Monday, January 31, 2011

On Egypt, look at what they do, don't listen to what they say

What do Western governments and industry think of the Egyptian revolutionaries?
Foreign governments stepped up their warnings Sunday about travel to Egypt, with several urging their citizens to evacuate as soon as possible amid uncertainty over where the Arab nation is headed after nearly a week of mass protests.

The fears of foreign tourists mirrored those of many Egyptians. Dozens with the means to do so rented jets or hopped aboard their own planes in a mad dash that did little to boost confidence in the future of a country long viewed as a pillar of stability in a restive region. Those leaving included businessmen and celebrities.

The United States, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey and the Netherlands issued advisories encouraging nationals already in Egypt to leave and telling those who planned trips there to reconsider. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo said it was making arrangements to transport Americans who want to leave to "safehaven locations in Europe." Flights would begin Monday.

If they thought the new Egyptian government would be peaceful and democratic, they wouldn't be having everyone leave.

Islamic Egypt

A coalition of opposition groups called for a million people to take to Cairo's streets Tuesday to ratchet up pressure for President Hosni Mubarak to leave.

American and other world leaders were also ramping up pressure for an orderly transition to a democratic system.

The coalition of groups, dominated by youth movements but including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, said it wants the march from Tahrir, or Liberation Square, to force Mubarak to step down by Friday.

Make no mistake - - the leaders of the opposition are the Muslim Brotherhood.

Within the year, Egypt will most likely be an Islamic state.

Not a good sign for Bill Nelson

Republicans are bracing for a tough 2012 U.S. Senate primary pitting such political heavyweights as a former U.S. senator, a sitting Florida Senate president and the congressman son of a Republican icon. . . . Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack -- the potential field vying to pick off Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida's only statewide Democratic leader.

When numerous first tier candidates all vie for the opportunity to challenge an incumbent, it's not a good sign for the incumbent.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More "success" in Afghanistan

A suicide attacker on Saturday killed a senior Afghan official in the south of the country, a setback for U.S.-led efforts to improve governance and a demonstration of the insurgents' continuing ability to strike.

Abdul Latif Ashna, the deputy governor of the key province of Kandahar, was killed when his car was struck by a man on a motorbike packed with explosives.

Kandahar province is the subject of a major U.S.-led military push, starting last summer, which has seen thousands of international and Afghan forces pour into Kandahar city and the surrounding districts, with major success claimed in improving security there.

Kandahar is the spiritual home of the Taliban movement.

While the Taliban's visible presence and ability to mount military-style attacks has been severely curbed around Kandahar, the insurgents retain the ability to carry out targeted assassinations, striking terror into government officials and others working with international security forces.

According to the administration, our efforts in Kandahar have resulted in a "major success . . . in improving security" - - except for the suicide bombers, random explosions, targeted assassinations, and terror directed at government officials and international security forces.

GOP outreach doesn't lure Latinos?

I guess it was time for another analysis of why GOP outreach doesn't lure Latinos.
Consider that leading Republicans were vocal supporters of Arizona's controversial immigration law. GOP senators killed the Dream Act, which would have allowed undocumented students to become citizens if they served in the military or completed two years of college. This month, a group of GOP state legislators from Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina announced plans to take aim at birthright citizenship, including legislation to require separate birth certificates for children of undocumented migrants. This posturing doesn't solve our immigration mess, but it does drive Latinos from the GOP.

It's amazing that all these articles ignore the fact that most high profile Latino officeholders - - the senator from Florida, the governors of Nevada and New Mexico - - are Republican.

It's naive to support the Egyptian protesters

Thousands of people in Egypt who flooded streets in riots calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down were joined Saturday by relatives and supporters at protests in major American cities.

"Mubarak will go. If not today, then tomorrow," Magdy Al-Abady, 39, of Chicago, said during a demonstration downtown in front of the Egyptian consulate's office. The genomics researcher, with an Egyptian flag draped over his shoulders, said his brother and parents were protesting in Egypt and he was speaking often with his brother.

Protesters also gathered outside the United Nations complex in New York City, filled the street in front of the Egyptian embassy in Washington and marched through downtown San Francisco to show solidarity with the uprising.

In Chicago, picketers marched and chanted, "Hey Mubarak you will see, all Egyptians will be free." They held signs that said "Victory to the Egyptian people" and "Freedom and Justice for all Egyptians."

"All Egyptians will be free"?

You have to wonder how free Egypt's women will be after the Muslim Brotherhood takes over.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mubarak's 30-year rule

Facing the gravest challenge to his 30-year rule, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused to step down on Saturday after mobs set fire to his ruling party's headquarters and state security buildings, stormed police stations and confronted armored military vehicles in defiance of a nationwide curfew.

As a general rule, our government should realize that any dictator in power for 30 years faces imminent overthrow. This should never come as a surprise to anyone.

The problem with Obama

Obama in the state of the union address:

[I]n that speech, he said of healthcare, "So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward."

But, Obama three days later:

"You may have heard once or twice that this is a job-crushing, granny-threatening, budget-busting monstrosity," he told Families USA, a consumer-oriented healthcare group that gave him an enthusiastic reception.

"That's about how it's been portrayed by opponents. And that just doesn't match up to the reality," he said.

That's the problem with Obama - - he says one thing to general audiences (he'll agree to fix what needs to be fixed), and another to closed groups of supporters (there's nothing wrong with the healthcare bill).

Obviously, he's not telling someone the truth.

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Reform" in the middle east?

A wave of political unrest threatening Middle Eastern governments grew ominously larger Thursday as new protests shook impoverished Yemen and Egyptian authorities braced for massive anti-government demonstrations Friday.

The fresh turbulence deepened fears of a prolonged period of chaos and uncertainty in the region while raising new questions about the viability of autocratic governments that have been stalwart allies of the United States for more than a generation.

. . . While the Obama administration continued to show symbolic support for the protesters' pro-democracy aspirations, administration officials and security experts acknowledged a deepening uncertainty about how the protest movement will play out as it reshapes and possibly upends governments and entire societies from Lebanon to North Africa.

The fact is that no popular revolution in the Islamic world has ever led to the adoption of western style secular democracy.

In every instance, the result was either theocracy or autocracy.

There is no reason to believe that the results will be different this time.

More unrest in Iraq

Another major attack rocked Iraq on Thursday as a suicide car bomber targeted mourners at a crowded public funeral in Baghdad, killing 48 people and wounding 121, according to police.

Perhaps inspired by the recent protests in Tunisia and Egypt, residents then turned their outrage on Iraqi security forces at the site of the explosion, with some angry demonstrators firing guns into the air.

Four separate bombings in the morning killed five more people in various parts of Baghdad.

It was the first time that Iraq's two-week spike in violence had reached the capital, and the first inkling that the anti-government unrest sweeping the Arab world could catch hold in Iraq.

It's amazing how the reality in Iraq has no relationship at all to the rosy assessments of the administration.

People are still dieing in Iraq

As we celebrate plans to finally start withdrawing all "combat troops" (while permanently stationing 50,000 "support troops" in permanent bases in Iraq), don't forget the killing that's still going on in Iraq:

Two car bombs exploded Monday near Karbala as Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority visited the shrine city for a major religious holiday, security and medical officials said. The blasts killed at least 22 people.

The bombs went off as thousands of pilgrims marched into Karbala to mark Arbaeen, the end of the 40-day mourning period for the Shiite religious figure Imam Hussein, whose 7th century death in battle cemented Islam's Shiite-Sunni schism. It was the second major attack in the religious city since Thursday, when a pair of bombs killed 56 people and wounded 189.,0,2303004.story

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicago, Emanuel and the Daleys

The big news from Chicago was that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was thrown off the ballot for Chicago mayor because he didn't live in the city in the year before the election.

Of course, the incumbent Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley previously timed the announcement of his retirement to benefit the incumbent White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Next, Rahm Emanuel resigned as White House chief of staff to run for Mayor of Chicago. Finally, the Mayor's brother Bill Daley was appointed to replace Emanuel as the new White House chief of staff.

You would think this corrupt attempt at an insider job swap would be the big news.

Our friends, the Pakistanis

Relatives of a young Pakistani woman are suspected of electrocuting her for marrying a man against their wishes, police said.

Police official Afzal Lodhi said authorities arrested 21-year-old Saima Bibi's father and three of her uncles in a small village in eastern Pakistan.

He said police a day earlier recovered Bibi's body, which had burn marks indicating she had been electrocuted.

Lodhi said the woman eloped with another villager a month ago and got married in the southern port city of Karachi. He said the woman's relatives lured her back by falsely promising they would agree to her marriage.

We are spending billions of dollars and risking thousands of American lives to protect the lifestyle of these villagers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

There is a war in Mexico

Soldiers patrolling a rural area on the border with Texas killed 10 suspected drug gang gunmen at a training camp, Mexico's Defense Department said Saturday.

The military patrol came under attack after finding the camp of armed men in the town of Valle Hermoso, in the border state of Tamaulipas, on Friday, the department said in a statement.

The soldiers returned fire and killed 10 suspects. Soldiers also seized weaponry including 24 rifles, two grenade launchers and 18 grenades, as well as an armored vehicle, it said.

The Gulf coast state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, has seen a spike in violence since last year's split between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas, formerly a gang of enforcers and now a cartel in its own right.

In November, the federal government launched a major military offensive sending more soldiers to Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state after the area was overwhelmed by violence linked to the two gangs' turf dispute.

More than 34,600 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico in the four years since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels.

There is a war in Mexico, on the other side of our wide open border.

Our government has evidently decided to do nothing about it until it spills over onto our territory.

More mess in Haiti

With just 14 days left in his presidential term, Haitian President René Préval could find himself deemed illegitimate and his government not recognized by the international community unless runoff elections to choose his successor are announced before Feb. 7, diplomatic sources say.

In ongoing discussions within the international community Sunday, it was agreed that should Préval seek to pull the plug on the presidential elections and stay on beyond Feb. 7, some countries would request that the Organization of American States start consultations at the Permanent Council level in order to declare him illegitimate based on the Democratic Charter of the Americas.

Earthquakes. Floods. Cholera. Political instability. Inadequate reconstruction.

Haiti is a failed state, and we waste billions keeping it on life support with no end in sight.

Foreign born spies

A jury in Hawaii has convicted a former US engineer of selling military secrets to China.

Noshir Gowadia, who helped design the propulsion system for the B-2 bomber, was found guilty on multiple counts - including conspiracy and money laundering.

Indian-born Gowadia, 67, could be sentenced to life in prison.

The case is one of a series of major prosecutions targeting alleged Chinese spying in the US.

According to prosecutors, Gowadia helped China to design a stealth cruise missile.

It involved an exhaust nozzle that would evade infrared radar detection and US heat-seeking missiles.

Gowadia was accused of travelling to China between 2003 and 2005 while designing the missile.

He was said to have been paid $110,000 (£69,000) - money that was used to pay off a mortgage on a luxury home on the island of Maui.

In his defence, lawyers said it was true that Mr Gowadia had designed an exhaust nozzle for China - but that it was "basic stuff" based on unclassified information that was publicly available.

Gowadia, who was born in India, moved to the US in the 1960s and became a citizen about a decade later.

I guess it's politically incorrect to point out that certain foreign born government employees and contractors are neither patriotic nor loyal.

Cut spending, increase investment

That was Obama's state of the union message - - call spending "investment", and hope people are too dumb to figure it out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Modern-day slaves

For up to 16 hours daily, they worked at posh country clubs across South Florida, then returned to deceptively quiet houses in Boca Raton where they were captives -- and in the most dreadful cases, fed rotten chicken and vegetables, forced to drink muriatic acid and repeatedly denied medical help.

The 39 servers, lured to the United States by the cliché of a decent dollar and a promising next chapter, instead became imported modern-day slaves two continents away from their homeland. Their story repeats in plain sight most every day in South Florida: barely paid -- or unpaid -- people forced to toil in fields, work as domestics in hotels and restaurants or in the sex industry, an outsized regional problem authorities are emphasizing in January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

``This is organized crime where humans are used as products. We are talking about selling a person over and over and making large sums of money,'' says Carmen Pino, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge. ``What people need to realize is that human trafficking is happening here, it's a big problem. It could be happening in the restaurant where you eat, at your nail salon, in your neighborhood. It's not just something that happens in foreign countries.''

While difficult to pluck the numbers from a landscape of silence and fear, federal, state and local authorities know South Florida is among the nation's three top capitals of human trafficking, a $36 billion industry defined as the recruitment and harboring of a person for labor or services through force, fraud or coercion.

In other words, those of us asking for a crack down on illegal immigration and an effort to secure our borders are actually the ones fighting modern day slavers.

Searching for scandal

A tea party caucus of U.S. senators convenes Thursday for the first time, but one of the movement's biggest stars doesn't plan to be there.

The meeting -- at least for now -- is not on Sen. Marco Rubio's schedule, said spokesman Alex Burgos, who pointed out that the freshman senator had yet to make up his mind about joining any caucus.

``He's proud of his relationship with the tea party movement,'' Burgos said. ``He shares with the movement a commitment to tackling debt, defending the free enterprise system and restoring our limited government tradition. It's the same case with other causes that have been brought to our attention, he hasn't made any decision one way or the other.''

Getting Rubio, who harnessed conservative fervor to secure a come-from-way behind win, would bolster the influence of the tea party caucus, which was started by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. He calls the caucus a ``direct reaction to the demands Americans made at the polls in November.'' Paul and two other founding members will meet with movement activists to discuss ``bringing an end to our nation's deficit, and limiting the size and scope of the federal government.''

The caucus members are Rand, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who backed Rubio's fledgling Senate campaign even as the Republican party backed former Gov. Charlie Crist. They will meet in a Senate office building with leading tea party activists including Campaign for Liberty president John Tate, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist and Tea Party Express chairman Amy Kremer.

Rubio has indicated that he won't join the tea party caucus.

Tea party supporters say they don't care, as long as he votes with them on important issues.

For some reason, this non issue resulted in a front page story in which the reporter seeks to drum up scandal and division where there are none.

Palestinian democracy

A reporter tagged in a Facebook image that mocked the Palestinian president said Saturday he faces trial for insulting a public figure, raising concerns about freedom of speech in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Mamdouh Hamamreh, who works for the pro-Hamas Al-Quds TV, said security forces detained him in September, just hours after the image appeared on his Facebook feed. The picture showed President Mahmoud Abbas — a Hamas rival — standing next to an actor who plays a villain on a popular Syrian soap opera, the reporter said.

Hamamreh said he was held for more than 50 days in a Palestinian lockup after the picture appeared on his feed. He said he had nothing to do with the image. He was released in November and says a hearing has been set for next month.

"I censor myself now," Hamamreh said. "I'm careful of what I say."

Don't be fooled - - the Palestinian state which eventually emerges from negotiations will be neither free nor democratic nor prosperous. After a few years, there will be nostalgia for the Israeli occupation.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The new feudalism

The job market hasn't been kind to ex-banker Joe Farkas, but the real estate market has been worse.

Once a senior finance executive for Bank of America in Latin America, he lost his position in December 2007. That was two years after he and his wife paid $750,000 for a large home in Miramar that's probably worth about half of that now.

Now Farkas, 53, sees his underwater mortgage as something of a career anchor, too. He would pursue jobs across the country if it weren't for the financial hit he'd take by selling the house for a loss.

. . . Farkas' financial dilemma helps explain why unemployment remains particularly stubborn even as the economy recovers, analysts say. With housing values depressed, the labor market remains unusually static as many of the unemployed can't afford to move in pursuit of a job.

Obama's administration addressed the foreclosure crisis as primarily a problem for the under secured banking industry, rather than as a problem of upside down homeowners.

As a result, we have a new form of feudal serfdom - - workers tied to inescapable home loans.

National debt exceeds $14 trillion

The amount of U.S. debt subject to the country's legal maximum has topped $14 trillion for the first time.

On Wednesday, the amount of debt subject to the cap hit $14.001 trillion at the close of trade, according to the daily Treasury statement released on Thursday.

That means the country is less than $300 billion away from the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling, which is a cap on how much the federal government can legally borrow.

The national debt exceeds $14 trillion, but the administration wants the authority to borrow more. That makes no sense.

"Assure the survival and the success of liberty"

Fifty years ago Thursday, President John F. Kennedy told the world that "the torch had been passed to a new generation of Americans" whom he challenged to "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Caroline Kennedy told The Associated Press that she has been thinking over her father's oft-quoted inaugural speech on Jan 20, 1961, when he proclaimed that Americans "shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

I doubt that Caroline was "thinking over her father's oft-quoted inaugural speech" in which "he proclaimed that Americans shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty" while her and her cousins successfully lobbied all the television networks to censor the new miniseries about the Kennedys. Stifling free political debate was hardly a tribute to her father's speech.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The world's newest country

Early results from the election in Sudan show that a split between north and south is likely. A referendum held over the past week allowed Sudanese citizens around the world to vote on independence, and the results that have been streaming in over the past few days show that secession is extremely likely. A BBC report said that more than 97% of the European Sudanese diaspora had voted for a new state, although full results from the vote are not expected until next month.

This means that it is more likely than not that less Sudanese will be killing each other in the future.

It does not mean that either Northern or Southern Sudan will enter an era of peace, prosperity or democracy.

Iran continues to seek nuclear technology

Despite a tightening net of sanctions, Iran has continued covert attempts to purchase technology for its controversial nuclear program through more than 350 companies, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported Sunday.

Citing U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, Aftenposten reported that Iran has tried several times in 2008 and 2009 to buy uranium, computers and control systems required to run nuclear reactors.

It said the country has also tried to buy centrifuges, milling machines and materials which can increase the range of Iranian missiles.

The cables come from a trove of 250,000 uncensored U.S. diplomatic documents that WikiLeaks has been making public. Aftenposten said last month it had obtained all the documents.

The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons capability. Tehran denies the accusation, saying its nuclear work is merely geared toward producing nuclear energy and isotopes to treat medical patients.

Meanwhile, our government continues to take no effective action to stop them, or to deal with the consequences of a nuclear armed Iran.

Coming up next, Islamist Tunisia

For decades, Tunisians espousing political Islam were banned, jailed and forced underground by their country's autocratic regime.

Now they are seeking a place in government - raising fears that Islamic radicalism might take root in Tunisia, long seen by the West as a bulwark against terrorism.

With the promise that democracy will replace dictatorship, members of the outlawed Ennahdha party have taken to the streets, joining daily protests aimed at banishing all traces of the former ruling party of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Such activism by the Islamists - who want a role for Islam in their country's politics - is feeding jitters that extremism may be on the rise in Tunisia, long a Westward-looking nation proud of its modern identity. Women enjoy widespread freedoms, Muslim headscarves are banned in public buildings and abortions, a deep taboo in most Muslim societies, are legal in Tunisia.

Free and fair elections in Muslim societies are eventually always won by Islamist fundamentalist affiliated parties - - always.

Why does this simple fact always take our government and our media elite by surprise?

Meanwhile, in Mexico . . .

A priest who shelters stranded migrants needs police protection. A chopped-up body turns up with a threatening message. Beheadings are on the rise. The local press is too frightened to write about any of it.

This is not northern Mexico, where drug gangs fight for turf along the U.S. border and the Mexican government wages an open battle against them. This is the south, where the brutal Zetas cartel is quietly spreading a reign of terror virtually unchallenged, all the way to the border with Guatemala - and across it.

Just as they have done in the north, groups claiming to be Zetas have set up criminal networks to control transit routes for drugs, migrants and contraband such as pirated DVDS, intimidating the populace and committing gruesome murders as an example to the uncooperative.

One day, when this violence crosses over into U.S. territory, we will all ask what our government was doing back when our border should have been sealed.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why can't we ever walk away?

The collapse of the Western-backed [Lebanese] government was a blow to the United States and its Arab allies, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Syria and Saudi Arabia — who back rival camps in Lebanon — had for months been trying to find a settlement to the crisis. When those efforts failed, ministers of Hezbollah and their allies pulled out of the unity Cabinet, toppling the government.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia said it was abandoning efforts to mediate, dealing a setback to American diplomacy in the region and raising concerns in Lebanon the crisis was headed for a confrontation.

Qatar and Turkey tried to pick up on the Saudi and Syrian initiative. But two days of meetings by their foreign ministers with rival Lebanese politicians appeared to have failed to produce a deal.

A statement issued by the two before they left Beirut Thursday said they would consult with their leadership.

Why is it that Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are all allowed to walk away from the insanity in Lebanon, but the U.S. government has to stay involved and take responsibility for every Middle East crisis?

The price of putting "new people' in office

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized to those he may have offended with remarks that seemed to reject the notion of friendship with non-Christians.

As Surge Desk reported earlier, Bentley drew sharp criticism when he declared to an audience at a Baptist church shortly after being sworn into office Monday that "anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."

The more new and inexperienced people get elected to political office, the more politically incorrect and just plain stupid things they will say. The smart, well advised ones - - such as newly elected Florida governor Scott - - will limit press access until they get a grip on things.

One possible explanation

The tearful mother of the Liberty City man who gunned down two Miami-Dade police officers Thursday pleaded for forgiveness Friday, but added she had no idea her son would open fire when she let the officers into her home.

"I am very sorry for the officers that were killed," an emotional Lorraine Simms said Friday, less than 24 hours after her home turned into a bloody crime scene. "I lost my son too."

. . . When the shooting ended, Johnny Simms, a 22-year-old career criminal wanted for murder in Overtown, was dead. But not before he mortally wounded veteran detectives Roger Castillo, 41, and Amanda Haworth, 44, who along with two others were serving him a warrant for the killing.

The 37 year old mother of the 22 year old three time murderer asks, "How do you explain it?"

One possible explanation is that a poor uneducated single teen had a child at age 15.

Friday, January 21, 2011

But things are going great!

I guess it's time for another press conference in which the president or vice president or some general pays "a surprise visit to the war zone" and then tells us how great things are going in Iraq.
At least 60 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up beside a line of people applying for police jobs in Tikrit, the hometown of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, officials said.

An additional 160 people were wounded when the attacker set off his explosives in a crowd of applicants and their families, according to police and medical officials. Mosques called for blood donations and some of the wounded were sent to hospitals as far away as Mosul, about 120 miles to the north. Police swarmed the area of Tikrit after the explosion.

Medicaid cuts

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to review California's controversial proposals to cut Medicaid reimbursements to physicians, dentists, pharmacies, health clinics and other medical providers.

The court's decision to hear three combined California legal challenges is good news for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who wants to enact budget cuts similar to those that courts have previously struck down. Potentially, hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed savings are at stake.

Why is repealing Obamacare "killing people" and "letting people die", but cutting billions of dollars in reimbursements to physicians, dentists, pharmacies, health clinics and other medical providers is "progressive"?

26 states suing to stop Obamacare

The political sea change marked by the November elections on Tuesday pulled six more states into Florida's lawsuit challenging the national healthcare legislation -- making it one of the biggest tests of federal authority in the country's history, with 26 states now in line.

At some point, the administration, the courts and the media will have to recognize that a majority of the states are suing to stop Obamacare. This is unprecedented.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chicago-style racism

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Chicago Tuesday to campaign for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel, but his visit is the cause of some controversy.

While the former White House chief of staff hopes Clinton can persuade voters to cast their ballots for him Feb. 22, a former mayoral contender has warned that Clinton is risking his popular standing with the African-American community by backing Emanuel rather than a black candidate.

. . . Congressman Danny Davis, a former candidate who bowed out of the race in December, warned when the Clinton visit was first announced that the former president could jeopardize his standing with the black community.

It's a shame that the leader of the Democratic party, himself a Chicago democrat, is silent on the subject of this injection of blatant racism and ethnic bigotry into the Chicago mayoral primary.

John Edwards, criminal

A federal criminal investigation targeting John Edwards is examining how much the two-time presidential candidate knew about money used to cover up his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child and whether he had other practices that pushed the bounds of campaign finance laws, people involved in the case have told The Associated Press.

Edwards entire 2008 Democratic primary campaign was based on a two pronged assault - - - he wasn't black, like Obama, and he wasn't involved in marital scandals, like Clinton.

For brazen hypocrisy alone, he deserves to go to jail!

Wrongful shooting at the border?

The U.S. Border Patrol is declining comment on a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit filed in El Paso over the 2010 shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican boy.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, also alleges civil rights violations.

Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero on Tuesday told The Associated Press that the investigation into the June death continues and the agency would not comment.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca.

The Border Patrol has not released the name of the agent who shot the teen.

Family attorney Bob Hilliard of Corpus Christi on Monday said witnesses have denied report of rocks being thrown at agents when the shooting happened.

If you don't want to get shot illegally crossing an international border, don't illegally cross an international border.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A little conventional wisdom

The conventional wisdom is that the Republicans ignore Hispanic voters.
Republican speakers, at a conference on how to effectively reach Hispanics, urged the party to tone down its rhetoric on immigration and to take up comprehensive reform in Congress, warning that the party could lose ground with the country’s increasingly diverse citizenry if it doesn’t.

The reality is that the newly elected Hispanic senator from Florida, the newly elected Hispanic governor of New Mexico and the newly elected Hispanic governor of Nevada are all Republicans.

At some point, the Hispanic community is going to start asking why Democrats fail to nominate Hispanic candidates.

Our ally, Pakistan

Islamic extremists rallied in support of the confessed killer of a liberal Pakistani governor on Friday and protested Pope Benedict XVI for urging the scrapping of blasphemy laws that stipulate death for those insulting Islam.

Right-wing Muslim groups have rallied their base against any move to dilute the laws after the sentencing of a Christian woman to death for blasphemy attracted local and international condemnation. Prominent among the critics was Gov. Salman Taseer, who was gunned down by a guard last week who later told media he was motivated by Taseer's stance on the laws.

Around 1,000 protesters gathered near the house of the confessed killer, Mumtaz Qadri, in Rawalpindi city close to the capital, Islamabad, carrying banners that saluted him. Elsewhere, protesters took to the streets in Karachi and two other cities in support of the laws and against the remarks by the pope last week.

This is our supposed chief ally in the region - - a nation where protesters rally in support of religious extremists and political assassins.

We are wasting lives and money and accomplishing nothing.

Gang shootout kills 14 in Mexico

A shootout between Mexican security forces and suspected gang members has left 14 people dead.

Some 100 soldiers, marines and police in Xalapa, in the eastern state of Veracruz, had surrounded a house that, it was thought, was being used as a safe house by a gang, officials say.

The occupants opened fire and a six-hour gun battle followed.

Police say Xalapa had so far been spared the gang violence which has afflicted some other Mexican cities.

This is why we need a border fence.

Of course, the other day, the administration cancelled the border fence.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The price of one party government

The Illinois legislature has passed personal income-tax increases of 66 percent and corporate income-tax in creases of 45 percent, designed to address a $15 billion state budget deficit that lawmakers said was leading the state into insolvency.

By the early hours of Wednesday, Senate and House lawmakers had voted to raise the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent and the corporate tax rate from 4.8 percent to 7 percent. Both rates were adjusted to carry through until 2015, when they would drop to 3.25 percent and 5.25 percent, respectively.

The Illinois tax increase, which is waiting to be signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who supports the package, would take effect retroactively Jan. 1. The package was passed without a single Republican vote in either chamber.

Anyone who votes for one party government at the local, state or federal level deserves the high taxes, big spending, corruption and fiscal irresponsibility which always follow.

No border security

People insisted on a border fence.

Instead, a "high tech virtual fence" was substituted.

Now, the high tech border fence is being cancelled.
The Obama administration on Friday canceled the long-troubled, high-tech invisible fence project along the U.S.-Mexico border, ending a five-year, $1 billion pilot program that President George W. Bush envisioned as stretching along most of the 1,969-mile border.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano briefed key members of Congress on the decision, which she telegraphed months ago by ordering a yearlong review of the project.

She said technology gleaned from the 53-mile project in Arizona will be used to continue developing a high-tech border security network that relies on agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, some 700 miles of pedestrian and vehicle fencing and aerial surveillance by unmanned drones.

"There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution to meet our border technology needs, and this new strategy is tailored to the unique needs of each border region, providing faster deployment of technology, better coverage, and a more effective balance between cost and capability," Napolitano said.

In other words, the administration will not secure the border, with either a real or a virtual fence.

Limits loosened on travel to Cuba

The Obama administration moved Friday to make it easier for U.S. schools, churches and cultural groups to visit Cuba, and to boost the amount of money Americans can send to the island to support its growing private economy.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the changes to U.S.-Cuba policy, which have been rumored for months, are aimed at bolstering Cuba's civil society and putting distance between Cubans and their Communist-led government.

. . . The changes restore -- and increase -- the amount Americans can send to any Cuban up to $2,000 annually, more than the level before former President George W. Bush tightened sanctions. There will be a quarterly limit on the amount any American can send: $500 per quarter to "support private economic activity." The Clinton administration had set that figure at $300 a quarter.

Basically, Obama has decided to ignore the Castro regime's routine and ongoing violations of basic human rights, and to subsidize the Cuban government's repressive economic and political policies. There is no excuse for this.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Iraqi soldier kills two U.S. soldiers

Two U.S. soldiers were killed and a third injured when an Iraqi soldier opened fire on U.S. troops during training in the northern city of Mosul on Saturday, the U.S. military said.

The incident occurred while U.S. soldiers were training Iraqi security forces at al-Ghazlani U.S. military camp in southern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

"Two U.S. service members were killed by small arms fire when an Iraqi soldier attacked them at the Ghazlani Training Center located south of Mosul at approximately 8:30 a.m. Saturday," the U.S. military said in a statement.

It said the Iraqi soldier who had opened fire was killed during the incident. A third U.S. service member was wounded, the U.S. military said.

More wasted young American lives.

The Tunisian revolt as "inspiration"

Hours after riots forced Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali to flee his country, hundreds of Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo with a warning to their own authoritarian president, Hosni Mubarak.

"Ben Ali, tell Mubarak a plane is waiting for him too!" they chanted late Friday night. "We are next. Listen to the Tunisians; it's your turn, Egyptians!"

The slogans were a burst of envy and elation in a country where people have protested for years but have never ignited a mass movement to threaten Mubarak's nearly 30-year-old police state. Dissidents were finally daring to contemplate the possibility that public anger really could explode and bring dramatic change.

But the euphoria was mixed with sobering concern that the popular revolt in Tunisia, which, for the first time in modern Arab history, toppled a dictator, cannot be easily replicated. Across the region, bickering opposition parties and religious differences between Islamists and moderates have fueled mistrust and allowed repressive governments to splinter dissent.,0,6836461.story

Let us hope that no one in our government or the western media is stupid enough to believe that this revolutionary "dramatic change" in the Muslim world will produce the Middle East's own Thomas Jefferson.

Up until now, such "dramatic change" has always and has only produced America-hating Khomeinis and Gaddafis.

Notwithstanding our naive wishful thinking, each change has tended to be for the worse.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


One of the 19 victims of last week's shooting in Tucson was arrested yesterday after standing up during a town hall-style meeting and shouting, "You're dead!" to the leader of the Tucson tea party. The victim, J. Eric Fuller, has been charged with disorderly conduct and making a threat, and was involuntarily committed to undergo a mental health evaluation, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

In other words, the one Tucson shooting victim who was running around blaming the Tea Party for the Tucson shooting is himself engaging in politically motivated violence against the Tea Party. Will the media now stop quoting, encouraging and applauding this guy?

Christians attacked by Muslim policeman in Egypt

An off-duty policeman opened fire aboard a train Tuesday in southern Egypt, killing one Christian and wounding five less than two weeks after the New Year's Day bombing at a church in Alexandria that killed 25 Coptic Christians, according to the state news agency.,0,7428721.story

Of course, according to most of the misguided leaders of the Egyptian church, the root of the problem is Israeli intransigence on the issue of Palestinian rights. Let's hope they wake up while there are still Christians in North Africa and the Middle East.

Christians attacked by Muslims in Nigeria

Men armed with rifles and machetes killed 19 people in attacks on three villages in volatile central Nigeria, authorities said Tuesday.

Three homes were attacked in the Christian village of Kuru Station about 18 miles (30 kilometers) from the central Nigerian city of Jos, a flashpoint of religious tension between Christians and Muslims, a community leader said.

. . . He said villagers told him armed men woke up the houses' occupants around midnight with gunshots and forced them out before setting their homes ablaze and attacking them with machetes. In total, 19 people, including women and children, died in the assaults and at least three others were injured, police say.

. . . Umaru said that Fagawon, another predominantly Christian village about 80 kilometers from Jos, was attacked soon after the incident in Kuru Station. He said two people were killed and three houses and three motorcycles were burned.

Of course, according to most of the misguided leaders of the African church, the root of the problem is Israeli intransigence on the issue of Palestinian rights. Let's hope they wake up while there are still Christians in North Africa and the Middle East.

Another victory for the anti vaccine crowd

He had shingles, a painful disease that attacks mostly people older than 50. . . . For Dorn, a 69-year-old retired Xerox exec from Miami, the disease waned after eight weeks of "industrial-strength" prescription pain killers. For some, it can become chronic for years, even causing eye problems and, rarely, blindness.

But a new national study says people who get a little-known shingles vaccination can cut their risk of the debilitating disease by 55 percent. It's a Kaiser Permanente review of 300,000 people's medical records published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Zostavax was introduced by Merck & Co., Inc., in 2006, but only about 10 percent of Americans who need it -- those 60 and over -- have been vaccinated, the study says. Most aren't aware it exists. Also, a vaccination costs as much as $219.

Medicare will pay for the vaccine through ts Part D prescription plan.

Shingles is a serious disease.

There is a vaccine for shingles.

This vaccine should be taken by seniors.

Medicare will pay for the vaccine.

But, because of the constant general anti-vaccine hysteria by no-nothing media celebrities, older people aren't getting the vaccine.

Instead, they are getting the disease.

The government needs to enforce the law and start prosecuting people who go on TV and radio and dispense fraudulent and inaccurate medical advice without medical degrees, ala Oprah and Jenny McCarthy and Suzanne Somers. It's bad enough that phony anti-autism recommendations have already unnecessarily exposed thousands of children to measles, mumps and rubella.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Iraq: We lost

In a triumphal return after more than three years in Iran, militant cleric Muqtada al Sadr called on his followers Saturday to abandon the use of violence and channel their efforts into the new Iraqi government, while demanding an end to U.S. influence in Iraq.

"We do not kill Iraqis. We do not raise our hand to kill an Iraqi man," he told thousands of flag-waving men who packed the street outside his home in this city of shrines sacred to Iraqi Shiites. Only those authorized should carry weapons, and his followers shouldn't use violence against foreigners or Iraqis, he said. And he called for only "cultural" and "intellectual" resistance against what he described as the U.S. "occupation."

We lost the war.

Headless bodies near topless beach

The bodies of 15 men, all but one of them headless, were found on a street outside a shopping center in Acapulco on Saturday as police reported 27 people slain in the Pacific resort in less than a day.

I'm sure a significant portion of Mexico's income and foreign currency inflows come from tourism. This ongoing narco terrorism has to be devastating the tourism industry.

The start of the Venezuelan counter revolution?

Venezuelan authorities have evidence of arson in a fire that badly damaged a government building used by officials carrying out farm seizures, President Hugo Chavez said Sunday, calling it an act of terrorism.

He said investigators determined the National Lands Institute office in western Zulia state was doused with gasoline and set ablaze. Road-blocking protests erupted in the area last month when officials and troops seized a list of large private ranches.,0,3600419.story

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end of the Chavez regime.

Crist sinks even lower

Former Gov. Charlie Crist is joining the high-profile Morgan & Morgan law firm.

The marriage of "the people's governor" with the law firm that claims in TV commercials to be "for the people" was anticipated. The St. Petersburg Times reports the firm is run by John Morgan, a longtime Crist political supporter.

Crist, who was a lawyer before he entered politics, says he plans to work mostly in his hometown of St. Petersburg.

For those of you outside of Florida - - Morgan & Morgan is not "high-profile" in the sense that it's the home of political powerhouses or former cabinet officials or that it represents mega corporations doing mega deals and involved in mega suits. Editors of Harvard Law Review do not dream of a job at Morgan & Morgan.

Morgan & Morgan is "high-profile" in the sense that everyone's heard of it, because it's one of those personal injury law firms which advertise on Jerry Springer and Maury Povich-style media outlets (in between the ads for ITT Tech and breast enhancements).

Charlie Crist has fallen from up and coming political star (newly elected governor of swing state seriously considered for spot on national ticket) to liberal media hero ("independent" "victim" of "Tea Party purge", according to the MSNBC crowd) to just another shill for a "1-800-PAIN"-type operation. This is seriously pathetic.

Flu days!

Sorry for being gone so long.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Target lists and bull's eyes

Did you ever see the "target list"? hear about the "bull's eye"?
Well, I'd argue that we can narrow the target list by looking at those Democrats who sold out the Constitution last week. I've bolded members of the Blue Dogs for added emphasis. . . . Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08) . . . Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bull's eye on their district.

Target list? Bull's eye? Damn that Sarah Palin!

Oh, wait - - that was by Olbermann's buddy, kos himself, front page on ultra left / partisan Democratic The Daily Kos, 6/25/08 !!!


After the History channel said it would not air a controversial miniseries on the Kennedy family, producers were already seeking another television home.

The Showtime pay cable network has been approached to air the eight-part series, a spokesman said on Saturday. Eight years ago, Showtime aired a movie about President Reagan that CBS had made but decided not to broadcast when it faced pressure from some of that former president’s family.

Showtime won’t make a decision about the Kennedy miniseries until its executives have a chance to see it, spokesman Richard Licata said.

The multi-million dollar miniseries, which stars Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as John and Jackie Kennedy, was History’s most expensive project ever. But the network issued a statement late Friday saying that after watching the finished product, “we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.”

. . . A concerted effort was made to quash the series. Liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald collected 50,000 petitions urging History not to air it, and he produced a short film condemning the project on a website, He had been given an early script, which included one scene where President Kennedy tells his brother Robert about his need to have sex with other women.

Liberal filmmakers and academics are engaged in "a concerted effort" "to quash the series" about the Kennedys.

I think engaging in a concerted effort to censor a television series disqualifies you from using the adjective "liberal".

And, what's the point? Everyone already knows that the Kennedys cheated on their wives.

No real signs of economic growth

President Barack Obama sees a clear and encouraging trend on the economy, citing fresh reports showing private-sector job growth and lower unemployment.

He used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to discuss the latest economic news and press for bipartisan action in the newly divided Congress on measures to spur growth. Obama presented the December jobs report in a positive light even though it fell short of what economists had been looking for and even though the drop in unemployment came partly because some people stopped looking for work.

When you've spent trillions of borrowed Chinese dollars on three unsuccessful attempts to jump start the economy, and unemployment drops only because people stopped looking for work and are resigned to joining the long term unemployed, there are no positive signs of economic growth.

It's a shame that the media refuses to call bull on such spin.

Florida Democrats pick a loser

Florida Democrats on Saturday chose as their new chairman Rod Smith, a former state senator from Gainesville who faces a major challenge rebuilding a party ravaged by election losses.

A fiery former prosecutor and two-time statewide candidate, Smith seizes the party's reins at a critical juncture: Florida's 29 electoral votes will be vital in the next presidential election, Republicans will redraw the state's political districts, and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the party's lone remaining elected statewide officeholder, faces a tough reelection challenge in 2012.

Florida Democrats should realize that a two time statewide loser does not know how to win.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Accomplishing nothing in Afghanistan

A massive effort by U.S. and NATO forces — including offensives in the insurgent heartland and targeted assassinations of rebel leaders — has failed to dent Taliban numerical strength over the past year, according to military and diplomatic officials.

A NATO official said this week that the alliance estimates current number of insurgent fighters at up to 25,000, confirming figures provided earlier by several military officers and diplomats.

That number is the same as a year ago, before the arrival of an additional 40,000 U.S. and allied troops, and before the alliance launched a massive campaign to restore government control in Helmand province and around the city of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan.

We're doing nothing but wasting lives, money, time and effort in Afghanistan.

Why did we fight in Iraq?

Hundreds of raucous supporters celebrated the return of firebrand Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Thursday after his emergence from four years of exile in Iran, drawing a plea from him to show more discipline and restraint.

The populist whose militiamen once battled American and Iraqi forces left Iraq in 2007. Then, he was seen as a powerful but unpredictable leader of a street-fighting organization. Upon his return Wednesday, he was a legitimate political figure heading an organized movement that is a key partner in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new government.

In other words, when we withdraw, we will turn Iraq over to a government which includes the enemy we fought and who killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers in Sadr City.

Anna Nicole

A jury in October found Howard Stern and Dr Khristine Eroshevich guilty of conspiring to obtain prescription drugs for the former Playboy model by fraud.

Los Angeles judge Robert Perry ruled at a sentencing hearing he did not believe she was an addict under anti-drug laws.

Smith died in 2007 at 39 from a prescription drug overdose. The pair were not charged in her death.

"The court has no doubt that abuse of prescription medications is a troubling problem for many persons," Judge Perry said in his ruling.

"There is no doubt that there are doctors who are nothing more than pill pushers and should be prosecuted and imprisoned. This case did not involve such doctors."

He found that a 2006 California anti-drug law intended to curb prescription medication abuse recognised that "pseudo-addicts" seek drugs because they are in great pain.

He also found that although Mr Stern had used his own name and others to obtain painkillers for Smith, he did so to protect her privacy.

Dr Eroshevich had also been convicted of obtaining Vicodin by fraud in October, but Judge Perry reduced that conviction to a misdemeanour.

It's disgusting how much time and effort our society has wasted on Anna Nicole, living and dead.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Remember Juan Williams?

The fallout from NPR's decision to terminate the contract of former news analyst Juan Williams reached the network's highest levels Thursday as its top news executive, Ellen Weiss, resigned.

The announcement of her departure came the same day as the release of the findings of an external review commissioned by the NPR board of directors in the wake of the episode. The NPR board also said it would overhaul the network's ethics and human resources policies.

The report, carried out by the law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges, found the dismissal of Williams to be legal. The report concluded that the network and Weiss, NPR's senior vice president for news, gave Williams adequate notice and broke no element of his contract.

That said, the way in which Weiss dismissed Williams — by phone — became a flashpoint that erupted into a public and political debate.

"It doesn't surprise me that somebody was going to go, after the incredibly sloppy, messy and often embarrassing severance of Juan Williams," said Robert Siegel, the host of All Things Considered and a longtime and admiring colleague of Weiss.

If you fire someone for unfairly firing someone else, shouldn't the first person fired be rehired?

Too late for legalized casino gambling

Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he is open to allowing Las Vegas-style casino resorts in Florida, opening the door for promoters to move swiftly ahead with legislation this year that would end the decades-old ban on the high stakes games.

Promoters expect a hearing as early as next week in the Florida Senate on the proposal that could bring "destination casinos" to Miami Beach, Tampa and as many as three other locations. The term refers to the high-end casinos being built around the globe that feature entertainment, retail malls and convention space in addition to blackjack tables, roulette wheels and slot machines.

This was a great idea to reinvigorate the local economy and fill the state's tax coffers - - in 1960.

Unfortunately, in 2011, most cities near almost any Indian reservation anywhere in the country have a casino.

It's too late for any city to become another Las Vegas. At best, legalized casino gambling would result in a few new hotels and a few upgrades to existing hotels. It's no longer an economic savior.

More "success" in Afghanistan

A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up among men washing in a bathhouse ahead of Friday prayers, killing 17, in an attack that showed militants can still largely strike at will in southern Afghanistan despite a NATO offensive.

Roadside bombs also killed three NATO service members in the south and east, while gunmen shot dead a police inspector in Kandahar's provincial capital, bringing the day's death toll to 21. Authorities said they suspect the Taliban assassinated the police inspector.

At this rate, we're going to succeed into an ignoble defeat.

Obama signs law on detainee transfers

President Barack Obama on Friday reluctantly signed into law a military-funding bill that limits him from transferring terrorism detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to the U.S. or foreign countries, but he signaled that he may get past the restrictions by using non-Pentagon resources to get the job done.

Even as he reserved that right, it wasn't immediately clear to what degree the president still may capitulate to political pressure between now and his 2012 reelection campaign to keep detainees off U.S. soil and out of civilian courts.

The development also left uncertain what Attorney General Eric Holder would do about the trial of alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other Guantánamo captives who allegedly were the plotters, funders and trainers of the hijackers of four commercial aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. Holder initially wanted to prosecute them in court in lower Manhattan, not far from ground zero, a choice that angered conservatives and some victims' families.

Obama didn't just sign a law on detainee transfers. He broke his campaign promise, and capitulated on detainee transfers. And, he issued a "signing statement" reserving the right to violate the law he signed - - something he called unconstitutional when Bush did it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More anti-Christian oppression

Iranian state television said Wednesday that leaders of the country’s Christian minority have been arrested and accused of spreading a hard-line version of their faith.

The report did not give the number of people arrested. The group was promoting hard-line Christian views at cultural gatherings with the support of Britain, the TV reported, quoting Tehran Governor Morteza Tamadon. It did not elaborate.

Tamadon was quoted as calling the group “a corrupt and deviant current.”

A website of Iran’s political opposition reported that 60 Christians have been arrested since Christmas, including a priest arrested on Friday.

Every day, anti-Christian Islamic fundamentalists continue down the road toward their goal of eradicating Christianity in the Middle East.

The only free country in the Middle East

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been heckled at a memorial service for those who died in the country's worst-ever wildfire last month.

Victims' relatives forced him to halt his speech commemorating 42 people who died in Carmel forest, north of Haifa.

But bodyguards shielded him from hecklers at the Beit Oren kibbutz.

Most of the abuse was directed at Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who many relatives consider responsible for failures in handling the blaze. . . .

Others shouted that Mr Netanyahu should be held responsible and called for him to resign.

Flaws and all, Israel is the only nation in the Middle East in which the citizens could heckle and shout down their leaders, and not get shot or arrested.

Israel remains the only functioning Middle East democracy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

More autism fraud

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the-now disgraced British doctor who published studies linking vaccines with autism, committed an "elaborate fraud" by faking data, the British Medical Journal said on Wednesday.

The journal's editors said it was not possible that Wakefield made a mistake but must have falsified the data for his study, which convinced thousands of parents that vaccines are dangerous and which is blamed for ongoing outbreaks of measles and mumps.

The journal, commonly nicknamed the BMJ, supported its position with a series of articles by a journalist who used medical records and interviews to show that Wakefield falsified data.

For instance, the reports found that Wakefield, who included data from only 12 children in his report, studied at least 13 and that several showed symptoms of autism before having been vaccinated.

Fears that vaccines might cause autism have not only caused parents to skip vaccinating their children, but have forced costly reformulations of many vaccines.

Dr. Wakefield, with an assist from celebrity idiots who promoted his fraud (primarily Jenny McCarthy and Oprah), probably contributed to the unnecessary suffering, torment and death of hundreds, if not thousands, of children world wide.

I hope they're all sued into the poor house for promoting this idiocy.

And, they should be prosecuted.

Another wasted effort

The errors and misjudgments that led to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling rig last spring weren't just the result of blunders by BP and its contractors, but reflect industry-wide problems that require new regulations and standards, a presidential commission has concluded.

"The root causes are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur," the panel says in its final report, a chapter of which is being made public Thursday. "The missteps were rooted in systemic failures by industry management . . . and also by failures of government to provide effective regulatory oversight of offshore drilling."

It's a waste of time to enact new regulations, if the oil industry is permitted to continue to buy off the regulators and the oversight committees with campaign donations.

It's no coincidence that the worst oil spill in history was caused by BP during the administration of Barack Obama - - the recipient of more campaign money from BP than any other politician in history.

Doing as they say, not as they do

The Dominican Republic has launched its first major crackdown on illegal Haitian immigrants since last year's devastating earthquake, rounding up and deporting hundreds of people in recent days, officials said Thursday.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and have a long history of cross-border tension. Relations improved in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 quake, with the Dominican government providing assistance and serving as a staging ground for the international relief effort.

Still, human-rights groups complain that Haitians are subjected to bitter discrimination.

The Dominican government, which suspended deportations after the earthquake, resumed efforts against illegal immigration this week, stopping and detaining people at checkpoints around the country. In a rare move, checkpoints were also set up outside the capital.

More than 700 Haitians have been deported since Monday and more are expected in coming days, said Ambiorix Rosario, Department of Migration spokesman.

Dominican officials said the crackdown is necessary to stem growing illegal immigration since the earthquake and to prevent the spread of cholera, which has killed more than 3,000 people in Haiti since the outbreak began in October. About 150 have been sickened in the Dominican Republic.

Get that? The Dominican Republic deports illegal immigrants from Haiti in order to avoid social unrest, economic dislocation and disease. But, the U.S.A. isn't supposed to deport illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another waste of our time and effort

The top official of Pakistan's most populous province, an outspoken critic of religious extremism, was assassinated Tuesday in Islamabad by one of his own police bodyguards, plunging the country vital to the U.S. fight against terrorism deeper into political turmoil.

Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer, who has been battling Islamists after he denounced a law against blasphemy, was killed on a road in the center of the Pakistani capital.

His slaying came as the ruling coalition led by the secular Pakistan Peoples Party, the PPP, was in danger of collapse after losing its parliamentary majority amid a growing economic crisis, including a sudden rise in fuel prices and extensive power shortages.

The turbulence couldn't come at a worse time for the Obama administration, diverting Pakistani political and military leaders from what Washington had hoped would be an intensified drive to shutter Afghan insurgent strongholds and al Qaeda-allied bases on Pakistan's side of the rugged border with Afghanistan.

Given the depth of anti-American sentiments in Pakistan, however, there is little the U.S. can do, several analysts said.

We are wasting our time, effort and money on ungrateful people in that part of the world.

You can't force people to want to be free.

Our schools

A scuffle over a cellphone escalated into a fight among dozens of students Wednesday morning at Northeast High School in Oakland Park, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.

Eleven students -- all juveniles -- were arrested on charges including battery and disruption of a school function . . .

According to Broward school district spokeswoman Marsy Smith, the fight broke out about 9:20 a.m. in the hallway near the cafeteria of the school, 700 NE 56th St.

The school was not placed on lockdown, and classes continued on their regular schedule. School officials would not comment about the fight.

Smith said the students would probably face 10-day suspensions.

Our schools need to promote discipline.

Unfortunately, they focus on self esteem.

A wasted life

Nearly one year after she was diagnosed with late-stage cancer, Betsie Gallardo was told Wednesday that she will not have to die in a Broward state prison.

But the 27-year-old inmate who was born HIV-positive may not get to die at home in Indiana, either, as her family wishes. . . .

The Florida Parole Commission voted 2-1 Wednesday in Tallahassee to approve Gallardo's medical release on the condition that she have no contact with the victim and that her stay at a Miami-Dade hospice be treated as if she were on house arrest.

The exception to Gallardo's sentence is justified "because of the seriousness of Betsie's illness and the amount of time she has left" . . .

Gallardo's prison sentence stems from an August 2008 arrest in Naples on a charge of child neglect. She left her boyfriend's child home alone for more than 30 minutes and drove his car into a ditch after taking Xanax, a prescription drug for anxiety.

According to the police report, Gallardo was taken to the Naples jail where she bit one deputy on the forearm and wrist and kicked another in the knee as they tried to restrain her.

The child neglect charges were later dropped, but Gallardo was convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest with violence.

Florida law makes it a third degree felony for HIV positive defendants to transfer body fluids during a violent act. Gallardo received a five-year sentence, the maximum, and was scheduled for release in May 2014.

A criminal in her twenties, born with HIV in another country, is released from prison to die with her neglected children. There are dozens of questions you could ask. There are no good answers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Islamophobia

Rafah Toma survived one of the most horrific attacks on Iraq's tiny Christian community — the siege on a Baghdad church two months ago that left 68 people dead — only to be gunned down in her home Monday by thieves stealing her cash and jewelry.

It was not immediately clear whether Toma's death was the latest attack to target Iraq's beleaguered Christians, or instead another of the brutal robberies that have become commonplace for all Iraqis, Muslim and Christian alike.

The priest that found her battered body, Father Mukhlis, serves at the Our Lady of Salvation church where more than 120 people were taken hostage on Oct. 31 after gunmen stormed the building during an evening Mass. He said that Toma, who was in her 50s, was one of the parishioners at Mass that evening.

"It was her fate to not die in the attack on the church but to die by gunmen who killed her to steal her gold and money," he said. "Christians face a tragedy in this country."

Maybe one day our media and the intelligentsia will report the truth - - innocent Jews and Christians are attacked daily by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists.

Until them, the attacks will be largely ignored, but the defensive responses will be criticized.

Arlen Specter's "zig-zag-zig political path"

As Arlen Specter leaves the Senate after 30 years, the one-time corruption-busting Philadelphia prosecutor and architect of the "single-bullet theory" of the John F. Kennedy assassination says he wouldn't change a thing about his zig-zag-zig political path.

Specter began and ended - for now - his political life as a Democrat and spent the intervening four decades as a Republican. But he sees himself as an independent who often bucked party leadership - ultimately ending his career.

"Zig-zag-zig political path" is a pretty nice way to describe a flip flopping, back stabbing, two faced, self serving career politician, who went from liberal Democrat to Reagan Republican and back to where he started for the sole purpose of keeping his job.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg

One week after a blizzard paralyzed the city, the snowdrifts were melting Sunday but the mountains of trash were growing.

The Department of Sanitation announced it would resume garbage pickups on Monday for the first time since the Christmas weekend storm dumped 20 inches of snow on city streets. Trash collection was suspended while crews struggled to plow streets, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.

"We are able to resume garbage pickups now that significant progress has been made in clearing away the aftermath of last Sunday's massive blizzard," Doherty said Saturday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials endured days of withering criticism for the city's slow response to the storm. Bloomberg visited some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the snow and confessed the city's handling of it was "inadequate and unacceptable."

New York City's mayor was so busy lobbying for the Ground Zero mosque, and laying the groundwork for a presidential run, that he was too busy to plow the streets or pick up the garbage.

Maybe now he'll shut up about "The Third Way" and "No Labels" and do his job.

Permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan?

A leading GOP lawmaker on U.S. military policy says he wants American officials to consider establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan.

Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina says that having a few U.S. air bases in Afghanistan would be a benefit to the region and would give Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban.

Graham tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that he wants to see the U.S. have "an enduring relationship" with Afghanistan to ensure that it never falls back into the hands of terrorists.

President Barack Obama plans to begin drawing down American forces in Afghanistan next year and hand over security to Afghan forces in 2014.

Obama has talked about an enduring presence in Afghanistan but not exactly what that would entail.

A leading GOP lawmaker wants "permanent military bases in Afghanistan" and "an enduring relationship" with Afghanistan.

Obama wants "an enduring presence in Afghanistan".

Neither seems to care what the American people want.

House GOP to move this week on Obamacare

Republicans plan to try to repeal the health care law almost immediately after taking control of the House, setting the stage for an early confrontation with President Obama.

The GOP campaigned on a promise to try to repeal Obamacare.

As one of their first orders of business, they are going to try to repeal Obamacare.

Why is keeping your promise such big news in Washington, D.C.?

Monday, January 3, 2011

More Islamophobia

Muslim extremists may have planted a bomb which struck an army barracks in Nigeria's capital, the country's president has said, highlighting the dangers and confusion still gripping a nation beset by violence in recent weeks.

No-one has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack which killed at least four people and injured 21 others celebrating New Year's Eve in the barracks' open-air beer garden and market.

President Goodluck Jonathan promised those at a church service in Abuja, the oil-rich nation's capital, he would find those responsible. However, his vague remarks seemed only to show that security agencies remain ill-prepared to halt the violence as the nation nears what could be a tumultuous April election.

The media blames Judeo Christian Islamophobia for inciting Muslim violence . . . but when was the last time you heard about any Judeo Christian anti Muslim violence?

More Islamophobia

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak vowed Saturday to "cut off the hand of terrorism" after a suspected suicide bomber attacked a Coptic Christian church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and killed at least 21 people as worshippers emerged from a New Year's Day Mass.

It was the deadliest attack against the country's Christian minority in more than a decade and the latest in a wave of violence against Christians in the Middle East. Experts said that it would stoke growing tension between Egypt's majority Muslims and Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country's 80 million people.

Remember, according to the American media, it's all the fault of Judeo Christian Islamophobes.

Those who criticized America's wall along its frontier with Mexico . . .

are building one along Europe's frontier with Turkey!
Greece is planning to build a fence along its border with Turkey in a bid to keep out illegal immigrants, Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said in an interview on Saturday.

"Cooperation with the other EU states is going well … now we plan to construct a fence to deal with illegal migration," he told the semi-official Athens News Agency ANA.

In the six months up to the end of November, 33,000 illegal immigrants have been detected crossing the Greek-Turkish land border. Most are from Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.

Papoutsis said the 128-mile-long fence would be like the one erected by the United States along its frontier with Mexico.

Note how America is supposed to allow in millions of illegal immigrants, but Europe builds a wall after detecting 33,000!

South of the border, down Mejico way

The mother of four raised a finger, pointing out abandoned and stripped concrete homes and counting how many families have fled the Western Hemisphere's deadliest city on her street alone.

"One, two, three, four, here, and two more back there on the next block," said Laura Longoria.

The 36-year-old ran a convenience store in her working-class neighborhood in south Juarez until the owners closed shop, fed up with the tribute they were forced to pay to drug gangsters to stay in business.

Her family vowed to stick it out. But then came the kidnapping of a teen from a stationery shop across the street. After that, Longoria's husband, Enrique Mondragon, requested a transfer from the bus company where he works.

"They asked, 'where to,'" he recalled. "I said, 'Anywhere.'"

No one knows how many residents have left the city of 1.4 million since a turf battle over border drug corridors unleashed an unprecedented wave of cartel murders and mayhem. Business leaders, citing government tax information, say the exodus could number 110,000, while a municipal group and local university say it's closer to 230,000 and estimates by social organizations are even higher.

The tally is especially hard to track because Juarez is by nature transitory, attracting thousands of workers to high-turnover jobs in manufacturing, or who use the city across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, as a waystation before they slip north illegally.

Only a fool believes this violence will not eventually cross our open border with Mexico.

Another country that objects to U.S. immigration policy

Thousands of desperate Zimbabweans are scrambling to South Africa's registration offices with only a day left to legalise their stay in the country - or face deportation in the New Year.

South African authorities declared in September that they were cracking down on illegal migrants and said any Zimbabweans who had not applied for the necessary papers to live and work here by 31 December would be forced to go home.

But as feared by authorities, many left applying for work or study permits until the last minute.

Long queues this week snaked for two blocks outside a Department of Home Affairs building in central Johannesburg - one of the many offices overwhelmed by large crowds of Zimbabweans.

Many people had spent the night on the pavement, in an attempt to be one of the first to be served when the office opened its doors at 0800.

Thousands of people, including the elderly and women with babies on their backs, braved the scorching heat as the queues inched closer and closer to the entrance.

For some reason, only America is not allowed to enforce its immigration laws.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Another failing left wing regime

Police in Bolivia used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who took to the streets protesting a hike on the price of fuels Monday.

The price of gasoline has risen 73 percent while diesel fuel rose at least 80 percent.

The unions representing the public transit workers called for an indefinite national strike in protest which was partially successful Monday.

Bolivian President Evo Morales defended the increase, saying it was needed partly because of Bolivian fuel being sold illegally to other countries, the state-run news agency ABI reported.

The government had frozen the price of gasoline and diesel for six years and subsidized the cost -- making the fuel a lot cheaper than in neighboring countries.

As a result, trafficking in fuels made it a very profitable business, said Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera.

Every one of these south American left wing authoritarians promising to regulate their people out of poverty eventually makes things worse for the poor.

While we waste our time and effort in Afghanistan . . .

Gunmen believed to be linked to drug cartels killed four police officers and a doctor in apparently coordinated attacks in and around the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, authorities said Thursday.

Three officers were wounded in Wednesday's attacks, said Jorge Domene, a spokesman for the security council in northern Nuevo Leon state, where Monterrey is located.

In one of the attacks, gunmen opened fire on a Monterrey police station, killing a medical doctor who was administering tests to employees at the station and wounding three officers, Domene said.

In two additional, separate attacks carried out within minutes of each other in the Monterrey suburb of Guadalupe, gunmen killed two police officers, a man and a woman.

In the long run, we will be more impacted by events and unrest in northern Mexico than southern Afghanistan.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The corrupt auto czar

Quadrangle investment group founding partner and former Obama "auto czar" Steven Rattner agreed Thursday to pay a $10 million fine in a settlement with the New York attorney general's office over a pension fund scheme.

Rattner was accused of a "pay-to-play" scheme involving New York's pension fund, in which Rattner's Quadrangle allegedly gave kickbacks to officials if they directed state pension money to the fund.

What kind of nonsense to you think this guy tried when he was in charge of billions of taxpayers' dollars and the entire U.S. auto industry with no oversight and no accountability?

More Islamophobia

The latest bloody attack on Iraq's Christians was brutal in its simplicity. Militants left a bomb on the doorstep of the home of an elderly Christian couple and rang the doorbell.

When Fawzi Rahim, 76, and his 78-year-old wife Janet Mekha answered the doorbell Thursday night, the bomb exploded, killing them, Mekha's brother told The Associated Press on Friday. Three other people, apparently passers-by, were wounded.

"When I went there, I found both of them cut to pieces near the gate of their house," said the brother, Falah al-Tabbakh, 47, who had been at a funeral nearby in the eastern Baghdad district of Ghadir. He rushed to his sister's house after neighbors called him, and they told him what happened, he said.

The bombing was among a string of seemingly coordinated attacks Thursday evening that targeted at least seven Christian homes in various parts of Baghdad that wounded at least 13 other people, a week after al-Qaida-linked militants renewed their threats to attack Iraq's Christians.

Remember - - according to Time magazine, the real problem is unreasonable, pervasive, vicious American Islamophobia.