indicate a desire for a representative, interim government to run Egypt until scheduled presidential elections are held in September.
Last night came a decision to call for elections and the ‘orderly transition’ to a new government.
Of course, this comes after alienating many Egyptians by appearing to back their autocrat over their voices. It also played into Iran and Venezuela’s hands, allowing them to criticize ‘imperialist’ American policy.
Cross-posted at World Threats.


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Breaking: Judge Rules Obama Care is Unconstitutional

In a major defeat for the Obama Administration, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has ruled that the President's massive overhaul of Health Care is unconstitutional.

The judge released this statement:
"The individual mandate applies across the board. People have no choice and there is no way to avoid it. Those who fall under the individual mandate either comply with it, or they are penalized. It is not based on an activity that they make the choice to undertake. Rather, it is based solely on citizenship and on being alive.  Of course, to say that something is 'novel' and 'unprecedented' does not necessarily mean that it is 'unconstitutional' and 'improper.' There may be a first time for anything."
Fox News continues:
If Vinson orders an injunction against that portion of the law, the federal government will most likely seek an immediate stay against the ruling. The case already appears destined for the U.S. Supreme Court. 
Nearly two dozen suits have been filed in federal courts, but Monday's ruling will have the largest impact by far against the law -- Obama's signature legislation aimed at covering 30 million uninsured Americans whether they want insurance or not.
President Obama
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Chinese Use Footage from "Top Gun," Claim it was a "Live Fire Exercise"

There are fears that the Chinese have been gaining on the United States technologically in the last few years.  President Obama has slowed military technology and cancelled funding for F-22s, while new secret photographs show that China is developing new fighter jets.

However, the Chinese government apparently does not know who Tom Cruise is.  At the very least, their news agencies did not realize that, while their citizens have not seen many Western films, that the U.S. has.

In a recent news cast, the Chinese media was touting new, live fire exercises.  They then showed footage of the dog-fights.  The problem is, they simply used clips from the 1986 film 'Top Gun.'  Here is the original footage from the news cast:



And here is the footage, slowed down and compared to the movie:



I didn't realize Tom Cruise was big over there!

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Obama's Carter Moment

By now the comparison between President Barack Obama and former-President Jimmy Carter is well established.  Both Presidents came to power only after the overhyped "death" of the Republican Party in 1976 and 2008, both Presidents had promised renewed peace and talks with our chief (which both failed), and under both Presidents, the economy faltered.

Yet, with uprisings in Egypt sweeping their nation, another similarity comes into focus: the fall of Iran under Carter and President Obama's handling of Egypt.  This is Obama's Carter moment.

In 1978, Iran was one of the biggest allies of the United States in the Middle East.  It was run by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had run the country for over thirty years.  Oil rich and strategically important, the United States had protected Iranian interests for years.  However, by 1978, revolution was foaming.
Carter and the Shah
Yet the Carter Administration sat on its hands and did nothing.  According to historian Nikki Keddie, they followed "no clear path" to help Iran.  In fact, Carter believed that Iran was "not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation."  He was wrong. The CIA stated right before the Shah was overthrown that Iran represented an "island of stability" in the otherwise chaotic Middle East.

Carter's policies did more to encourage the Iranian fundamentalists than to stop them. They did nothing to prevent Ayatollah Ruollah Khomeinei to return to the country and when Islamist Shias forced moderates and democrats from the interim government.

Revolts began in that very year, and by January of 1979 the Shah had left the country.  In February, the country fell to Islamic extremists, and has yet to return.  In late 1979, 52 Americans were captured in Iran and held as captives until the day President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in 1981.

In the chaos, oil production in Iran greatly declined.  This led to what is known as the "Second Oil Crisis." Cars lined up across Americans streets, while Carter delivered his Malaise Speech.  Come 1980, the United States had had enough of Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan was elected President.

Now, let's come back to the present.  In 2010, Egypt was one of the biggest allies in the Middle East.  It was run by Hosni Mubarak, who has run the country for thirty years.  Strategically important, the United States had protected Egyptian interests for years.  However, by 2010, revolution was foaming.

Yet the Obama Administration sat on its hands and did nothing.  To average Americans, they are following no clear path to help Egypt.  In fact, Obama believed that Egypt was "stable" as recently as... January 27.  He was wrong. Even Vice President Biden now infamously said that Mubarak, one of the most autocratic leaders of the regions, was not a dictator.
Obama and Mubarak
Revolts began in early 2011, with protesters calling for Mubarak to leave.  Analysts fear that the country will fall as soon as February, and worse, that the country could fall to Islamic extremists, and never return.

All Obama has done is delivered a speech in which he said almost nothing, calling on both sides to behave.   In fact, Obama supported both sides at once (in effect voting "present") in his final paragraph:  "the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government."

With Egypt under the rule of anti-American religious extremists, the Suez Canal, which transports one-third of the world's oil, could be hijacked.  This could easily lead to an explosion in gas prices and supplies, not dissimilar to the Second Oil Crisis.  Under the Obama Administration, a Third Oil Crisis could plausibly be coming. In fact, tribes are already openly threatening to attack the Canal.

Carter lost the crown jewel of the non-Arab Middle East, Iran. Obama may well lose Egypt, the leader of the entire Arab world.

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"The Pharaoh of Chicago"

Rush Limbaugh has done it again.

This afternoon's edition of the Rush Limbaugh Show started with a bang:

"Barack Hussein Obama: The Pharaoh of Chicago"
Rush has been discussing how we're now living in Jimmy Carter's second term, and how the collapse of Mubarak's Egypt* will be Barack Obama's Shah of Iran moment. I cannot find disagreement with either of Rush's discussion points. In fact, I expressed the exact same opinion yesterday morning.

The American electorate responded to the first term of Jimmy Carter with the election of Ronald Reagan. Hopefully, we can repeat history in just 21 months when Carter's second term is on the ballot, and when the second Reagan arises.

Any thoughts?

* - And the rise of Islamists.

Internet Kill Switch Coming to a Country Near You...

We all know the saying, "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go askew..." It comes from a famous poem by Robert Burns, Ode to a Mouse. I was reminded of the phase this morning as I was reading an article at theage.com.au. The fascinating graphic below puts into context the power any government has over its people when lines of communication can be shut down.

Luckily for us, "Senator Susan Collins, a co-sponsor of the bill, said that unlike in Egypt, where the government was using its powers to quell dissent by shutting down the internet, it would not." Color me skeptical, but I simply don't believe her. You see I am reminded of the conclusion of the above referenced poem...

"But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!"

Update: PC World digs deeper to describe the Anatomy of an Internet Blackout.


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The Month in Review

A lot has happened since our last month in review. It's been a very busy month and we've been all writing furiously to keep up with the news cycle. Since the first of the year, these have been the results. At this moment we have 54 followers and 78 subscribers-- so remember to sign up!

Total: 224 total articles.

Aurelius had a total of 98 articles, or 43.6% of the total. This is up from 33% last month.
Mr. K had a total of 27, or 12.0%. Mr. K had a 28% last MiR.
Thomas wrote 68, or 30.2%, up from 26% last time.
Unlikely Hospitalist wrote 26, falling just one behind Mr. K. This is 11.6% of the total-- up from 5% last month.
Dr. Robert Owens had 4, or 1.8% of the total.
Joe C. wrote 2 articles, or .9% of the sum.
Kaptain Krude joined our ranks and wrote one article, An Introduction.
Eric Dondero, also of Libertarian Republican, began writing for Pundit Press with his articleBring a Democrat friend to Lunch, and invite them to switch to Republican.

We've had a total of 61,641 pageviews since last month-- a staggering increase of over 500%!


The Top Articles of the Last Month:


1.  Dennis Miller's "The Big Speech" a Very Big Deal..., by Unlikely Hosptialist, with 11,680 views, or 19.0% of the views.


2.  Signatures Being Collected to Officially Recall Dupnik, by Aurelius, with 4,122 views, or 6.7%. of the views.


3.  Breaking: Did a Radical Daily Kos Reader try to Assassinate Rep. Giffords, by Aurelius, with 4,024 views, or 6.5% of the views.


4.  Jared Loughner's YouTube Account, by Aurelius, with 3,396 views, or 5.5% of the views.


5.  Assassin Loughner a Member of Conspiracy Site "Above Top Secret," Posts Show Hate for Christianity, by Aurelius, with 1,745 views, or 2.8%


6.  Insane Liberals: "CAN SOMEONE PLZ KILL SARAH PALIN" for Arizona Shooting, by Aurelius, with 1,552 views, or 2.5%


7.  Jared Loughner Pictures, by Aurelius, with 1,447 views, or 2.3%


8.  Live Blog- 2011 RNC Chairman Election, by Mr. K, with 1,323 views, or 2.1%


9.  Jared Laughner Reading List/Books He Read, by Aurelius, with 1,285 views, or 2.1%


10.  Jared Loughner Mugshot, by Aurelius, by Aurelius, with 1,118 views, or 1.8%


11.  Scientist: Earth Could Have "New Sun" Within a Year, by Aurelius, with 1,070 views, 1.7%


12.  Mubarak Speech (January 28, 2011), by Aurelius, with 1,037 views, or 1.7%


13.  Cat Forced to do Jury Duty, by Thomas Ferdousi, with 940 views, or 1.5%
  • Unlikely Hospitalist led the way this month-- for the first time since joining the site with his article Dennis Miller's "The Big Speech" a Very Big Deal. This article alone brought in 11,678 views, or about what we earned all of mid-November until December 31st. This article represented 19.0% of our total hits.
  • Aurelius' top article was featured on Instapundit. This was about the recall petition to force out Sheriff Dupnik in Arizona. This received 4,121 views, or a total of 6.7% of our total.
  • Mr. K did a fine job covering the RNC election with his article bringing in 1,323 hits, or 2.1% of the sum.
  • Joe C.'s top article speculated on what crazed shooter Jared Laughner may have believed. This received exactly 200 hits, or .3% of the total.
We wanted to thank our commenters, especially Manhattan Infidel and Fenway Nation among others who took the time to comment.

Please bookmark!

Stunning Poll Number from Rasmussen - 46% of Sarah Palin supporters say they'd consider a 3rd Party if she's not nominated

Just released from Rasmussen...
Nearly half of the Republican Primary voters who support Sarah Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote for a third-party candidate if she does not win the GOP presidential nomination.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely Republican Primary Voters who favor Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote third-party if she isn’t nominated. That includes 22% who say it is Very Likely.
A sign that Mitt Romney, and other prospective frontrunners might need to shore up Tea Party support, perhaps?

Meanwhile, on another front NewsMax is headlining that Donald Trump is inching closer and closer to announcing for 2012.

Will he go Republican or the 3rd Party route?

Note - I am a former longtime member of the Libertarian Party, and served in Ron Paul's 1988 Libertarian Party presidential campaign as his Travel Aide.