Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brief History of the Syrian Revolution

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:6

Granted, I have not been following the events in Syria closely. Let's be honest, there is so much going on that seems more pertinent and much closer to home, but as I was perusing the news of the day several articles seemed to present themselves as ominous warnings.

First, Jake Tapper reports that Speaker John Boehner is set to issue an ultimatum to the President to get out of Libya or come before congress seeking authorization for military intervention:

In the immortal words of the vice president, this could be a big $%^ing deal: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is throwingwhatone Republican calls “a legal and political hot potato at the President.”

In a resolution to be voted on in the House tomorrow, Boehner is giving the president two weeks – until the Pentagon Appropriations bill comes up – to either:

a) Ask for authorization for the military intervention in Libya, or

b) Figure out how to disengage the US from the NATO operation in Libya.

The resolution states: “The President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya. Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.”

Certainly seems appropriate under the circumstances given the fact that President Obama invoked the 1973 War Powers Act when he launched military action against Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi in March. This act requires president's to obtain congressional approval within 60 days (Friday), or withdraw forces within 30 days.

Interestingly I also noted today, via DEBKA File:

Military and intelligence sources report that Monday, June 13, the US deployed the USS Bataan amphibian air carrier strike vessel opposite Syria's Mediterranean coast with 2,000 marines, 6 war planes, 15 attack helicopters, including new V-22 Ospreys, and 27 choppers for landing forces aboard.Also this week, US naval units went operational in the Aegean, Adriatic and Black Seas as part of the joint US-Ukrainian Sea Breeze 2011 exercise.

The USS Monterrey cruiser armed with Aegis surface missile interceptors has additionally been stationed in the Black Sea. Western sources additionally report a build-up of ship-borne anti-missile missile strength in the Mediterranean basin.

This huge concentration of naval missile interceptor units looks like preparations by Washington for the contingency of Iran, Syria and Hizballah letting loose with surface missiles against US and Israeli targets in the event of US military intervention to stop the anti-opposition slaughter underway in Syria.

Moscow, Tehran and Damascus, in particular, are taking this exceptional spate of American military movements in and around the Mediterranean as realistically portending American intervention in Syria.

Now I will grant you that DEBKA File isn't always accurate in their reporting, but movement of naval resources doesn't strike me as particularly confidential information.

Regardless, you may recall on May 15, 2011 Israel opened fire on pro "Palestinian" demonstrators attempting to breach its borders on three fronts, killing at least 13 people. The Guardian reported:

Israeli troops opened fire on pro-Palestinian demonstrators attempting to breach its borders on three fronts, killing at least 13 people. Scores more were wounded at Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

Clashes also erupted in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as Palestinians commemorated Nakba Day, the anniversary marking the 1948 war in which hundreds of thousands of people became refugees after being forced out of their homes.

Thousands of Palestinian refugees in Syria marched towards the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. At least four people were killed by Israeli troops as they crossed the border, Israel Radio reported. Up to 20 were injured, according to the Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance service.

At the time there were suspicions that this event was orchestrated by Syria. Today comes confirmation from Syrian state documents that show Assad orchestrated Nakba Day raids on Golan Heights':

The document which bears the Syrian Republic emblem, is dated May 14, 2011 and describes an “urgent meeting” of Major General Asef Shawkat, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, and the chiefs of security and military intelligence branches in the province in Al-Qunaitera, which is located at the Syrian-Israeli border. The memorandum outlines how the regime ordered the dispatching of 20 buses, each one with a passenger capacity of 47, to cross the border into Majdal-Shamms in the Golan Heights in order to precipitate a confrontation between Palestinian refugees and Israeli soldiers and UN peacekeeping forces, thereby distracting international attention from the Syrian revolution.

Lastly we have word that Syria is pursuing a "scorched earth" campaign (video at the link):

AFP - Six civilians were killed Tuesday and tanks were deployed near Syria's border with Iraq, activists said as President Bashar al-Assad came under sharp pressure to halt a crackdown on democracy protests.

The latest deaths came after fresh protests erupted in the eastern town of Deir Ezzor, a human rights activist told AFP and troops pursued a scorched earth campaign in northern mountains, sending thousands fleeing.

"The armed forces are continuing their operations and the sweep of the villages near Jisr al-Shughur," the flashpoint northeastern town which the army took by force on Sunday, the activist said.

"Six civilians perished in the past few hours in Ariha," east of Jisr al-Shughur, he said, without providing further details.

"Some 10 tanks and 15-20 troop carriers were deployed around the town of Abu Kamal," 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Damascus near the border with Iraq, the activist added.

In the end, though, Assad has to go. He and his family, have proven themselves to be brutal dictators, willing to repress, torture, and slaughter Syrian men, women, and children to maintain their grip on power and ultimate authority.

Also today I found a video entitled a "Brief History of the Syrian Revolution". It is difficult to watch as it is graphic and ugly, but something I think needs to be seen. It sort of coalesced all that I presented above into a reality that cannot be dismissed. Bashir Assad is a tyrant and must go, even if it means giving Obama an out in Libya.

Warning Graphic Video!

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WI Supreme Court Re-Institutes Collective Bargaining Law

Oh, irony is sweet indeed. Just a few weeks after JoAnne Kloppenburg was forced to concede in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Race and Judge Maryann Sumi attempted to strike down the state's new collective bargaining law-- the court finds it... constitutional.
The court found a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state's open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when they hastily approved the measure and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had struck down the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge.

The majority opinion was by Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. The other three justices - Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks - concurred in part and dissented in part.


Hat tip: HotAir.

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Obama: ATMs to Blame for High Unemployment


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NFL Union: Give in to Our Demands or We'll Cut off Medical Treatment for 78-Year Old Dementia Patient

I know that the headline seems a bit heavy-handed but it appears that the NFL Players' Union is going to use a hostage in its fight for even more millions of dollars in professional sports salaries.

Bruce Schwager, 78, was a former lineman for the United States Merchant Marine and helped build one of the Apollo capsules. He joined the union when he attended several NFL training camps and has been a loyal member since.

Now, due to the NFL lockout, the union is holding several important hostages. One is Schwager while they also hold the jobs of thousands of attendants at the NFL stadiums. In short-- they want millions for millionaire players-- $8 an hour janitors and parking lot attendants be damned!

But let's get back to Schwager. It's true that the charitable wing of the union is paying for his $250,000 a year expenses-- but at least from union mentality, that should be their responsibility anyway. Considering he is a member, could some of the six-figure union heads or eight-figure players consider giving a tiny fraction that may instead be, oh maybe donated to the Democratic Party.

The union knew that a potential lockout would occur last year. You would think that an organization that collects millions in dues annually would put some money aside for an ailing, elderly member, right? Instead, they have decided before the next season even starts, to cut Schwager's medical bills:

But on March 14, the first day of business after the N.F.L. lockout began and the union prepared for what could be a long and costly work stoppage, a union official called Schwager’s son and said the aid would cease immediately.

With his family unable to pay for continuing care at Silverado, Schwager is scheduled to be evicted on July 2. Bette Schwager said she had yet to find a facility that would care for her husband, who remains large, strong and combative when agitated. Schwager’s doctor said in an interview that forcing him to move from his familiar surroundings, given his advanced coronary disease, could bring on a fatal heart attack.

Remember, whether there's a strike or not, the union is still sitting on millions of dollars with an entire cadre of millionaires serving as its members. The union refused to contact the Times and instead sent the Schwager family the following:
“We have been and remain deeply concerned about the financial and medical well-being of Mr. Schwager and his family during this crisis,” but he added that there was no “agreement to pay those expenses indefinitely into the future.”

DeMaurice Smith did not refer to the lockout in his letter. But Schwager’s son, Joshua, said that the aid ceasing so soon after the work stoppage began “cannot be a coincidence.”

So they made no agreement to keep funding, huh? Okay, that might be a legitimate reason to stop funding except they promised to do so until his death earlier:

“The NFLPA’s PAT Fund will be responsible for the hospice bill” and, eight months later, that the union was “still fully committed” to Schwager’s care.

“We based everything in our lives on what they told us — that they’d take care of him,” Bette Schwager said while packing her husband’s belongings. “I sold my home and signed a rental lease right around the corner from here so I could be near him. Now my whole world is falling apart.”

Schwager's son is heartbroken by the betrayal and gets to the core of the union lies:

"They say they’re going through the lockout to help players from the past, present and future, and that the little guy is as important as the big guy. But are you really going to follow through on that?”

What a shame. To let an old man die so they could be gluttons is beyond a shame.

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Paul Ryan: Obama's Economic 'Experiment' has Failed

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has an interesting op-ed piece out in which he says that President Obama's attempts to change the economy have failed:
The May jobs report was yet another reminder that the government-knows-best crowd got it wrong. When he came into office, the president’s economic team predicted that a stimulus bill of unprecedented size and scope would hold unemployment below 8 percent and steadily lower it to 7 percent by the first quarter of this fiscal year.

These estimates weren’t just off by a little bit – they completely missed the mark. The jobless rate went all the way up to 10.1 percent, never fell below 8.8 percent, and has now ticked back up to 9.1 percent. Private-sector hiring continues to stagnate. The cost of gas and groceries continues to rise. And the national debt continues to climb, casting a long shadow over economic activity and job creation.

This recovery pales in comparison to past, private-sector-led recoveries. Unemployment today has fallen by just 1 percentage point from its recessionary peak. By contrast, unemployment at the same point in the past ten recoveries dropped by an average of 5 percentage points in past recoveries. The dismal jobs record underscores the fact that the Great Recession is far from over for millions of American families.


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Weiner-Holder, 2012

Have a laugh (click for better quality):

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A Letter to Environmental Activists

It seems the debate over hydraulic fracturing is finally starting to heat up. I say finally because up until now there hasn't been much of a debate at all. Mostly a one sided affair where anyone who might disagree with the given "consensus" were castigated, vilified, and called names.

The following letter was penned by a self proclaimed environmental activist who has become weary of the constant never ending mantra "no drill/no spill".


Dear Local Environmental Activists

You have taken the discussion way away. You have turned the subject of natural gas development into a monologue; where no-one is allowed to speak unless they speak the same rhetoric that you profess. If they disagree you call them greedy, ignorant or a shill. It is all about promoting your agenda for an entire populous (with or without a fair consensus) Even if you believe you have fair consensus, some of us know it is biased as it is based on half-truths and deceitfulness (I have been subject of you surveys; that include negative biased sentiment and many of us signed the petitions just to keep you off our front porches- Of course, I regret the decision now). It was originally about an issue but now, it doesn’t matter what the agenda is based on, as we have watched it change daily (from underground explosions (Chip Northrup) releasing natural gas to the attack of endocrine disruptor of an epic proportion (Dr. Amy Freeth)). Also, it really doesn’t matter to you that the majority of the populous have no idea about what you are doing or talking about as long as you inject enough fear in them to lay the ground work for your agenda. Of course it has become political and we all know what politicking means; empty promises and lies... lies… lies… anything to get ahead, anything to get heard, and anything to keep your life status quo. Doesn’t matter how much your decisions impact the “others” who live “over the hill” who now apparently need your help to keep the power lines away, the windmills away and now the gas wells away. These lies and deceit is something you have on numerous occasions accused the other side of doing. From where I sit here in the middle, there is NO difference between both extremes.

So, my question to you is; what do you perceive as our alternatives? I hear talk from you about sustainable and renewable energy solutions. All I have seen is the talk but not the walk. Tell me how I can live sustainably and wean myself off fossil fuels? My car runs on petroleum and I cannot afford an electric car. I do not have a large enough property to put up a wind mill nor can I afford solar panels on my roof. What can I do? What is your alternative to natural gas? What can we do to save our towns from an economic bust and uncertain economic future? I demand answers.

You are quick to shut down on hope but not quick to offer solutions.

I asked the same of those who support drilling. I did not get monologues of overplayed rhetoric, references to newspaper articles penned by everyday writers. Oh.. and TWO peer reviewed documents where the authors have been questioned about their methods. What I got was a discussion where my concerns were taken in account and addressed, complete with references to regulations, government agency authored white papers, several time tried peer reviewed papers about oil and gas extraction. I still may not be entirely convinced that natural gas development is the best way to go because I do not like fossil fuels but I enjoy the discussions about the potential changes that natural gas development can bring. I support the development if it can be done safely and I believe we are on our way to safe development.

So, where is your solution how to access the natural gas safely or as you just posturing for an all-out ban of natural gas development and then what? Most people resolve arguments through discussions but none of you has been willing to discuss anything with me since I left the ranks. So what do we do? Sit and wait while you steer us to destination that has not been defined? If you feel your fight is valuable then make something of it use it as a turning around point for our community. Use it to educate about how we can incorporate sustainable life choices into our everyday life and wean ourselves off fossil fuel based technology. Or else quit wasting our time.

Globally, the Oil and Gas Extraction processes are among our failures as a human race; when it comes to caring for each other (case and point Nigeria’s Oil field) and the way we have cared for our environment. What Shale gas exploration did has been phenomenon in drawing out the complexity of the industry varying levels of accountability on global scale. Now that the industry is knocking on our door, we come face to face with our consumerism and the cost that others have borne as a result of it. While we argue, community or monologue, we still continue to use fossil fuels at an alarming rate, we need to own up to our responsibility on a global scale. Let us work together to continue making the processes transparent.

Whether we like or not, environmentalist activists have become the type of people they detested; their own worst enemy, the day they adopted the “our way or the high way” attitude.

Thanks for reading,

A disgruntled environmental activist (I refuse to use my name because I do not want to be harassed or eco-bullied)Please bookmark!

Dem. Rep to Woman Who Hung Up on Him: “I feel like smacking her around”

Wisconsin Democrat State Representative Fred Clark is running in a recall election against Republican Luther Olsen.  Certainly, he must be aware that, in a down year for Democrats, the race will be difficult.  However, he apparently has no idea what an answering machine is.

In a campaign call, Clark talked to a woman named Sue Stapleton.  As happens often with answering machines, Ms. Stapleton picked up the phone on the last ring, causing the device to record.  Displeased with Mr. Clark, she hung up on him mid-conversation.  Realizing that she had hung up, Clark did not do the same.  Instead, he angrily said:

“Ok. I feel like calling her back and smacking her around.”

The full transcript reads:

[Answering machine picks up the call, then Sue Stapelman picks up phone]

SS: “Yes?”

FC: “Hi, this, uh, Ms. Stapelton?"

SS: “Yes it is.”

FC: “Hi, this is Representative Fred Clark.”

SS: “Ok.”

FC: “Yes, I just want to give you and John a call again tonight. You may know I’m running against Luther Olsen here in the recall election in the 14th Senate District.”

SS: “Yeah, isn’t that a crime.” [hangs up]
[Answering machine still recording]

FC: “Ok. I feel like calling her back and smacking her around.”
Rep. Clark
Republicans in Wisconsin have made quick political hay of the conversation.

Director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, John Hogan, stated, "This disturbing and inappropriate comment gives us an unfortunate glimpse of what Representative Clark is like when he thinks no one is listening. Domestic violence is a devastating problem in our state , and abuse is on the rise. To be able to so freely threaten violence against a woman, even in jest, shows a tremendous lack of character.

“Coupled with his record of killing jobs and increasing spending, the mounting evidence of Fred Clark’s recklessness and lack of common sense will be flatly rejected by voters at the polls this summer.”

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Republican Debate Video in New Hampshire, 6/14/2011

Below is a clip of the highlights of the debate last night:

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The Petraeus Pursuit

General Petraeus has long been the individual that millions of common sense and national defense oriented Conservative Republicans have hoped would be the party's political savior from our lackluster field of GOP candidates, such as General Dwight Eisenhower was in 1952 when he saved us from Thomas Dewey.

I have been among the aforementioned, because the good General would easily defeat President Obama in next year's election and would restore confidence in Americans that our best days are still ahead of us. Our dreams of Petraeus 2012 have been ruined time and time again, however, - and all by the General himself.

His devotion to serving the country, regardless of who the President is, forbids him from challenging the man sitting in the White House - even if he wanted to. Which is just another reason why we need him in the White House.

Most would shout to me from the rooftops that I should find another candidate to support, but I really don't want to. Tim Pawlenty is my current favorite, but he is no General Petraeus - the man responsible for not one, but two successful military surges in our ongoing War on Terror.

So, short of heading to New Hampshire and attempting to gain write-in votes for Petraeus myself, what am I to do?

Any thoughts?

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Hampshire Debate Review

I just finished watching the two hour long Republican debate on CNN and I have the following thoughts.

On Michele Bachmann: Announcing her 2012 campaign with millions of voters watching was political gold, but there are only so many times you can mention your 23 foster children.

On Herman Cain: He once again deferred on serious foreign policy issues to unknown "experts" and he trumped business experience every chance he got, which is understandable.

On Newt Gingrich: The former Speaker resurrected his campaign tonight, but his answers were confusing on space exploration and immigration.

On Tim Pawlenty: He spoke clearly in favor of supporting our War on Terror and continued exploration in space, but once again came off as boring.

On Ron Paul: He brought up the "military industrial complex" a couple of times and said our presence in the Middle East has done nothing for our security. Has he heard of Osama bin Laden's death or Saddam's overthrow?

On Mitt Romney: He performed the best tonight by successfully filling the role of front runner and his answer on Romneycare was rooted in federalism.

On Rick Santorum: He proudly stood for traditional marriage, life, the War on Terror, DADT and repealing all ethanol subsidies.

Any thoughts?

Goodyear Blimp Crashes in Germany, Heroic Pilot Saves Three Before Dying

Tragedy and bittersweet heroics combined to make one gripping story:
An airship pilot died Sunday when the dual engines on his Goodyear airship burst into flames during a landing in Germany, Spiegel reported.

The airship’s three passengers managed to escape because the pilot, Mike Narandzic, urged them to jump out of the cabin when it was less than 7 feet off the ground, the paper reported. But after the passengers leaped to safety, the airship was soon engulfed in flames and soared to 150 feet due to the loss of weight in the cabin.

There is speculation that the airship’s propellers may have hit the ground too hard during the landing. Der Spiegel also cited media reports that indicated there had been a smell of fuel aboard the airship during the trip.

"We could also hear the cries of the doomed pilot as the fire surrounded him," one eyewitness said, according to the Daily Mail. "It was terrible."

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S. Korea: North Likely Minaiturized Nuclear Warhead

Having a nuclear weapon is an advantage of any nation, especially those acting on the bad side of major powers like the United States. While North Korea has been nuclear-capable for over a decade, it appears that the dictatorship has made a major advance in its development. The miniaturization of a nuclear warhead would allow the DPRK to place such a weapon on a ballistic missile-- which they have tested at the range of around 5,000 miles.
 This is coming from South Korea, which has been monitoring the situation tensely.

"It has been quite a while, enough time for them to have succeeded in miniaturization," he told a parliamentary defense committee.

If true, it would mark a key advance in the North's drive to develop a functioning nuclear weapon though that threat appears to be potential rather than actual.

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US Stops N. Korean Missile-Technology Ship Headed for Burma

Burma is a rogue state that has not received much attention on the world stage. The military dictatorship has at least polite ties with both the People's Republic of China and India and has largely stayed to itself, even while oppressing its own population. However, there has been more talk of the mineral-rich nation (called Myanmar by its leading junta) building a nuclear program with the help of North Korea.

Now we see that the relationship goes even deeper. Two weeks ago the United States turned back a North Korean vessel apparently carrying missile technology going to Burma.

Gary Samore, special assistant to President Barack Obama on weapons of mass destruction, told South Korean media that the ship may have been bound for Burma carrying small arms or missile-related items.

North Korea is subject to United Nations sanctions designed to curb its missile and nuclear programmes.

Of course, the North will deny sending anything but toys and medicine but this is just another provocation made by the North.

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Video- DNC Chair: Obama "Turned this Economy Around"

Your dose of stupidity for the day:

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Mavs Beat Heat

Suck it, Lebron:

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Great: US gives Netanyahu Ultimatum on Resuming Talks

Dear Lord, Obama has absolutely no idea what he is doing:
The United States gave Netanyahu an ultimatum on renewing negotiations with the Palestinians, according to reports cited by Israel Radio Sunday morning.

According to the ultimatum, Netanyahu has to decide within a month whether he agrees to accept US President Barack Obama's platform and resume talks based on 1967 lines.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu was expected to travel to Italy on Sunday where he will meet his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Erdogan Falls Short of Super Majority

Prime Minister Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (ADP) might have increased their vote share slightly in yesterday's election, but his party lost fifteen seats overall and their ability to rewrite Turkey's constitution without bipartisan support.

Excellent news.

2011-2015 Meclis Proportion:

AKP - 326
CHP - 135
MHP - 53
INDP - 36

The secularist Republican People's Party (CHP) gained twenty-three seats and maintained their status as the head opposition in Meclis, while the Independents (mostly Kurds from South Eastern Turkey) gained nine more seats and a decent share of power.

We still have a long way to go before Turkey returns to their secularist, western roots, but at least their recent downfall can now be blocked by our allies within.

What say you?

2011 Turkey Election Results


The final 2011 Turkey Election Results

--Original Article--

I do not have the actual number of seats won yet, but Prime Minister Erdogan's AK Party will definitely remain in complete control for the next four years. The AKP is leading in all but fifteen Provinces with nearly 100% of the vote counted.

Over fourty-two million Turks voted today, or almost 85% of all eligible voters.

National Results:

AKP - 50.05%
CHP - 25.95%
MHP - 13.04%
BGMZ - 6.54%

The securalist opposition (CHP) actually gained five percent of the vote since 2007, but the AKP gained almost four percent, and the Kurdish Independents (BGMZ) gained one percent. The nationalists (MHP) might have reached their electoral height in July 2007, because they lost more than one percent today.

This isn't good news for the future of Turkey.

Stay tuned for more Pundit Press coverage.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI): Obama 'Phoning in' on Debt

Senator Ron Johnson on Fox:

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New Weiner Pictures Emerge

As if things couldn't get any worse for New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. Apparently Weiner had sent out more pictures and now they've emerged on the internet. TMZ has the pictures.


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"America's Fading Exceptionalism"

US News and World Report editor and owner of the New York Daily News Mort Zuckerman has a good piece about how the United States is losing its exceptional status in the world. Unfortunately, Zuckerman endorsed Obama in 2008 and appears to regret it:

The economic rise in the Asian heartland may well be the central geopolitical fact of our era. News stories increasingly compare America to China and its advantage, but it is not just the shifting of economic power away from the United States. It is a sense we have mismanaged our leadership, unaware of Earth tremors. Our response to the upheaval in the Arab world was muddled, so that now there is the prospect that Egypt might well be dominated by radical Islamists hostile to our ideals and our interests while our longtime ally Saudi Arabia is deeply alienated from the United States. We may yet see what has happened in the Middle East as one of the great strategic defeats in the history of U.S. foreign policy, comparable to the conversion of China to communism.

At home, we face an unprecedented decline in family cohesion, with about one third of American children being raised by a single parent, a condition that often has deleterious effects on their academic achievements, social skills, and even character formation. Nationally, our public education system struggles to overcome the consequences—and fails. We have too many teachers who are unable to meet the challenges.

More here.

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Hugo Chavez Undergoes Unscheduled Surgery in Havana Updated and Bumped

Update: Noticed a link on Instapundit this morning a blog called The Devil's Excrement. In a post from May 29 he noted that Hugo Chavez had gone virtually silent. Unusual for a fellow who loves the sound of his own voice.

For two to three weeks, the most loquacious President in the planet has been silent. But for his daily 140 character message in the novel medium called Twitter, whose authorship can not even be confirmed, there has been total silence from the All Mighty, even when given a brilliant chance to blast the big, bad enemy.

The cause of all this? The big guy has a knee ailment…

But nobody says anything. The press is quiet. TV? Not even you know who mentions it. We don’t seem to have the right to know. It appears we could go until January 2013 without seeing the guy and reading tweets from him explaining how bad that pain is. So bad, that he can’t even sit on a chair in front of a desk, like he usually does any way, to let his mouth go.

Yesterday, June 10 in the post "Hugo Chavez' Health Becomes More Mysterious as he Undergoes Emergency Operation in Cuba",he seems to be coming to much the same conclusion I am, there is something amiss here.

Hugo Chavez underwent surgery on Friday to drain and clean out a pelvic abscess. This is a pretty unusual condition to occur spontaneously. Particularly in an otherwise healthy 56 year old man. Usually they are seen as a result of a ruptured appendix, previous surgery, or PID. It is said that the surgery was "satisfactory" and he is recovering in Havana, Cuba with his family and doctors by his side.

It is reported that Chavez suffered a knee injury a short time ago and has been recovering after postponing this trip to Brazil, Ecuador and Cuba. I don't know anything about this case in particular, but I were a betting man, I would place money that the knee and pelvis are related. Likely the joint became septic and bacteria seeded an area in the pelvis which didn't get cleared by a first round of antibiotics. Just an educated guess.

Fausta's Blog wonders:

His disappearance from the public eye, during his knee injury, fueled speculation in Venezuelan opposition and media circles that he may have a worse medical problem, and the operation in Cuba is bound to spur more rumors.

I wonder about that too.

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East African Al Qaeda Head Fazul Abdullah Muhammad Sent to Hell

Another blow to al Qaeda comes just over a month after the death of Osama bin Laden:
The al-Qaida mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was killed this week at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu by Somali forces who didn’t immediately realize he was the most wanted man in East Africa, officials said Saturday.

The death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed - a man who topped the FBI’s most wanted list for nearly 13 years - is the third major strike in six weeks against the worldwide terror group that was headed by Osama bin Laden until his death last month.

Mohammed had a $5 million bounty on his head for planning the Aug. 7, 1998, embassy bombings. The blasts killed 224 people in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Most of the dead were Kenyans. Twelve Americans also died.
His days of terrorism are over
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weiner Leave of Absence Requested

Disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner has requested a leave of absence to get 'treatment':
Before Saturday's developments, at least nine House members and three senators said Weiner should resign.

He has repeatedly said he would not.

Weiner told reporters earlier Saturday in his neighbor that "I have to redeem myself and I am going to try to get back to work," Weiner said.

Weiner said his conduct involved "personal failings" and that he would try not to let them get in the way of his "professional work."

From FoxNews.

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BREAKING: Pelosi, DNC Call on Weiner to Resign

Something I didn't expect-- Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, have both called on New York Congressman Anthony Weiner to resign.
New York (CNN) - The head of the Democratic National Committee is calling for the resignation of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who has been under fire after admitting to inappropriate communications with women online.

"It is with great disappointment that I call on Representative Anthony Weiner to resign," DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Saturday. "The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner's continued service in Congress is untenable.

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Al-Qaida's East African Chief Killed

HT: Ynetnews

More great news in America's ongoing War on Terrorism.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammad, who was responsible for terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania, was killed earlier this week by Somalian forces in Mogadishu. He was the presumed head of al-Qaida in East Africa and the United States had a $5 million bounty on his head.

We've long sought him for his involvement in the 1998 United States embassy bombings, which resulted in the deaths of twelve American citizens, including two CIA agents. The deadly attacks made Americans aware of the real Jihadist threat that faced us for the first time.

Although we didn't completely understand the threat until September 2001.

I'm very hopeful that Fazul Mohammad's death will help Somalian and African Union troops gain the upper hand in their fight against the Somalian affiliate of al-Qaida.

What say you?

Oh, Thank God: Rangel Jumps to Defend Weiner

Corrupt politician Charles Rangel has thrown his opinion into Weinergate.  Phew!  I guess we can all go home now.  Rangel always tells the truth, right?  Right?

So, why does Rangel defend Weiner. Well, he says, "I don't know what he did, who he offended. I know one thing: He wasn't going with prostitutes. He wasn't going out with little boys. He wasn't going into the men's room with broad stances."
'Sending nude pix to random people and minors? Is he a Democrat? Yes? I fully support him.'
So, just because he's unethical and might have sent sexual advances to a minor, Weiner's A-OK in Rangel's book.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

The Week in Hydrofracking

It's been a busy week. Working nights is a bear and leaves little time for much else. I hate it. Work all night, try to spend some time with the family in the morning and evening, sleep during the day and back to work at night. I shouldn't complain too much as it only accounts for about 6 weeks out of the year, but still, switching from day to night to day is a difficult endeavor. I am realizing that I am not the idealistic intern/resident I used to be.

Regardless, life marches on.

It has been a good week for those supporting hydraulic fracturing in New York state, in spite of the Assembly voting to continue the moratorium for the next 12 months. I would like to draw your attention to three developments that I think are quite important as we move forward.

First, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research released a report entitled "The Economic Opportunities of Shale Gas Development". The report highlights some incredible numbers highlighting the economic benefits that would take place if the renewed moratorium on drilling were lifted. You really have to read it to believe it. You will be left wondering, as I am, "What the hell is wrong with New York".

From the Executive Summary:
Directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing have unlocked vast new reserves of natural gas in the United States. Development of these resources is now well under way in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Unlike their neighbors to the south, however, New York residents are not directly benefiting from natural gas development as the result of a government-imposed moratorium, itself a response to environmental concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing. This study analyzes the economic and environmental impacts of shale gas drilling in New York and finds the net economic benefits to be significantly positive. Specifically:
  • An end to the moratorium would spur over $11.4 billion in economic output.
  • Some 15,000 to 18,000 jobs could be created in the Southern Tier and Western New York, regions which lost a combined 48,000 payroll jobs between 2000 and 2010.*
  • Another 75,000 to 90,000 jobs could be created if the area of exploration and drilling were expanded to include the Utica shale and southeastern New York, including the New York City watershed. (This assumes a regulatory regime that protects the water supply but permits drilling to continue.)
  • Localities and the state stand to reap $1.4 billion in tax revenues if the moratorium is allowed to expire.
  • This study also reviews the public records of environmental violations reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection over the period 2008–10. It then quantifies the impact of these violations on land, water, and air resources. The costs of these environmental impacts are then estimated on the basis of the value of the environmental amenities at stake. Our main finding is that the cost of these environmental impacts is far smaller than the economic benefits that drilling can provide.
    • The typical Marcellus shale gas well generates about $4 million in economic benefits.
    • The economic damage resulting from the environmental impacts of a typical shale gas well comes to $14,000.
    • Got that, $11.4 billion in economic output, 100,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in tax revenue. More to the point that's $4 million in economic benefits per well for every $14,00o dollars in environmental impact. Seems like a no brainer to me, but perhaps that is because I have a brain. You can decide that, I suppose, but it seems like a boon for the NY State budget.

      Secondly, there seems to be a building dissension in the ranks of hydrofracking opponents. The opposition could be divided in the true believers, that is no carbon source for energy at all, and those who see fracking as an opportunity for growth requiring sufficient regulation and monitoring to ensure safety.

      Last week there was a rally in Harrisburg Pennsylvania organized by the anti-fracking crowd with Josh Fox as the headline speaker. They were only able to muster 200-300 protesters, which is a testament in itself about the diminishing influence of these naysayers. As an aside, I have recently noticed there are more for sale signs in front of homes that "no drill/no spill" signs. Regardless, a notable absence in the crowd was that of Penn Future, "Pennsylvania's leading environmental advocacy group" according the the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Northeast Marcellus Initiative has the details:
      This rally has shown that, at least on one issue, we stand in agreement. Seems both of us want to see natural gas developed safely in Pennsylvania. We, and PennFuture, both want to embrace the economic benefits the Marcellus Shale brings while protecting the environment in which we live. And like us, PennFuture is opposed to a moratorium that would bring to an end the one industry in our state that’s actually creating jobs. Because of this, PennFuture did not attend the anti-fracturing rally in Harrisburg on Tuesday.

      Of course, the dirty little truth here is that the radical anti’s don’ t exactly have the best interests of the people or environment of Pennsylvania or New York at heart. And as you’d expect, some of them have some pretty wacky ideas on a whole host of other things that have nothing to do with natural gas development. Take Mark Ruffalo, for instance. Sure, he’s dreamy. And from what I can gather, he seems to be a pretty good actor. Mark wants to see hydraulic fracturing banned. Of course, he also believes that9/11 was an inside job. And if there were any remaining doubts over this man’s judgment, the fact that he would pose for this picture, I think, should eliminate those once and for all.

      As I noted, the one and only Josh Fox was the featured speaker. What a piece of work this fellow is. He attempts to make the argument that those opposing hydrofracking are in some way on par with the Freedom Riders of the 1960's and the women's suffrage movement . I would like to comment here that it is the anti-fracking crowd that is seeking to impose the will of the minority on the wishes of the majority. Pennsylvania has seen an employment and economic boom the likes of which only Texas can appreciate. By seeking a ban on this economic benefit they are castigating the less affluent to continued unemployment and loss of economic opportunity. As I have noted in other posts, "much of the opposition in places like Pennsylvania comes from the weekend residents or drop ins who choose to act like organic goatherd/ peasants compared to the local permanent population who have never had an option but to live like peasants."

      Finally, the notion of energy independence, or at least a bridge to the future is gaining a foothold within the mainstream media. Is spite of all the negative publicity the truth is coming out and is being distributed.

      A USA Today editorial cuts to the meat of the matter:
      "Little more than a decade ago, the United States was running so low on natural gas that companies were making plans to cover the shortfall with imports of liquefied natural gas. Today, though, the marine terminals built to dock huge LNG ships in Texas, Louisiana and Maryland are being converted to ship gas out, not just bring it in."
      The New York DEP updated SGEIS is due out by July 1st. The New York economy is held in the balance.

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      Police Investigating Message Weiner Sent to Minor

      So, for those on the left that have defended what Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner has done (sending explicit photos and messages to a myriad of women), they scream that he didn't break the law.  Their logic is:  sure, it was unethical, but since he didn't do anything illegal, he should stay in office.

      Now it is time for them to shut up.

      Delaware police are now investigating messages Weiner sent to a 17-year-old minor.  She is a High School Junior and, apparently, police are looking for "other young women who may be involved."  The girl's name has been withheld because of her age.
      Weiner: Messaged minor
      On how she was doing with the added attention, the young lady stated, "I'm doing OK."

      On the bright side, Weiner stated that communication with the girl was "neither explicit nor indecent."  Well, it's not like he's ever lied to us before, right?

      It's time for you to go, Mr. Weiner.

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      Russell Crowe is Stupid

      I really, really like Russell Crowe as an actor.  Gladiator is an excellent movie and so is Cinderella Man.  But seriously:
      Annoyingly, these original posts were deleted.  But seriously, "babies are perfect?"  The whole circumcision thing aside (why was he talking about it again?), sometimes babies need a medical procedure done to them.  Some have holes in their heart, some need breathing-tubes.  I myself had to be placed in an incubator.

      Stick to movies, Mr. Crowe, and we'll all be happier.

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      College Bans National Anthem at Sporting Events

      It's come to this:
      Fifteen months after Goshen College began allowing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to be played at sporting events, the institution’s board of directors has suspended the practice in response to complaints from students, faculty members, and alumni. The board of the Mennonite liberal-arts college has asked its president to come up with a song “that fits with sports tradition, that honors country, and that resonates with Goshen College’s core values and respects the views of diverse constituencies,” according to a press release.

      The Indiana college, which has a strong pacifist tradition, allowed the national anthem to be played at games starting last March in an effort to be more welcoming to opposing teams. But the decision sparked resistance from some who believe the hymn glorifies war and distracts from the college’s Christian values.

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      Daily Caller: Rick Perry Running for President

      Okay-- I know that there's been a lot of speculation surrounding Texas Governor Rick Perry-- the longest-serving current US governor. It now appears that his denials about running several months ago became 'maybe' and now that he is preparing an actual bid.

      Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller is reporting that several sources have told him that Perry is in the running. There were rumors that Perry was waiting for the Texas Legislature session to be over before making any decision. The Governor of Texas since 2000, Perry succeeded George W. Bush when he was elected to the White House.

      Perry has made no overt signs that he is running. He stated that being Governor of the second-largest state in the country was 'the greatest job in the world.' However, the defections from Newt Gingrich's imploded campaign may work for him. Some of Gingrich's top advisors have previously worked with Perry and appear ready to do so again.

      Dave Carney and Rob Johnson — the former top Perry aides who on Thursday left Newt Gingrich’s floundering campaign — are said to be heading to Texas soon to join in on preparations for the run. I am told this is now “ninety percent likely to occur.” Additionally, Perry allies have begun holding meetings in the state and have been instructed to
      quietly reach out to contacts in early primary states.

      The stars may have finally aligned for Perry, who, until recently, said he had no intentions of seeking the nomination. With no clear front runner emerging, and with Gingrich’s campaign dissolving, Perry could enter the field as a top-tier candidate, surrounded by the same team that helped him defeat Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison last year in the Texas gubernatorial primary. And because Texas leads the nation in job creation, the recent national economic numbers provide an instant rationale for his candidacy.
      It's not clear what Perry's game will be. He definitely has the years to claim experience but it's not clear if he will run as a staunch conservative or be sympathetic to new laws regarding illegal immigrants. It's also not clear how his entry will change the race.

      This could be big....

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      100,000 March in Yemen

      Largest protest since Saleh's departure

      In another twist to the ongoing situation in Yemen, over 100,000 protesters have marched in the capital city of Sa'ana today-- making a major impact on the country's psyche. This also comes as tribes and al Qaeda affiliates are attempting to seize different parts of the country and the US has been targeting terrorists in the nation.

      In Sanaa's Taghyeer, or "Change," Square on Friday, the crowds of protesters demanded that the vice president — who is acting leader in Saleh's absence — allow the creation of a new government. "The people want a transitional government," they chanted.

      Opposition tribesmen marched through the square with the bodies of 41 of their fighters they say were killed a week ago when troops bombarded the Sanaa home of one of their leaders. The tribe's chief, Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, led a march of around 10,000 people from the square to a cemetery in the capital, as protesters chanted, "The people want the butcher put on trial," referring to Saleh.

      There was apparently also a pro-Saleh protest that had several thousand in it. The government is hinting that Saleh could return soon-- but considering reports of him seriously injured, there are real doubts.

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      Shocker: Dow Drops Below 12,000 with Losses

      The Dow Jones Industrial Index has fallen again-- for the sixth straight week. The combination of worsening credit, slumping GDP and property growth, and high commodity prices appear to be damaging the wider economy.

      Now the Dow has fallen significantly today-- over 1%, below 12,000. This also comes as the index has already fallen by hundreds of points. The S&P and NASDAQ has also fallen over 1%.
      In response, oil and gold fell and the dollar appears mixed:
      Financial stocks led the way lower. Insurer Travelers fell 2.6% to lead the blue-chip Dow's decliners as the company said it was slowing its share-buyback program after natural disasters cost it about $1 billion over two months. Energy stocks were also weak amid reports that Saudi Arabia would increase oil output, driving crude oil sharply lower, near $99 a barrel.

      The stock market is feeling the pain-- and the end of QE2 and other artificial shifts created by the Fed are going to hurt the situation and cause Obama to talk more about stimulus, as advisors suggested yesterday.

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      Positively Negative

      The Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media constantly trumpets the claim that President Obama was a Professor of Constitutional Law.  And when he was campaigning he charged that President Bush was not respecting the Constitution when he fired eight prosecutors saying, “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.”
      In this long over looked quote from a radio interview a Pre-President Obama laments the negative liberties he sees as a flaw in the Constitution and waxes eloquent in defense of the redistribution of wealth and the positive power of an intrusive welfare state.
      “If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the
      Warren Court
      , it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and
      Warren Court
      interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”
      Unfortunately for this radical interpretation, liberty is a negative.  Personal liberty is always and only possible when and where external control stops.  We have the liberty to think as we wish because no one can control or even know our true inner thoughts.  We do not have the liberty to steal; society has placed limits on that action which are enforced by external control.  The Framers of our Constitution knew this which explains why our foundational document includes restrictions on the power of government not restrictions on individuals.  Unless governmental control over the individual was limited there would be no liberty.
      This has been common knowledge in our Republic since John Hancock signed his John Hancock and we declared to the world that the United States of America was going to be something different.  We were determined to break free of the entangling state control stifling the monarchies of Europe.  We would be a new type of nation where individual liberty, opportunity, and free enterprise would unleash the pent-up creativity and ingenuity would make real the genius of a free people.  However, over the years many have fallen asleep, lulled into a trance by the prosperity and security this freedom from state control has fostered. 
      Slowly the knowledge of what gave vent to this prosperity and security has been lost and generations of Americans have been taught by state schools that free enterprise is evil and state paternalism is good.  Generations have been bred to see governmental support, direction, and control as necessary and proper.  They have ingested the poison of dependence metastasizing the debilitating life on the dole to the point where they see their continued receipt of stolen goods as an entitlement.  So many have fallen for the licentious materialistic hedonism masquerading as life in a post-modern America that when asked, “What is the American Dream?” many will reply “To own your own home.”  A response and a belief which made the congressionally mandated Fannie/Freddie induced housing bubble possible if not inevitable. 
      This shows the negative results of the positive reinforcement of materialism over intellectualism.  The correct response to the question, “What is the American Dream?” is Individual liberty and opportunity. Once this was common knowledge among an engaged American public who realized that no one fought and died to own a home, people owned homes in America before the revolution.  It was freedom that was the object of the Revolution and it is the individual liberty and opportunity that freedom enables that is the American dream.  And today in America this individual liberty and opportunity has now become the object of ridicule in schools pushing a green agenda and a socialist future.  The demand for a return to individual liberty and opportunity has become the disparaged slogan on signs at Tea Parties.
      Our leaders have embraced instead the idea of “Positive Liberty” which is an oxymoron.  By this they mean that the state should actively intervene in the lives of people to provide them with all that is necessary for lives lived as the leaders think they should be.  What they are really New Speaking of is Socialism disguised as democracy.  However, the increase of governmental power over people does not equate to liberty it equates to serfdom and only the progressive newspeak of a post-modern America could call this decrease of freedom an increase of liberty or democracy.
      Alexis de Tocqueville said, “Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

      This positive liberty is the handmaiden of the other new positive that our progressive leaders wish to foist upon us: positive equality.  The real equality, the one our ancestors fought and died for is equality of opportunity which is a negative, forcing the government stays out of the way and the people go as far as their investment of time, talent and treasure can take them.  In our new progressive world government is supposed to act to create an equality of outcome so that all are equal all the time.  This type of collective equality is to be advanced and protected by the all powerful state pushing down some, lifting others until all are equal at all times.  This equality of outcome becomes an unlimited reality that is conceived of as the goal of society.  Unfettered democracy defined as the participation of all in the political process either as rulers, dispensers or consumers becomes not only the goal but the means and the end in and of itself.
      Thus our Constitutional Scholar-in-Chief is leading us step by step away from the individual liberty and opportunity that are the guardians of the American Dream and into a negative representation of our positive values.  With another four years this administration will succeed in fundamentally transforming America. 
      One last quote from Alexis de Tocqueville "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."
      PS: Don’t take the bribe.
      Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

      Obama Betrays Great Britain on Falkland Islands

      HT: Nile Gardiner

      President Barack Obama joined forces with Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez, Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner and the unanimous Organization of American States in "reaffirming the need" of Argentina and Britain to resume negotiations on the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands.

      I'm sorry - the Falkland Islands.

      What the hell is wrong with Obama?

      Not only did he side against our most important ally in the entire world over territorial claims that were settled almost three decades ago, but he called the islands by their Argentinian name - instead of their accepted British title.

      Great Britain lost 258 soldiers' during the Falklands War, which was launched by the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands, in order to maintain their self-determining South Atlantic territory that has been in their legal possession for almost two hundred years by conquest and consent.

      President Obama has once again insulted our British friends, but this time it isn't over returning Churchill's bust or sending their Prime Minister DVD's that don't work - it is over Britain's sovereign territory that they have 100% claim to and it is over Stanley's right to self determination.

      America must remove this menace from office next year, or else our friendship with Britain could be impossible to repair.

      What say you?

      Thursday, June 09, 2011

      Clinton interested in becoming head of World Bank

      Mrs Clinton, the former First Lady, Senator for New York and rival to Mr Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary race, is said to be eager to become the first female president of the World Bank should the post become vacant next year.

      "Hillary Clinton wants the job," a source close to Mrs Clinton told Reuters, which broke the news of the possible move.

      Robert Zoellick, a former Bush administration official, is believed to be ready to step down as president at the end of his term in the middle of next year.

      Mrs Clinton has made clear she does not want to remain US Secretary of State, a gruelling job demanding months of world travel each year, beyond Mr Obama's first term.

      Another source told Reuters that Mr Obama supported her taking the helm at the World Bank, which is traditionally led by an American.

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      Gingrich Aides, Advisors Resign En Masse

      Not looking good for Newt Gingrich:
      The entire top echelon of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign resigned on Thursday, a stunning mass exodus that left his bid for the Republican nomination in tatters. Gingrich publicly shrugged off the defections, vowing defiantly to remain a candidate.

      "I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring," the former House speaker said in a posting to his Facebook page. "The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles."

      Rick Tyler, Gingrich's spokesman, said that he, campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior strategists had all quit, along with aides in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

      Other officials said Gingrich was informed that his entire high command was quitting in a meeting at his headquarters in Washington. They cited differences over the direction of the campaign.

      "We had a different vision for victory," Tyler told The Associated Press. "And since we couldn't resolve that difference, I didn't feel I could be useful in serving him."
      Mr. Gingrich
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      Clinton: Qaddafi Preparing Exit

      This is most likely just speculation taken too seriously but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has apparently found out what could be very valuable information. According to her, members of Qaddafi's government are looking into the dictator's exit-- and have been likely directed by him personally  to do so.
      I have no doubt that members of the Libyan government want Qaddafi to leave but I'm not so sure about he himself.
      Speaking to reporters after an international conference on Libya in the United Arab Emirates, Clinton said proposals from "people close to Gadhafi" presented to unspecified countries included the "potential for a transition."

      But she said she could not predict if they would be accepted. She did, however, stress that she believed Gadhafi's decades-long rule is nearing an end.
      Color me doubtful but Qaddafi's only way out of the dictatorship will be in a body bag.

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      College Bans National Anthem at Sports

      There are times when people go too far, and this is one. Goshen College, a mainly Mennonite liberal arts college, is looking to replace the song. The college is fighting back against rumors that it has 'banned' the anthem, but it sure looks that way.
      Fifteen months after Goshen College began allowing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to be played at sporting events, the institution’s board of directors has suspended the practice in response to complaints from students, faculty members, and alumni. The board of the Mennonite liberal-arts college has asked its president to come up with a song “that fits with sports tradition, that honors country, and that resonates with Goshen College’s core values and respects the views of diverse constituencies,” according to a press release. The Indiana college, which has a strong pacifist tradition, allowed the national anthem to be played at games starting last March in an effort to be more welcoming to opposing teams. But the decision sparked resistance from some who believe the hymn glorifies war and distracts from the college’s Christian values.
      Half surprised it wasn't a left-wing school on the Pacific Coast.

      Hat tip to HotAir.

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      Breaking: Obama Gives Speech From Notes, No Teleprompter in Sight!

      It looks like preacher Harold Camping was off by about three weeks:  the end of the world may very well be at hand, as President Barack Obama gave a speech completely from his notes.  That's right, no teleprompter!

      At a speech at Northern Virginia Community College, the President spoke in front of a group of students, no TOTUS in sight.  Even more shocking: he had words written down on paper!

      Almost as shocking was the absence of a prompter during Mr. Obama's meetings with Angela Merkel.

      The President has heavily relied on teleprompters for almost every single speech of his Presidency, including one to a sixth grade classroom:
      Could this new strategy of writing down notes and reading them, instead of reciting words off of a pane of glass, actually stick?  Only time will tell.

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      HT PO

      Go Figure: Jobless Claims Rise "Unexpectedly"

      Sigh.  How many freaking times does something have to happen until it becomes expected for the MSM?  I think I know the answer: when a Republican is President.



      In the week ending June 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 427,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 426,000. The 4-week moving average was 424,000, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 426,750.

      The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending May 28, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3.0 percent.

      The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 28 was 3,676,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,747,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,719,250, a decrease of 29,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,748,250.

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      Open Thread: Non-Terrible Democrats

      Okay-- for our several regular readers, I'd like to open this thread. Can you think of any Democrats at the national level (House, Senate, Governor) that are still active in politics that you do not consider a terrible public servant?

      I know it may seem like a stretch but out of a population of 300 million in this country, there must be one Democrat that isn't insane, dumb, or corrupt (and is still alive).

      Let me start off a list with a few remaining Democrats with some sense:

      - Joe Lieberman, CT
      - Tim Johnson, SD
      - Andrew Cuomo, NY
      - Dan Boren, OK

      Help me out if you can think of any by listing them in the comments.

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      Weiner has no plans to resign, "Dug In"

      Morality can go screw itself, apparently:
      Despite mounting calls from even some fellow Democrats for him to resign, Rep. Anthony Weiner has told colleagues he has no plans to do so, a Democratic source told CNN Thursday.

      Weiner told a House Democratic colleague from New York on Wednesday afternoon that he does intend to step down, the source familiar with the conversation said.

      Weiner also said his wife, Huma Abedin, wants him to stay in Congress, and he cited polling data showing a majority of New York City voters want him to remain in office, the source said, describing Weiner as "dug in."

      The source spoke on the condition that the name of the Democratic New York lawmaker not be made public because it was a private conversation.

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