Saturday, April 30, 2011

All immigration talk, no immigration action

During Obama's first two years in office, when his party controlled both houses of congress, Obama made no significant effort to reform immigration law (as promised in 2008).

Now, he's gearing up to run for reelection. So . . .

His immigration overhaul stalled, President Barack Obama is enlisting an array of voices, including Latino entertainment and media stars, to help jump-start legislation and reassure crucial but restless Hispanic voters that he has not abandoned his campaign pledge to change the law.

Does he really think "inviting a dozen influential Spanish-language television anchors and radio personalities" is a substitute for keeping his promises?

The voters, both Anglo and Latino, demanded reform followed by strict enforcement of immigration law. They didn't demand high profile invitations for Eva Longoria, America Ferrera and Don Francisco.

Remember "days not weeks"?

It looks like Obama's adventure in Libya will last years not months.

Moammar Gadhafi has suffered military setbacks in recent days in western Libya, a sign that his grip may be slipping in the very region he needs to cling to power.

His loyalists were driven out of the city of Misrata, a key rebel stronghold in Gadhafi-controlled territory. A NATO airstrike turned parts of his Tripoli headquarters into smoldering rubble. And rebel fighters seized a border crossing, breaking open a supply line to besieged rebel towns in a remote western mountain area.

Front lines have shifted repeatedly in two months of fighting, and the poorly trained, ill-equipped rebels have given no evidence that they could defeat Gadhafi on the battlefield. The Libyan leader has deep pockets, including several billion dollars in gold reserves, that could keep him afloat for months. And his forces continue to bombard Misrata from afar, unleashing a fierce barrage Tuesday against the port area — the city's only lifeline to the world.

Rather than criticise Israel for responding to provocation . . .

maybe the international community can intervene to halt the provocation?

Pro-Palestinian activists said on Tuesday that they are in the final stages of organizing their sea convoy to the Gaza Strip, which is planned to be much bigger than last year's flotilla, which was raided by Israeli forces.

Eight Turks and one Turkish-American died in the botched commando operation on a Turkish boat, the Mavi Marmara, that was part of the flotilla on May 31, 2010. The incident drew world attention to the humanitarian situation in Gaza and plunged ties between former allies Israel and Turkey to a new low.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tunisia's new democracy

Officials of Tunisia's former ruling party in the past 10 years will be barred from standing in elections on July 24, Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi announced Tuesday.

The time limit was cut from the 23 years some groups had asked for following the ouster in January of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled since 1987 and was toppled by a popular uprising.

Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) was regarded as a pillar of the increasingly corrupt and repressive regime he led in the north African country, which has been replaced by a transitional government.

If certain people and parties are not allowed to participate in the election, it is not a democratic election, no matter what the media calls it. It's simply the sign of a new dictatorship.

No one is on our side in Afghanistan

Eight U.S. troops and an American contractor were killed early Wednesday when a veteran Afghan military pilot fired on trainers during a meeting in a military compound near Kabul International Airport.

The Taliban claimed responsibility in what it said was the latest attack by an insurgent infiltrator.,0,3114785.story

The natives just hate us to different degrees.

Why did we dump Mubarak?

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas on Wednesday signed a preliminary agreement on reconciliation during talks in Cairo, paving the way for forming an interim government to prepare for elections.

The Palestinian movements of Fatah and Hamas reached an agreement on all controversial issues including the elections and the formation of the interim government . . .

A source told Xinhua that Egypt will invite Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and other Palestinian factions to Cairo within a week to sign the final agreement which aims at ending the political split between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the West Bank ruled by the Fatah-led PNA.

Mubarak's Egyptian government opposed the Hamas terrorist group.

The U.S. backed opponents of Mubarak now in control of Egypt are using their new found power to support and promote Hamas.

Why did we back these so-called "peaceful democrats"?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who you calling socialist?

Americans depended more on government assistance in 2010 than at any other time in the nation's history, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds. The trend shows few signs of easing, even though the economic recovery is nearly 2 years old.

A record 18.3% of the nation's total personal income was a payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment benefits and other programs in 2010. Wages accounted for the lowest share of income — 51.0% — since the government began keeping track in 1929.

Please remind me why it's unfair to call Obama's policies socialistic.

If Syrians want our help, they need to discover oil

Moved by escalating violence in Syria, European leaders warned Tuesday that they will impose new sanctions on Damascus unless President Bashar al-Assad halts his bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The warnings reflected a growing sense of outrage in European capitals since Assad sent tanks and armored personnel carriers into the rebellious southern city of Daraa on Monday, firing at youths in the street and inflicting a death toll estimated by human rights activists at two dozen.

The killings brought to more than 400 the number of demonstrators killed since the country erupted in anti-government agitation in mid-March. In addition, the use of army tanks was taken as a signal of Assad’s willingness to resort to even more bloodshed in seeking to restore order.

The West invaded Libya, Kuwait and Iraq to "protect democracy" . . . and our oil supplies.

Syria has no significant oil reserves.

The West threatens Syria with sanctions.

If only he cared as much about the country as his reelection

As the high cost of gasoline takes a toll on politics and pocket books, President Barack Obama says he is calling on major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia to increase their oil supplies to help stabilize prices, warning starkly that lack of relief would harm the global economy. . . .

His remarks signaled a broad new appeal in the face of skyrocketing gasoline prices in the United States and they came as he reiterated a call for Congress to repeal oil industry tax breaks. . . .

The White House conceded that plan would do nothing in the short term to lower gasoline prices.

If Obama really believed in what he's saying, he would have made these proposals during the first two years of his administration, when his party controlled both houses of congress and there was a chance of them being enacted. Of course, during that time period, he was paying back his big campaign donors on Wall Street and in the energy industry. Now, he's engaged in political theatre, purely designed to avoid "a toll on politics" and which "the White House concedes . . . would do nothing in the short term to lower gasoline prices."

This is an "attempt to limit political fallout of surging gas prices", not a new energy policy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama releases birth certificate

Wait. Weren't we told for years that Obama "already released his birth certificate", and "already released everything he has" and "there is no long form birth certificate"?

Our ally, Pakistan

Pakistan halted NATO supply shipments to Afghanistan on Saturday after thousands of protesters rallied on the main road to the border to demand Washington stop firing missiles against militants sheltering inside the country.

The stoppage was temporary and the demonstration was held by a small political party seeking a populist boost, but the events highlighted the vulnerability of the supply route running through Pakistan at a time of tensions between Washington and Islamabad.

Much of the non-lethal supplies for foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan come through Pakistan after arriving at the port in the southern city of Karachi. Militants often attack the convoys, and last September Pakistan closed the border for 20 days to protest a NATO helicopter strike inside its borders.

One day, our political and military leaders will have to confront the fact that Pakistan's government and people are not our friends. They are our nuclear armed enemies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is it now okay to call things "radical"?

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that congressional Republicans are pushing a radical plan to trim Medicare and Medicaid, ramping up the rhetoric as he and Congress approach crucial decisions on spending and the nation’s debt.

"I think it’s fair to say that their vision is radical," Obama told a town hall gathering at the headquarters of Facebook, the huge social network company.

"I don’t think it’s particularly courageous," he said of the GOP plan to convert Medicare to a voucher program and make big cuts to the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor.

Remember during the healthcare debate, when the media said it was inappropriate to call Obama and his plans "radical"?

Who controls U.S. troop deployment decisions?

The top U.S. military officer said Friday that Iraq must act very soon if it wants American forces to stay longer in the country, as discussions intensify over whether to keep any troops past this year.

Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters in Baghdad that time is running out for negotiations over an extended American troop presence. He emphasized the U.S. position that it would consider any request by the Iraqi government to keep American forces in the country past their expected Dec. 31 departure date but said that so far Baghdad has not asked the U.S. to do so.

It's amazing - - whether U.S. troops stay in Iraq will be determined by the wishes of the Iraqi, not the American, people.

The threat from Mexico

Crime groups in cahoots with venal army officers are looting military arsenals in Central America, giving them powerful weapons that allow them to outgun police and challenge the region's regular armies.

The weapons run the gamut from assault rifles to anti-tank missiles, some of which the U.S. supplied during regional conflicts more than two decades ago. The slippage from military armories occurs regularly.

The feared Mexican organized crime group known as Los Zetas has stolen weapons from military depots in Guatemala three times in recent years, Guatemalan Deputy Security Minister Mario Castaneda told an anti-narcotics conference in early April in Cancun, Mexico.

In February, U.S. prosecutors unsealed a five-count indictment against a retired army captain from El Salvador for allegedly selling or offering C-4 plastic explosives, assault rifles, grenades and blasting caps to undercover agents.

How long do you think it's going to be before these weapons start to cross our porous unprotected border with Mexico?


In a ruling seen as a setback for women's rights in Pakistan, the country's Supreme Court on Thursday freed five men accused of gang-raping a woman on the orders of a village council.

In 2002, local elders in the Punjab village of Meerwala decreed that Mukhtar Mai, 30 at the time, should be raped in retaliation for her 13-year-old brother's alleged relationship with a woman from a wealthier family.

I guess it's considered racist to point out the brutal and vicious manner in which women are treated in too much of the Muslim world.

Oil and gas price fraud?

With gas prices rising nationwide, the Obama administration said it will investigate the energy markets for any evidence of manipulation of oil and gas prices.

With the average price of a gallon of gas at about $3.84 nationally this week, almost a dollar higher than a year ago, the U.S. Attorney General's office formed the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group to root out cases of fraud and collusion, as well as price manipulation.

"Appointing a commission" does nothing except give Obama an answer to the question, "What are you doing about high gas prices?"

Monday, April 25, 2011


After the establishment of the state of Israel, the nations of the Muslim world ethnically cleansed themselves of Jews, one by one, until there were few Jews left in any Muslim majority nation.

Now, it's the turn of the Christians:

Iraqi Christians marked a restrained Easter weekend as fear of attacks kept many from openly celebrating their most sacred day of the year and church officials urged them not to give up on the country.

At Our Lady of Salvation, where gunmen and suicide bombers killed 52 worshippers and guards last October, the church was tightly locked, guarded by Iraqi police who said the doors would be opened only moments before the Saturday evening mass.

. . . Monsignor Casha, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in the relatively affluent neighborhood of Mansour, said the church had been packed on Palm Sunday a week ago with families doing a procession through the streets around the church.

He said, however, that of the 1,300 families that had been in his parish in 2003, only 500 remained - with a few more leaving every week . . .

Of more than a million Christians in Iraq before 2003, there are believed to be only about 650,000 left. The exodus has raised fears about the future of Christianity in the region where it first took root.

For some reason, we are told that the problem is not violence against Jews and Christians, but Judeo-Christian Islamophobia.

I'm sure the Christian in the White House will do something about this.

Mexicans are afraid of Mexican illegality

The ritual exodus from Mexico City for Easter holidays usually launches around Palm Sunday, then shifts into full gear right about now. This congested capital of about 20 million people virtually empties out, blissfully so for those who remain.

But this year there have been signs that Mexicans were reconsidering their holiday travel patterns. And that bodes ill for public faith in the government's efforts to make the country safe.

With a vicious war against drug cartels claiming hundreds of lives a month, and with that violence moving into traditional tourist areas such as legendary coastal enclave Acapulco, some Mexico City residents have decided it's better to forgo the annual spring trip and stay at home.

Mexicans are afraid of the violence sweeping Mexico . . . but if you want to secure our border with Mexico, you're accused of racism.

It's about time they noticed

He ran as the anti-Bush.

Silver-tongued, not tongue-tied. A team player on the world stage, not a lone cowboy. A man who’d put a stop to reckless Bush policies at home and abroad. In short, Barack Obama represented Change.

Well, that was then. Now, on one major policy after another, President Barack Obama seems to be morphing into George W. Bush.

On the nation’s finances, the man who once ripped Bush as a failed leader for seeking to raise the nation’s debt ceiling now wants to do it himself.

On terrorism, he criticized Bush for sending suspected terrorists to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and denying them access to U.S. civilian courts. Now he says he’ll do the same.

On taxes, he called the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy wrong, and lately began calling again to end them. But in December he signed a deal with Republicans to extend them for two years, and recently he called the entire tax cut package good for the country.

And on war, as a candidate he said that the president didn’t have authority to unilaterally attack a country that didn’t pose an imminent threat to the United States, and even then the president should always seek the informed consent of Congress. Last month, without a vote in Congress, he attacked Libya, which didn’t threaten the United States.

Real Democrats have been saying that since before his inauguration, when he broke his phony "no lobbyist" pledge with his initial appointments to his transition team.

The media is finally noticing now, but they still grade Obama on a curve, with extra points for being cool.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

We have no Middle East policy

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets across Syria today, and the opposition says more than 75 protesters have been killed, in what by many accounts has been the bloodiest day in a five-week-long revolt against the Syrian regime.

"Bullets started flying over our heads like heavy rain," one witness in Izraa, a southern village in Daraa province, told the Associated Press.

Protests were reported across the country -- in the Damascus suburb of Douma, in the central cities of Hama and Homs, in Latakia and Banias on the coast, in the northern cities of Raqqa and Idlib, and in Daraa, where the uprising began a little more than one month ago.

We invade Iraq and Afghanistan. We freely bomb Pakistan and Libya. We support the overthrow of allies in Tunisia and Egypt. But, we allow the slaughter of civilians by our ally in Yemen and our enemies in Syria and Iran.

There is no rhyme or reason to U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Obama's taxes

President Barack Obama is making less money than he used to, though it's still a lot: He and wife Michelle reported income of $1.73 million last year, mostly from the books he's written, according to his just-filed tax return. That was down from the $5.5 million of a year earlier.

The president, who has been campaigning to raise taxes on the wealthy, paid the government $453,770 in federal taxes, about a quarter of the income.

Of course, the Obamas (taking advantage of all available deductions and credits) managed to pay their federal taxes at a lower rate than most middle class families subject to the alternative minimum tax (including me).

The Bidens? They paid 23%, $86,626 in taxes on $379,178 of income, also at a lower rate than the middle class's "minimum tax".

Remember those rich white Duke lacrosse players who raped that poor innocent girl?

Remember when all the civil rights leaders ran to her support, and destroyed educators' careers and those boys' lives before the trial was over?

A North Carolina woman who stirred national headlines when she accused three Duke University student-athletes of rape is now herself accused of murder, a county law enforcement official said Monday.

Crystal Mangum, 32, was charged Monday with murder, five days after her boyfriend succumbed to stabbing-related injuries . . . She also is now facing two felony charges of larceny. . . . .

In March 2006, Mangum claimed she was sexually assaulted by three players on the Duke lacrosse team . . . North Carolina's attorney general later found no credible evidence that the attacks occurred and the charges were dropped.

The scandal, however, forced the cancellation of the men's lacrosse season that year and the resignation of team coach Mike Pressler. It also led to widespread criticism of then-Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, who was eventually disbarred for his handling of the case.

In February 2010, Mangum found herself on the other side of the law when she was charged with attempted murder after a fight with her then-boyfriend. She also was accused of arson, identity theft and resisting arrest, among other charges.

McChrystal v. Rolling Stone

A Pentagon inquiry into a Rolling Stone magazine profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to his dismissal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has cleared him of wrongdoing.

The inquiry's results, released Monday, also called into question the accuracy of the magazine's report last June, which quoted anonymously people around McChrystal making disparaging remarks about members of President Obama's national-security team, including Vice President Joe Biden.

At the time he dismissed McChrystal, Obama said the general had fallen short of "the standard that should be set by a commanding general."

Which is worse: (a) that the White House is so desperate to appear hip and cool that it allowed a Rolling Stone reporter to "imbed" on the staff of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan (with unlimited access); or, (2) that military personnel and policy in Afghanistan were subsequently shuffled on the basis of inaccurate and unattributed statements by unnamed sources in the subsequent article in Rolling Stone?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thank you Jenny and Oprah . . .

and Imus and all the other ill informed uneducated know nothing celebrities spreading the "vaccines cause autism" lie:

A small, private Floyd County school has closed for the week after more than half its students became ill with whooping cough.

At least 30 people associated with Blue Mountain School have been diagnosed with the highly contagious disease, also called pertussis, including 23 of its 45 students, said Shelly Emmett, the alternative school's director. . . .

Pertussis is an infection characterized by coughing fits that can last for up to 10 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause serious illness and can be life-threatening, especially in infants. It gets the whooping cough name because the violent and rapid coughing can continue until the air is gone from the lungs, forcing an inhalation with a loud "whoop" sound.

The outbreak was caused by not properly vaccinating people against the disease, O'Dell said, noting that a subset of the population does not follow vaccination recommendations.

"For those of us who are advocates of vaccination, this reminds us to stay vigilant," she said. "This is a good wake-up call to remind us why adults and children need to be vaccinated. This is why we advocate for immunization."

There are several components to the anti-vaccine movement. Some people choose not to immunize their children out of concerns that the vaccines cause harm. Others disagree with the recommended timetable, and some cite religious reasons.

If and when any of these kids dies a slow and painful death from a completely preventable disease, will the parents take comfort in the knowledge that Dr. Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Don Imus have a sort of kind of hunch based on discredited "research" that vaccines cause autism?

Different rules for Obama

Obama Calls GOP Medicare, Spending Plan 'Radical'

Commenting on President Obama's budget speech of yesterday, Halperin observed that if a Republican had called a Dem budget un-American, in the same way that PBO pummeled Republican proposals, the MSM "would be up in arms."

Joe Scarborough added that it was simply bad politics for the president to give Paul Ryan a front-row seat, only to insult his proposals as un-American and lacking courage or realism.

I always thought it was wrong to call political opponents radical, un-American and cowardly.

It was when Dick Cheney did it.

It is when Obama does it.

Death sought for Guantanamo detainee

The Defense Department announced Wednesday that it is seeking the death penalty against a Guantanamo Bay detainee in connection with the USS Cole bombing in Yemen more than a decade ago.

Military prosecutors have re-filed terrorism and murder charges against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, of Saudi Arabia, the first case to move forward since President Obama ordered military trials to resume at Guantanamo Bay. . . .

Al-Nashiri had been waterboarded during the Bush administration.

The candidate who pledged to end military tribunals, try terror suspects in civilian courts, close Guantanamo and end torture is now the President seeking the death penalty in a military trial of a tortured Guantanamo inmate.


Supply and demand

Existing home sales hit a six-year high in South Florida in March, as sellers got creative to make their properties stand out in the crowd. Prices, though, remain low. . . .

In Miami-Dade County, existing home sales reached 1,031 in the single-family market and 1,542 in the condo market in March, up 59 percent and 85 percent, respectively, over last year. According to a report released by the Miami Association of Realtors on Wednesday, those were the highest sales totals since the 2005 buying frenzy.

Broward also reached new six-year highs in March, with 1,169 home sales and 1,837 condo sales, increases of 8 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Unreasonably high home prices resulted in a market crash, which began to recover once home prices again reflected true values, which in turn increased demand.

You can adopt any number of government programs and price supports, but the market rules of supply and demand always win in the end.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Libyan slaughter bad, Yemeni slaughter good

Yemeni security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters Tuesday, killing at least three amid rising international concern over the strategically located nation.

We're bombing Libya to stop the Libyan government from doing what the Yemeni government is doing with weapons we gave Yemen.

Obama's Libyan adventure is still going badly

NATO military commanders conceded Tuesday they are unable to stop Muammar Gadhafi's shelling of the rebel-held city of Misrata, where hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, while Britain said it will dispatch senior military officers to advise the opposition.

Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, has been under siege for nearly two months, with rebels holding on to seaside positions in the port area. In recent days, Libyan troops have pounded the city with shells and rockets.

In other words, we can't stop the very thing we tried to stop by starting an air war over Libya.

Thank God the "anti-war" candidate won!

South of the border, down Mejico way

Mexico's Defense Department reports it's captured nine more suspects in the killings of at least 145 people whose bodies were found starting early this month in pits in the border state of Tamaulipas.

The suspects were captured Monday in the Tamaulipas state capital, Ciudad Victoria. Three guns were seized during the arrests. They included alleged members of the Zetas cartel. Four of the suspects are women.

The Zetas allegedly pulled passengers off buses in the township of San Fernando in late March, possibly as part of a forced recruitment effort.

The statement said the suspects confessed to participating in the kidnapping of bus passengers by the Zetas "so that a member of that organization could select people." The statement did not specify what they were being selected for.

If we don't keep Mexican illegal immigrants out of our country, we won't be able to keep Mexican narco terrorists out of our country.

Remember, you can only use the word "retarded" . . .

if you're a "progressive" comedian or politico and you're referring to Sarah Palin's child.

Otherwise, it's inappropriate.

P.S. - Don't hold your breath waiting for a Kennedy or a Shriver to issue a statement defending Palin's kid from their headquarters at the Special Olympics and Best Buddies.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Oklahoma City bombing memorial

Antonio Cooper Sr. walked across a field of empty chairs that represent the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, occasionally stopping to read names inscribed in glass panes as he searched for the one dedicated to his 6-month-old son, Antonio Cooper Jr.

"I feel it's a necessity to be here," Cooper said Tuesday as he strapped a colorful bouquet of spring flowers to the chair bearing his son's name on the 16th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the worst domestic terror attack in U.S. history and the deadliest on U.S. soil before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The boy's grandmother, Wanda McNeely, wept softly as she placed a beige stuffed bear on the metal chair that stands on the federal building's former site. McNeely said the death of her grandson still evokes strong emotions and observing the anniversary of the April 19, 1995, attack doesn't get easier with the passing years.

"It weighed heavily on my heart," she said as tears streamed down her cheeks. "But I couldn't tear myself not to come."

Cooper wore a red T-shirt bearing the smiling image of his young son that read "Our Lil' Angel" as he and more than 300 other people attended ceremonies at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on the anniversary of the bombing that killed 168 people, including his son and 17 other children who were being cared for at a day care center on the building's second floor.

If you haven't been to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, go.

I hope the eventual World Trade Center Memorial in New York is half as dignified and moving.

Federal preemption isn't just for immigration

The Supreme Court justices indicated Tuesday they would throw out a huge global warming lawsuit brought by six states against coal-fired power plants in the South and Midwest. And they would do so with the support of the Obama administration.

Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal urged the justices to end the lawsuit, insisting the problem of global warming and greenhouse gases is too big and unwieldy for a single judge to handle. It is a regulatory problem for the Environmental Protection Agency, he said.

When Arizona tried to deal with the problem of illegal immigration, all the progressives ran to court, shouting, "Federal preemption!"

I wonder how they're going to feel when that's the answer they get regarding state environmental laws.

New U.S. pressure on Israel

The U.S. is once more pressing Israel's leader "to lay out his vision for restarting peace talks" with the Palestinians, i.e., "to unveil a new peace plan".

Put aside for a minute the question of why the nation defending itself owes a peace offer to the people shooting anti tank missiles at school buses.

The really confusing question is the timing.

American Jews tend to gather twice per year, during the High Holy Days in the fall and during Passover in the spring, i.e., now.

Who in the White House decided to pressure Israel now, during Passover, when Jews gather and tend to talk and discuss issues of concern to the Jewish community?

It's as if they were looking for a way to intentionally insult and turn off an important part of the Democratic base at the most inopportune time.

Cuba: Meet the new boss . . .

same as the old boss.

Cuba's Communist Party chose the old guard to oversee a new economic course for the Caribbean island on Tuesday, selecting President Raul Castro and First Vice President Jose Machado Ventura to lead the country's highest political body.

The choice of Castro, who replaces his older brother Fidel Castro as first secretary of the ruling party's Central Committee, was expected.

But Machado Ventura's appointment as second secretary would likely disappoint Cubans and others hoping for new blood at the top of one of the last communist states in the world. He is viewed as a hardline communist ideologue.

The two aging communists will preside over the implementation of wide-ranging reforms to the island's struggling Soviet-style economy approved on Monday at the party's first congress in 14 years.

Castro, 79, and Machado Ventura, 80, fought in Cuba's 1959 revolution and head the aging revolutionaries who have run the government for more than half a century since they helped topple U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Change will come to Cuba when the Castros either die or are overthrown, and not before.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The peaceful part of Iraq

The police opened fire Sunday on stone-throwing crowds protesting government corruption in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, and seven people were struck by gunfire, according to a doctor here. Another 28 were injured by rocks or hospitalized with breathing problems caused by tear gas, the doctor said.

It was the latest protest to turn violent in Sulaimaniya, 160 miles northeast of Baghdad in the normally peaceful Kurdish region, where demonstrations calling for political and economic reforms have been held nearly every day during the last several months.

Yes, police opened fire on stone-throwing crowds protesting government corruption, seven people were struck by gunfire, and another 28 were injured by rocks or hospitalized with breathing problems caused by tear gas "in the normally peaceful Kurdish region". Imagine what happens daily in the unsafe violent regions.

Drug testing welfare recipients

Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing.

The effort comes as more Americans turn to these safety nets to ride out the recession. Poverty and civil liberties advocates fear the strategy could backfire, discouraging some people from seeking financial aid and making already desperate situations worse.

Those in favor of the drug tests say they are motivated out of a concern for their constituents' health and ability to put themselves on more solid financial footing once the economy rebounds. But proponents concede they also want to send a message: you don't get something for nothing.

If you want to sit around and get high all day, that's fine.

But, do it with your money, not mine.

Air traffic controllers sleeping on the job

Air-traffic controllers will be given longer breaks between shifts under new anti-fatigue rules announced Sunday, but the nation's Transportation secretary appeared to shut the door on the solution some scientists say would best address the recent spate of sleeping controllers: carefully controlled naps. . . .

Stung by the sixth incident involving a sleeping or unresponsive controller this year — this time at a large facility in Miami early Saturday morning — the Federal Aviation Administration announced that controllers would be given at least nine hours off between shifts instead of the current eight-hour minimum. Controllers also will be prohibited from switching shifts with another employee unless they have had at least nine hours off.

If air traffic controllers are allowed to work with only eight or nine hours between shifts, it's not the employees' fault if they fall asleep on the job. It's the bosses who should be fired.

The worst marketing decision ever

The worst marketing decision ever was made by those who decided to call it "global warming" instead of something like "catastrophic climate change".

It's hard to get upset about "global warming" when it's still snowing in the Midwest in late April.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is Alaskan fish safe?

North Pacific fish are so unlikely to be contaminated by radioactive material from the crippled nuclear plant in Japan that there's no reason to test them, according to federal and state of Alaska health officials. Dangerous levels of radiation have been reported off the coast from the Fukushima reactor complex. However, a spokeswoman for the federal Food and Drug Administration told the Anchorage Daily News newspaper that the ocean is so huge, and Alaska fisheries so far away, that there is no realistic threat.

"[S]o unlikely to be contaminated by radioactive material . . . that there's no reason to test"?

My suggestion is to have these inspectors and their families eat nothing but the fish they say there's no reason to test.

Are we losing in Libya?

Troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday shelled the rebel-held city of Ajdabiya, a strategic eastern town that has been the scene of fierce fighting in recent weeks. The government bombardment of Ajdabiya marked a setback for the rebels, who were forced to retreat a day after having advanced as far as the outskirts of the oil town of Brega, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) to the west. . . . The NATO-led air campaign has kept rebels from being defeated on the battlefield by the better trained and equipped government forces, but it still has not been enough to completely turn the tide. The rebels have been unable to reach Gaddafi's heavily defended hometown of Sirte, the gateway to the regime-controlled western half of the country.

Some will say we're not losing, it's a stalemate.

Because we pledged to remove Gaddafi, that would mean failure.

Libya but not Belarus

When terrorists bomb a former republic of the defunct Soviet Union like they did to a subway station here last Monday — killing 13 people and wounding 200 others — the government usually focuses on Islamist jihadists as the culprits. . . .

There is growing fear that the man that the George W. Bush administration called “Europe’s last dictator” will use the terrorist attack as an excuse to crush the politicians who are fighting for a democracy in this country of 10 million. While other former Soviet republics have moved toward democracy, Lukashenko is pining for the past, his opponents say.

So England and France bomb Libya in north Africa but not Belarus in Europe.


Forget democracy. There's no oil in Belarus.

The Gulf spill aftermath

For all the nonstop news coverage of the massive oil spill that fouled the Gulf of Mexico after an explosion at an offshore rig a year ago Wednesday, there is still much about the damage that's not visible to the naked eye — at least not yet. . . .

For instance, government and university scientists are still trying to reach consensus on where all the oil went. . . .

Research is providing some answers about the short-term impact the spill had on the health of both humans and the Gulf Coast marshes. So far, the results are encouraging. The final verdict may have to await results of longer-term studies.

Meanwhile, efforts to resume drilling continue, even as some experts say new safeguards in place to prevent another spill don't go far enough.

If no one knows the human and environmental health costs of deep water oil spills, why would we permit deep water oil drilling at this time?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

BP to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?

BP PLC is in talks to resume drilling at 10 existing deep-water Gulf of Mexico wells in exchange for adhering to stricter safety rules, company officials said.

The world's No. 3 oil and gas company, which has 20 oilfields in the gulf, hopes to reach an agreement within a month and restart several projects in July . . .

BP's petition comes ahead of the April 20 anniversary of the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon rig that BP had leased for an exploration well called Macondo Prospect.

The blowout killed 11 workers and injured 17 others, set the rig on fire and triggered the petroleum industry's largest marine oil spill, gushing for three months.

The leak was stopped July 15 after it released about 4.9 million barrels, or nearly 206 million gallons, of crude oil.

Any government official issuing a Gulf drilling permit to BP should be driven from office.

We're paying protection to the Taliban

The U.S. will pour another $50 million into efforts to woo Taliban members in Afghanistan to lay down their arms.

Karl W. Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, announced the new funding on Tuesday (April 5) in a news conference in Kabul, The Washington Post reports. He said the money will be used to facilitate meetings between the Afghan government and the rebels, finance community development projects and job training programs, and support those who abandon fighting. The pledge supports an effort by the Afghan government to reintegrate Taliban members who had severed ties with terrorists and now recognize the country’s constitution.

So far, about 2,000 former fighters have signed up for the program.

We went into Afghanistan to punish those responsible for the 9/11 attack upon America.

Almost ten years later, we're giving them millions of dollars in hush money.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Four die in Gaza in collapse of non existent tunnel

A smuggling tunnel beneath the Gaza-Egypt border collapsed Tuesday, killing four Palestinians, medical personnel said.

Hamas authorities said the men suffocated while working on the tunnel, The New York Times reported. They said the tunnel had been hit by an Israeli missile several days earlier, the U.S. newspaper said.

Tunnels used for smuggling have turned deadly in the past, with people dying when overcome by fumes while moving fuel into Gaza.

That's weird - - Hamas denies they smuggle terrorists and weapons through these tunnels.

And, some Palestinian authorities and supporters deny the tunnels exist.

So, how could 4 die in a non existent tunnel doing something they don't do?

Restaurant menus to post calorie content?

The Food & Drug Administration proposed a menu labeling rule on Friday, which if passed, would require restaurants with 20 locations or more to post calorie counts on their menus. Operators of more than 20 vending machines would also have to do the same.

Obviously, there is a business cost attached to the enactment of this proposal.

And, just as obviously, unhealthy and over weight people already know that Big Macs and stuffed crust pizza are no good for them.

So, at a not insignificant cost, this regulation would accomplish little - - other than making certain people feel that they're "doing something about the problem".

Did the burning of a Koran incite mob violence?

It was wrong to burn a Koran - - rude and stupid and just plain bad manners.

And, the Koran burning (at a small unknown and unnoticed backwoods redneck church) was followed by violence.

But, we now know that the unnoticed, unpublicized Koran burning did not incite the mob violence.

Those exploiting medieval backwards fundamentalist religious beliefs for their own political purposes incited the mob violence which followed the Koran burning.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Tribal elders" killed by suicide bomber in Afghanistan

A suicide bomber detonated his vest full of explosives in northeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing 10 people, including five schoolboys and an influential tribal elder and former military commander who supported the Afghan government.

The target of the midday bombing in Kunar province was Malik Zareen, a leader of Afghan forces during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, a provincial police chief said.

The police chief, Khalilullah Ziayi, said seven others were also wounded in the blast in the province's Asmar district.

"Unfortunately, the suicide attacker targeted a local council meeting of the tribal elders," he said.

I will never understand how our government leaders can believe that we can bring 21st century secular freedom and democracy to people still ruled by councils of "tribal elders".

Bad news for dictators (and their victims)

Ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were detained Wednesday for investigation of corruption, abuse of power and killings of protesters, bringing cheers of victory from activists who hoped it marked a turning point in Egypt’s turbulent transition to democracy.

The 82-year-old Mubarak was under detention in a hospital, a step prosecutors depicted as a precaution to monitor his health while under questioning.

His sons Gamal, once seen as Mubarak’s successor, and Alaa, a wealthy businessman, were jailed in Cairo’s Torah prison, where a string of former top regime figures — including Mubarak’s prime minister, ruling party chief and chief of staff — are already languishing, facing similar corruption investigations.

If you were an Arab dictator and read this story, would you: (1) resign in the face of peaceful protests to avoid unnecessary violence and bloodshed; or, (2) fight to the death to preserve your power and the safety of your family?

This is bad news for those still living under dictatorial regimes.

The newest (but not the last) Obama deficit reduction plan

President Barack Obama's proposal to cut projected budget deficits is an attempt to buy time for the government, for the economy and for himself.

By tripling the plan he rolled out just two months ago, Obama tried to persuade wavering members of Congress to approve an increase in the government's debt ceiling that's critical to keep the government from defaulting.

By putting off much of the pain, Obama hoped to leave more time for the fragile economic recovery to take hold.

And by framing his pitch as a middle ground between Republican opposition to tax increases on the wealthy and rising liberal anxiety over spending cuts, he hoped to appeal to independent voters who hold the key to his own re-election next year.

For a guy who promised to move beyond petty partisan politics, Obama sure seems to play alot of petty partisan political games.

Maybe Obama's third deficit reduction plan (after this second plan in two months flops, too) will focus on what's best for the nation's finances rather than on "his own re-election next year".

The wrong way to get rid of a dictator

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was abruptly hospitalized Tuesday for heart problems during an investigation over allegations of corruption and violence against protesters, reported state TV. . . .

The 82-year-old Mubarak was deposed Feb. 11 after 18 days of popular protests and has been under house arrest in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the last two months. The public prosecutor announced Monday he was under investigation.

Dozens of demonstrators picketed the hospital, denouncing the president and carrying a sign reading "Here is the butcher." They scuffled briefly with supporters of Mubarak amid a massive security presence. . . .

An investigation of Mubarak's son, Gamal, is also underway in Sharm el-Sheikh, the minister added in comments carried by Egypt's state news agency.

The best way to guarantee dictators refuse to resign peacefully is to go after them and their families after they resign.

These actions by Egypt only encourage the violent efforts to maintain power by authoritarians in Libya, Yemen, Syria and the rest of the world.

Incumbent protection with taxpayer funds

Alarmed by an apparent increase of angry voters looking to boot their mayors out of office, the organization that represents the elected officials is going on the offensive.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is fighting back against a spike in recall elections with a documentary, "Recall Fever," and a public awareness initiative that aims to arm targeted mayors with more information.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is a largely taxpayer funded group (the cities pay dues from municipal funds) which is spending taxpayer money on an informational campaign to help incumbents keep their jobs.

That's pretty close to illegal.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

US troops could remain in Iraq after 2011

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, visiting Iraq on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, said Friday the United States could extend its troop presence in the country beyond the scheduled 2011 pullout.

Gates said that if Iraq wants American troops to remain, a deal could be negotiated for the long term or for as little as two or three years.

With 20/20 hindsight, it is clear that there is no difference between the Iraq policies of Bush, McCain and Obama.

Iraq will be like Germany - - sixty + years after the war ends, we will still have troops in permanent bases.

White washing history

Members of the Kennedy family gathered with former staff members and elected officials on a blustery stretch of Boston's oceanfront Friday to break ground on the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

The institute will feature a replica of the Senate chamber where the Massachusetts Democrat served for 47 years until his death from brain cancer in 2009. It will be located adjacent to John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in the city's Dorchester section.

I wonder if they will have replicas of the cabinet where he kept his whiskey, or the desk under which he messed around with female interns.

Those sophisticated French

The world's first ban on Islamic face veils took effect Monday in France, meaning that women may bare their breasts in Cannes but not cover their faces on the Champs-Elysees.

Two veiled women were hauled off from a Paris protest within hours of the new ban. Their unauthorized demonstration, on the cobblestone square facing Notre Dame Cathedral, was rich with both the symbolism of France's medieval history and its modern spirit of defiance.

While some see encroaching Islamophobia in the new ban, President Nicolas Sarkozy's government defended it as a rampart protecting France's identity against inequality and extremism. Police grumbled that it will be hard to enforce.

Remember back when the media was always lecturing about how bigoted and backward and provincial Americans were compared to the worldly and sophisticated French?

More Islamophobia?

A computer technician from northern Virginia pleaded guilty Monday and was sentenced to 23 years in prison for joining what he thought was an al-Qaeda plot to bomb the Washington region's Metrorail system.

Farooque Ahmed, 35, from Ashburn, Va., apologized for his actions at a plea hearing in U.S. District Court after his lawyer explained that Ahmed had succumbed to a government sting operation after being seduced by violent extremist rhetoric from a radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, and others.

"All I can say is I'm sorry. It was the wrong action," Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, told the judge in a low, halting voice.

Another fundamentalist Islamist from a Muslim country is found to be involved in terrorism . . . but we're not allowed to draw any conclusions.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Radioactivity made in Japan

Trace amounts of the radioactive element Iodine-131 from the Japan nuclear disaster have been detected in South Florida, but authorities say the concentrations remain far below the level that would present any danger.,0,3214679.story?track=rss

First, we were told it wouldn't spread.

Then, we were told it would safely disburse.

Now, we're finding it all over the world.

Why should we believe the "experts", currently saying it's "far below the level that would present any danger", when they've been wrong about everything so far?

More evidence of "success" in Iraq?

At least 15 people and perhaps as many as 45 were killed Tuesday when gunmen posing as Iraqi security troops stormed the Salahuddin provincial council building in the city of Tikrit and took dozens of people hostage, including members of the council.

News reports said the gunmen executed at least three members of the council, which meets Tuesdays, and set their bodies on fire before detonating themselves. Death tolls varied wildly. At least 60 people were injured.

No group took responsibility for the attack, though suspicion immediately fell on the Sunni Muslim insurgent group al-Qaida in Iraq.

If, after all these years of U.S. involvement, al-Qaida in Iraq is still capable of such an outrage in broad daylight, we have accomplished nothing.

Oppression of Christians in China

Beijing police on Sunday detained dozens of worshippers from an unapproved Christian church who were trying to hold services in a public space after they were evicted from their usual place of worship, a parishioner said.

Leaders of the unregistered Shouwang church had told members to gather at an open-air venue in Beijing for Sunday morning services, but police, apparently alerted to their plans, taped off the area and took away people who showed up to take part.

China's Communist government allows worship only in state-approved churches, but many Christians belong to unregistered congregations. Such "house churches" are subjected to varying degrees of harassment by authorities.

More than 60 million Christians are believed to worship in China's independent churches, compared with about 20 million who worship in the state church, according to scholars and church activists.

60 million "unregistered" Christians are oppressed in China.

No one raises a voice in protest.

But, burn one Koran in a tiny backwoods redneck church . . .

Pity Africa

After weeks of scattered clashes that left hundreds dead, rebel militias in southern Sudan have united in a new armed movement against the young southern government, raising the prospect of civil war even before South Sudan declares independence in July. . . .

The formation of the new rebel coalition confirms fears that the spreading patchwork of miniature insurgencies would coalesce under a single coordinated campaign against the southern military, posing an existential threat to the world's newest nation before it even officially comes on the scene.

To stop the genocide in Darfur, the international community split Sudan in two.

Now, the southern half appears to be ready to violently split again, before it's first government is sworn in.

Most of Africa is ungovernable.

Anti nuclear activists

Greenpeace activists protest against nuclear power plant projects in front of Swiss utilities Alpiq's headquarters in Olten March 31, 2011. About 50 Greenpeace protestors held a demonstration on Thursday calling for the company to withdraw its application to build a new nuclear plant.

"Activists" are responding to the tragedy in Japan by protesting all nuclear power anywhere.

In fact, the lesson of Japan's earthquake and tsunami is that nuclear power is unsafe in regions of seismic activity.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Administration officials having second thoughts on Iraq withdrawal?

Eight months shy of its deadline for pulling the last American soldier from Iraq and closing the door on an 8-year war, the Pentagon is having second thoughts.

Reluctant to say it publicly, officials fear a final pullout in December could create a security vacuum, offering an opportunity for power grabs by antagonists in an unresolved and simmering Arab-Kurd dispute, a weakened but still active al-Qaida or even an adventurous neighbor such as Iran.

The U.S. wants to keep perhaps several thousand troops in Iraq, not to engage in combat but to guard against an unraveling of a still-fragile peace. This was made clear during Defense Secretary Robert Gates' visit Thursday and Friday in which he and the top U.S. commander in Iraq talked up the prospect of an extended U.S. stay.

Aren't you glad the "anti war candidate" reappointed Bush's secretary of defense and adopted the Bush / Cheney war plan?

Is Trump the administration's new enemy in chief?

Senior White House adviser David Plouffe says real estate tycoon and prospective GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is displaying "sideshow behavior" in questioning President Barack Obama's American birth and respect for the Constitution.

Plouffe said, "There's zero chance" Trump would be "hired" by the American people as president. Plouffe's comment, a riff on Trump's business-themed reality TV show, came after he was asked on ABC "This Week" about the tycoon's recent swipes at Mr. Obama.

For some reason, this administration loves to get into celebrity feuds with people they should ignore, first Limbaugh, then Beck, and now Trump.

It really is beneath the dignity of the office.

Farrakhan loves Gaddafi

Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of Nation of Islam (NOI) in the U.S., has defended his "brother” Moammar Gaddafi and blasted U.S. military action in Libya.

Farrakhan held a press conference at the Mosque Maryam, the international headquarters of the Nation of Islam in Chicago, which was purchased in 1972 with the help of a $3 million loan from Gaddafi himself, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"It is a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can't recognize him as that," Farrakhan said. "Even though the current tide is moving against him ... how can I refuse to raise my voice in his defense? Why would I back down from those who have given so much?"

Remember, Obama's radical pastor at his radical church in Chicago regularly praised and honored Farrakhan.

Is our Libyan adventure already failing?

Fresh battlefield setbacks by rebels seeking to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are hardening a U.S. view that the poorly equipped opposition is probably incapable of prevailing without decisive Western intervention — either an all-out U.S.-led military assault on regime forces or a decision to arm the rebels.

We don't need to throw away more American lives and more American dollars in yet another ground war in the Muslim world.

How can you tell Obama lost the budget battle?

All the columnists from the New York Times and the talking heads on MSNBC are saying, "Let's not talk about who won or lost, let's talk about the issues!"

The war in Iraq was a waste of lives and money

By the time the war in Iraq ends (if ever), we will have sacrificed thousands of young American lives and spent trillions of dollars. The Iraqi response:

A powerful anti-American Shiite cleric threatened Saturday to reactivate his feared militia if American soldiers remain in Iraq beyond this year, after a U.S. offer to keep troops on if they are needed.

Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement to his followers on the eight anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster that stopped just short of calling for violent action against U.S. forces.

He accused "the occupation" of inciting panic, corruption and unrest among Iraqis. His statement was read aloud at a huge protest of tens of thousands in Baghdad's Mawal Square, near al-Sadr's stronghold in an eastern Baghdad slum. The cleric is in Iran, where he has been studying religion for the last several years.

As we leave, one of the first enemies we fought in Iraq will be left in power, with Iran's support, kicking us out the door.

What a waste.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Afghanistan: It would be funny . . .

if it wasn't so sad.
Taliban militants have abducted about 50 young men who wanted to join the national police in the eastern province of Kunar, security officials said Sunday. "These were youths from Vaigal district of Nuristan province who came to the provincial center in hopes of joining the police force," Gen. Shamsul Rehman Zahid Nuristani, the police chief for the Nuristan province, said of the abductions, which took place Saturday. Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban insurgents, claimed responsibility for the abductions in a statement posted on their website, but asserted that the would-be recruits were police. "Today around noon time 50 police of the puppet regime, all unarmed, who came from Nuristan province to this area, were arrested during an armed ambush in Kunar province," the statement said.

In one attack, our enemy kidnaps dozens of men we recruited to fight them.

We've accomplished almost nothing in almost a decade of war in Afghanistan.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More Afghan killings in response to Koran burning in Florida

Suicide attackers stormed a police compound with AK-47s, grenades and an explosives-rigged ambulance in southern Afghanistan Thursday in an escalation of fighting that coincides with demonstrations — some of them deadly — over the burning of a Quran in Florida.

Six Afghan security troopers died in the attack in Kandahar province. Riots in the same province incited by the Quran burning killed 10 people on Saturday, part of a wave of protests that has forced international aid organizations and embassies to virtually lock down their facilities for more than a week. More protests are expected Friday.

Last month's Koran burning in Florida was stupid, idiotic and insensitive.

But, not half as stupid, idiotic and insensitive as responding to the provocation by going on a murderous rampage like a bunch of medieval fanatics.

A "nuclear factory" in Iran?

An exiled Iranian opposition group says its spies have found a major parts factory for Iran's uranium enrichment machines, a critical part of Tehran's secretive nuclear program. The Mujahedeen-e Khalq said Thursday that over the past 4 1/2 years Iran's Defence Ministry has secretly used a factory west of Tehran to produce parts for tens of thousands of enrichment centrifuges. These machines can make low-enriched uranium fuel for nuclear power plants or highly-enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.

Of course, don't expect the Obama administration to so much as express concern that the fundamentalist radicals in Iran have a "nuclear factory". Obama is too busy "reaching out" "to reset the relationship" with Iran.

President Boehner

He controls one half of one of the three branches of government . . . and he won the budget battle.

And those who called his proposals "extreme"? They voted for them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

More Cuban dissidents sent into exile

A plane carrying 37 recently freed Cuban political prisoners and their families has landed in Madrid, officials say.

They arrived on a flight chartered by the Spanish government as the final part of a deal brokered by the Catholic Church to free Cuban dissidents.

The deal, agreed in July 2010, saw Cuba agree to free 52 people held in jail after being rounded up in 2003.

Spain's El Pais newspaper says 115 ex-prisoners are now in exile in Spain.

Sending your political opponents from prison to exile is not a sign of democratisation or progress.

It's a sign of Cuba's continuing oppression of freedom and liberty.

No U.S. troops on the ground in Libya . . . yet

Then: "President Obama is still doing his best to avoid entanglement in Libya: He said Friday that U.S. ground troops will not deploy in Libya and that force will not be used beyond protecting civilians."

Now: "The U.S. may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, the former U.S. commander of the military mission said Thursday, describing the ongoing operation as a stalemate that is more likely to go on now that America has handed control to NATO."

You know it's only a matter of time before U.S. ground troops are in Libya . . . if they're not there already.

14,315 "lost" votes in Wisconsin?

A conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice is likely to keep his job after a county clerk announced Thursday that she found 7,500 more votes for him, putting the incumbent ahead of a challenger who declared victory on Wednesday.

The election drew national attention because it was seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, which sparked huge protests and has been put on hold by a judge. . . .

Then Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nicklaus announced that she had left out the 14,315 votes cast in the city of Brookfield in the totals she released Tuesday night. Prosser added 7,403 votes and gained more than 100 elsewhere in the county, putting him slightly ahead of Kloppenburg.

Of course, according to the media, the Walker forces are fascist and the unions are the voices of democracy. But now it appears the union side was caught trying to steal a state supreme court election so that the court could invalidate Gov. Walker's legislative program.

Doesn't this tend to support the argument that public employees unions are too powerful and corrupt?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

So much for getting the corrupting influence of money out of politics

Facing an energized Republican Party and deep-pocketed conservative groups, President Obama is kicking off his 2012 reelection campaign with a concerted push for help from wealthy donors and liberal groups unbound by spending limits.

The strategy — which could begin in earnest as early as Monday with the formation of an official presidential committee — suggests a notable shift in emphasis for a president who has long decried the outsize role of money in politics.

Obama frequently points with pride to the role that smaller donors played in his 2008 election, when his campaign also openly discouraged spending by outside organizations. But now Obama finds himself seeking out the kind of big-money donations he has often criticized while encouraging independent groups to raise and spend unlimited money on his behalf.

In other words, the man who allegedly ran against big money and lobbyists is now their captive.

Of course, the media blames it on "an energized Republican Party and deep-pocketed conservative groups" making him do it.

2012 will be dirty

In picking Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to head up the national Democratic party as he runs for re-election, President Barack Obama is getting a fierce competitor and an unabashed liberal who is certain to energize the party’s base.

Obama asked the 44-year-old Broward Democrat on Tuesday to chair the Democratic National Committee, which is central to his efforts to win another term.

The selection of the young, rising female star is a recognition of Wasserman Schultz’s political skills — and Florida’s clout in the presidential election. By 2012, the state will have 29 electoral college votes, making it the nation’s biggest swing state.

Wasserman Schultz, a prolific fundraiser and passionate campaigner, had been one of the top contenders to head the DNC with current chair and Obama ally Tim Kaine stepping down to run for an open Senate seat in Virginia.

There are two ways for a president to run for reelection - - appeal to the middle, and ask to be rewarded for a job well down (think Reagan in '84 or Clinton in '96) or make a hyper partisan appeal to your political base (think Bush in '04 running on "God, gays and guns").

By picking Wasserman Schultz, Obama showed that he intends to go hyper partisan.

You can now expect an 18 month campaign on themes such as "budget cuts kill children and old people".

Don't expect serious policy discussions.

P.S. - It started already:

It’s a sound bite that hasn’t gotten much play in media circles, except on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” but incoming Democratic National Committee chairman Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had some disparaging words for Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s new budget proposal.

Following the roll-out of Ryan’s FY2012 budget resolution, “The Path to Prosperity,” Wasserman Schultz called it a “death trap for seniors.”

Yup, the party which criticised the use of the phrase "death panels" to describe Obamacare picked a chair who describes budget cuts as a "death trap".

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our ally Japan dumps nuclear waste

Workers were pumping more than 3 million gallons of contaminated water from Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear power complex into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, freeing storage space for even more highly radioactive water that has hampered efforts to stabilize the plant's reactors. . . .

Radioactivity is quickly diluted in the ocean, and government officials said the dump should not affect the safety of seafood in the area.

I have a suggestion for safety inspectors and government officials who tell us that "radioactivity is quickly diluted in the ocean" and "should not affect the safety of seafood in the area" of the nuclear dump - - go for a swim in those waters and feed that seafood to your family.

I might believe them after they do that.

Our ally Afghanistan kills U.S. soldiers

An Afghan policeman shot and killed two American soldiers Monday in northern Afghanistan, the province's deputy governor said, and protests flared for a fourth straight day in several Afghan cities and towns over an American pastor's burning of the Koran.

The slain Americans were military trainers working in Faryab province, a once-calm area where insurgents have gained a greater foothold over the last year. The episode, the latest in which a member of the Afghan security forces has turned a weapon on Western mentors, pointed up the daunting obstacles to transforming the Afghan police and army into a loyal and professional fighting force.,0,2771037.story

Our children are dying for people who kill us when our backs are turned - - in this case, incited by the Afghan president we fight to keep in power.

Our ally Yemen kills more protesters

The long and incendiary reign of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh shows no sign of ending quietly as fresh bloodshed threatens the nation amid efforts by U.S. and European officials to ease weeks of protest and dangerous political maneuvering that could ignite a civil war.

At least 11 people were killed Monday when police opened fire for the second consecutive day on tens of thousands of protesters in the southern city of Taiz. In the Red Sea town of Hudaydah, hundreds of demonstrators were wounded when security forces shot tear gas and bullets to halt a predawn march on the presidential palace.,0,7766718.story

While the Yemeni leaders actually kill protesters (with our weapons), we attacked Libya, where we think the guy in charge may have planned to kill protesters (incited by the CIA agents we planted there months ago).

There is no rhyme or reason to U.S. policy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Mexican tourism is dying

Authorities say a clash between soldiers and gunmen in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco left three people dead and caused a fire that destroyed a supermarket, movie complex and stores in a shopping center. . . .

Acapulco police also found two human heads along a main avenue in the exclusive Las Brisas neighborhood.

Factions of the Beltran Leyva cartel have been fighting for control of Acapulco since the December 2009 killing of cartel boss Arturo Beltran Leyva

Acapulco used to be a popular destination. No more.

No easy solutions for nuclear leaks

Engineers tried to stem a leak of highly radioactive water spilling into the Pacific with a new method Sunday after concrete failed to seal the crack at a Japanese nuclear power plant incapacitated by last month's earthquake-spawned tsunami. A search of site found no other leaks.

People need to realize that these installations do not come with immediately responsive on / off switches for use in times of crisis.

Whether it's an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico or a nuclear plant in Japan, an unanticipated disastrous leak will last days and weeks and months and possibly one day until there's nothing left to leak.

Who's shredding the Constitution now?

In an about-face on the day President Barack Obama announced his reelection bid, a U.S. official said Monday that Attorney General Eric Holder will order military trials at Guantánamo for confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged co-plotters now held there for the mass murder of thousands on Sept. 11, 2001.

Holder had sought to try the five men in civilian court in Manhattan, a move that produced an outcry from politicians and some 9/11 families who feared that the alleged al Qaeda insiders would turn the case into a forum for promoting their cause.

The attorney general said at an afternoon news conference that he was prepared to prosecute the case in New York and, in a surprise, released a secret 81-page federal grand jury indictment. But he blamed a ban by Congress on moving Guantanamo captives to U.S. soil even for trials, saying it made it unlikely they would be tried anytime soon in the United States.

This isn't a "reversal" or an "about face".

This is a betrayal of the basic promise of Obama's presidential campaign.

P.S. - Blame it on "Congress"? That was the Obama allied, Democratic controlled, Pelosi / Reid led Congress, in power during the first two years of the Obama administration.

Haiti is still doomed

A controversial carnival singer who reinvented himself into a polished political outsider is poised to become Haiti’s next president, according to preliminary election results announced Monday. Michel “Sweet Micky’’ Martelly garnered 67 percent of the vote to 31 percent for longtime opposition leader and former first lady Mirlande Manigat, the Provisional Electoral Council said.

The Haitians, in a flawed election which excluded by law both Haiti's most popular politician and Haiti's most popular political party, elected an inexperienced joke candidate ala Jesse Ventura or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We can expect similar results.

There is still no hope for Haiti.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A sentence I don't believe:

"Minuscule amounts of radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear plant have reached Las Vegas, but scientists say it poses no health risk".

If Israel can defend her borders, why can't America?

For the past 10 years, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups have fired thousands of rockets into southern Israel. This low-grade war has been effective in killing, wounding, and spreading fear among more than a million Israelis.

But how does the Jewish State stop these rockets that have terrorized its citizens for years? Israel's answer is a new anti-missile system called "Iron Dome." The first units of the multi-million dollar rocket shield were deployed on Sunday.

"The Iron Dome is part of the effort that Israel as a country is doing in order to deal with continuous attacks against Israel with the rockets that we saw for the last few years," Israel Air Defense Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish told CBN News.

The Iron Dome system is the only anti-missile system in the world designed to intercept short range rockets and is just one part of Israel's anti-missile defense.

Israel has the technology to build a virtual wall in the desert to detect missiles flying across its borders at hundreds of miles per hour.

Obviously, the same technology could be deployed in the American desert to detect illegal immigrants crossing the border on foot or by motor vehicle, allowing for their immediate apprehension by border security.

For some reason, our government refuses to use this technology to secure our border.

Which is worse - - burning the Koran or murdering dozens?

Terry Jones, the man who sparked an international furor in Afghanistan by burning a Muslim holy book and showing it on the Internet, was back in the pulpit Sunday. . . . The three deaths on Sunday brought to 24 the toll from the violence unleashed when Muslims learned of the Quran burning 8,000 miles away in Gainesville. Among the dead were several staff members at a United Nations post in Kandahar that was overrun by angry protesters who disarmed guards. Two were reportedly beheaded.

A crazy nobody preacher with no power, no influence and no followers burns a Koran.

In response, organized riots in the "outraged" Muslim world result in a least 24 deaths, including the beheading of charitable volunteers.

For some reason, the media's spin is to be understanding of the "outrage" in response to the "insult" to the Koran.

In fact, the craziest most dangerous people are not the publicity hounds in Florida but those killing dozens because a book was burned.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Libyan policy vs. Bahrain policy

Bahrain's Shiite opposition head Ali Salman on Wednesday warned Iran and Saudi Arabia against using his country as a "battlefield" in a proxy war. Salman urged Iran to keep out of the Sunni-ruled state's affairs and called on Saudi troops to leave the country. . . .

A teenager was killed when a police patrol opened fire with live rounds west of the capital Manama, the main Shiite-led parliamentary opposition group, Al-Wefaq, said. There was no immediate confirmation from police of the circumstances of the death of Ahmed Sayyed Said Shams, 15, in the village of Sar. Twenty-four people, four of them police, were killed in a month of unrest, Bahrain's Interior Minister Rashed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa said on Tuesday, linking the troubles to Hezbollah.

We attacked Libya for allegedly planning to do what we enable Bahrain to do - - killing civilian protesters. It makes no sense.

Hoping to cut oil imports

President Obama . . . [i]n a speech that repackaged his existing policies with some new incentives for renewable energy sources as well as domestic oil and nuclear power production . . . called for slashing oil imports by one-third by 2025.

There is no reason to believe that doing more of the same will obtain a different result this time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thank you, President Abbas!

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is making a heavy push for reconciliation with Hamas and is willing to give up hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid if that's what it takes to forge a Palestinian unity deal, a top aide said Monday.

The comments were the latest sign that Abbas is giving up on stalled peace talks with Israel and prefers to pursue unity with Gaza's Hamas rulers as he makes a push toward independence.

"Of course we need the American money. But if they use it as a way of pressuring us, we are ready to relinquish that aid," said Azzam Ahmed, an Abbas aide.

The U.S. and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group.

To make a deal with a terrorist group, the peace loving president of the peace loving Palestinian statelet is willing to reject "more than $470 million a year in direct financial assistance from the U.S."?


It's a deal.

Let's cut off direct financial assistance to the Palestinians immediately, and apply that half - billion dollars per year to the 30 billion we're presently trying to cut from the budget!

And don't forget our proxy war in Pakistan

That's going swell, too:
Insurgents attacked five security checkpoints in a northwestern Pakistan region on the Afghan border on Friday killing 11 soldiers and leading to clashes in which 24 militants died, officials said. About 150 militants staged simultaneous attacks on the checkpoints in the Baizai area of the Mohmand ethnic Pashtun tribal region, officials said. "Eleven paramilitary troops were killed and about a dozen wounded when militants attacked several checkposts," the region's top government official, Amjad Ali Khan, told reporters.

Don't forget about our other wars

Officials in eastern Afghanistan say three suicide car bombers have attacked a construction company, killing 24 people and wounding more than 50 others. Authorities said the attack happened late Sunday in the Barmal district of Paktika province, when the bombers killed a security guard and then detonated a truck full of explosives. A provincial spokesman said the blast killed civilian workers at the site. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which was condemned by President Hamid Karzai.

It's almost as if they start new wars to help us forget how badly the old wars are going . . .

What happened to Jimmy Carter?

Former President Jimmy Carter met with Cuban dissidents early Wednesday following two days of talks with President Raul Castro, other government officials and religious leaders on a trip he hopes will boost strained U.S.-Cuban relations.

Speculation about the three-day trip has focused on whether he will leave with imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of illegally importing communications equipment.

But as Carter's visit nears its end, there has been no sign of a resolution to that dispute between Washington and Havana.

President Jimmy Carter made the fight for "universal human rights" the bedrock of his foreign policy.

Former President Jimmy Carter, through his efforts at "normalization", allows himself to be used to legitimize dictators.

He continues to destroy his legacy.