Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tough Curriculum -Challenge The Mind's Potential!

More specious science on the part of those with a 'green' agenda. Gore has made hundreds of millions scaring everyone and stands to make billions more if current Cap and Trade legislation is passed. Liberals see 'global warming' as another opportunity to intrude government into the free market and control virtually all production. The legislation's thrust is anti-Capitalism.

I am no scientist and understand logic dictates if you foul the air as we have water (rivers, streams etc.) with plant discharge there will be severe consequences.

However, if you discharge polluted science you destroy any legitimate argument. Have ideologues reached the point where honesty cannot prevail and stand on its own merit? Is nothing sacred? (See 1 below.)

Israel's Barak tells Lebanon to put a collar on Hezbollah. (See 2 below.)

Next week Obama will announce his strategy in Afghanistan. Let's hope, whatever his decision, he will carry it through with steadfast determination no matter the cacophony from those opposed. That would be a refreshing 'change.' (See 3 and
3a below.)

Commentary regarding differences between a military tribunal and a civilian proceeding and the lawyer the defendant has chosen. (See 4 below.)

If Obama truly gives a damn about the economic future of his own race and American children in general, he will stand up and be counted when it comes to supporting tough education standards. If not, then once again reality will have taken his measure and he will be found wanting.

We must challenge minds with tough curriculum to open them to their potential
The problem is not the level of funding. (See 5 below.)

Dismantling America - one newspaper at a time. Silence citizens, curtail free speech and you got em! Control and stifling dissent is the method of demagogues.(See 6 below.)

Stossel, suggests we pay to be lied to and thus lie to ourselves. Congress are trustees and if a trustee acted as irresponsibly as politicians do they would be jailed. (See 7 below.)

Turning off the young at every turn! (See 8 below.)


1)Global Warming With the Lid Off: The e-mails that reveal an effort to hide the truth about climate science

'The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the U.K., I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone. . . . We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind."

So apparently wrote Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and one of the world's leading climate scientists, in a 2005 email to "Mike." Judging by the email thread, this refers to Michael Mann, director of the Pennsylvania State University's Earth System Science Center. We found this nugget among the more than 3,000 emails and documents released last week after CRU's servers were hacked and messages among some of the world's most influential climatologists were published on the Internet.

The "two MMs" are almost certainly Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, two Canadians who have devoted years to seeking the raw data and codes used in climate graphs and models, then fact-checking the published conclusions—a painstaking task that strikes us as a public and scientific service. Mr. Jones did not return requests for comment and the university said it could not confirm that all the emails were authentic, though it acknowledged its servers were hacked.

Yet even a partial review of the emails is highly illuminating. In them, scientists appear to urge each other to present a "unified" view on the theory of man-made climate change while discussing the importance of the "common cause"; to advise each other on how to smooth over data so as not to compromise the favored hypothesis; to discuss ways to keep opposing views out of leading journals; and to give tips on how to "hide the decline" of temperature in certain inconvenient data.

View Full Image
Associated Press A satellite image of Tropical Storm Ida. Some climate researchers claim that an increase in tropical storms is proof of anthropogenic climate change.
Some of those mentioned in the emails have responded to our requests for comment by saying they must first chat with their lawyers. Others have offered legal threats and personal invective. Still others have said nothing at all. Those who have responded have insisted that the emails reveal nothing more than trivial data discrepancies and procedural debates.

Yet all of these nonresponses manage to underscore what may be the most revealing truth: That these scientists feel the public doesn't have a right to know the basis for their climate-change predictions, even as their governments prepare staggeringly expensive legislation in response to them.

Consider the following note that appears to have been sent by Mr. Jones to Mr. Mann in May 2008: "Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. . . . Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same?" AR4 is shorthand for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, presented in 2007 as the consensus view on how bad man-made climate change has supposedly become.

Read a Selection of the EmailsClimate Science and Candor
In another email that seems to have been sent in September 2007 to Eugene Wahl of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Paleoclimatology Program and to Caspar Ammann of the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Climate and Global Dynamics Division, Mr. Jones writes: "[T]ry and change the Received date! Don't give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with."

When deleting, doctoring or withholding information didn't work, Mr. Jones suggested an alternative in an August 2008 email to Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, copied to Mr. Mann. "The FOI [Freedom of Information] line we're all using is this," he wrote. "IPCC is exempt from any countries FOI—the skeptics have been told this. Even though we . . . possibly hold relevant info the IPCC is not part of our remit (mission statement, aims etc) therefore we don't have an obligation to pass it on."

It also seems Mr. Mann and his friends weren't averse to blacklisting scientists who disputed some of their contentions, or journals that published their work. "I think we have to stop considering 'Climate Research' as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal," goes one email, apparently written by Mr. Mann to several recipients in March 2003. "Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal."

Mr. Mann's main beef was that the journal had published several articles challenging aspects of the anthropogenic theory of global warming.

For the record, when we've asked Mr. Mann in the past about the charge that he and his colleagues suppress opposing views, he has said he "won't dignify that question with a response." Regarding our most recent queries about the hacked emails, he says he "did not manipulate any data in any conceivable way," but he otherwise refuses to answer specific questions. For the record, too, our purpose isn't to gainsay the probity of Mr. Mann's work, much less his right to remain silent.

However, we do now have hundreds of emails that give every appearance of testifying to concerted and coordinated efforts by leading climatologists to fit the data to their conclusions while attempting to silence and discredit their critics. In the department of inconvenient truths, this one surely deserves a closer look by the media, the U.S. Congress and other investigative bodies.

2)Barak: Israel to target Lebanon if Hezbollah escalates tension
By Fadi Eyadat

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday warned Lebanon that it, not Hezbollah, would be the target of retaliatory attacks should the militant group escalate tension along Israel's northern border.

"Lebanon grants Hezbollah permission to operate on its soil," said Barak. "We must clarify for the international community that we do not accept that a militia like Hezbollah exists in Lebanon, a sovereign country, and even sits in its parliament."

Barak added that it holds Lebanon responsible for any conflict with Hezbollah. "Hezbollah is not our target," in such a case, said Barak. "Our target will be the state of Lebanon."

Barak made his comments at a meeting with regional leaders in the north, where he stressed that he holds the Lebanese government responsible for any conflict along the border with Lebanon.

The defense minister added that Israel's deterrence power will last some time.

Barak also addressed peace talks with the Palestinians, saying that a two-state solution is the best formula for resolving the conflict, but stressed that a regional peace involving Syria is of utmost importance to Israel.

Earlier this month, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Hezbollah guerrillas now possess tens of thousands of rockets, some capable of reaching up to 300 kilometers within Israel.

These capabilities would put Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well cities much further south, into rocket range.

"There is a war in the Middle East between two camps, the extreme and the moderate, which is pushing Iran to take radical steps. Without Iran's support to finance weapons and terror groups they would be lacking the means available to them today," said Ashkenazi.

Israel, the United Nations and Hezbollah itself have all said that the militia is stronger today than it was during the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

3)Afghan Strategy Will Contain Messages to Several Audiences

In declaring Tuesday that he would “finish the job” in Afghanistan, President Obama used a phrase clearly meant to imply that even as he deploys an additional 30,000 or so troops, he has finally figured out how to bring the eight-year-long conflict to an end.

But offering that reassuring if somewhat contradictory signal — that by adding troops he can speed the United States toward an exit — is just the first of a set of tricky messages Mr. Obama will have to deliver as he rolls out his strategy publicly.

Over the next week, he will deliver multiple messages to multiple audiences: voters at home, allies, the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the extremists who are the enemy. And as Mr. Obama’s own aides concede, the messages directed at some may undercut the messages sent to others.

He must convince Democrats, especially the antiwar base that helped elect him, and the slim majority of the country that tells pollsters the conflict is no longer worth the sacrifice, that in sending more troops he is not escalating the war L.B.J.-style. In fact, some of those involved in the deliberations on an Afghanistan strategy say Mr. Obama will argue that providing the additional numbers is the fastest way to assure that the United States will be able to “finish the job,” because it will speed the training of the Afghan national army.

But at the same moment, he must persuade Republicans that he is giving the military what it needs to beat back the Taliban and keep Al Qaeda from threatening the United States.

That would be a difficult task even if Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s strategic assessments and troop requests had not been paraded across front pages, including his contention that the task will require 40,000 or more troops if Mr. Obama wants to create true security in the country’s major population centers.

At a time when Mr. Obama is vowing to reduce sky-high deficits, he must make the case that the price tag — roughly $1 million per soldier — is justified. He already faced pre-emptive resistance on Tuesday from the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

So it is no surprise that one of Mr. Obama’s senior aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged Tuesday that the forthcoming speech was a “potential minefield.” One of his national security strategists put Mr. Obama’s challenge this way: The trick, he said, will be “signaling resolve to the allies while not signaling open-ended commitment to the American people.”

Both sides of that equation are complicated.

Mr. Obama must signal resolve — and staying power — because the Dutch and the Canadians are both scheduled to be pulling their troops out of Afghanistan just as Mr. Obama is putting more forces in. In quiet meetings over the past month, American defense and national security officials have been trying to forestall those departures, while obtaining commitments of increasing numbers of troops from NATO allies.

So far, the administration has been successful only with the British, who have pledged an additional 500 troops. Germany, Italy and other NATO contributors have been silent, explaining to their American visitors that the war has become so unpopular at home that they can barely sustain the troop levels now in place.

“I think we’ll get there,” said an official who has been sent for those conversations. “But not in time for the president’s announcement.” Others said it may be early next year before Mr. Obama can extract any additional commitments.

Pakistan poses a particularly difficult problem. Mr. Obama has been highly attuned to the need to declare that the United States is not in what he recently called “an open-ended commitment” in Afghanistan.

But for years, throughout the Bush administration and into the Obama administration, American officials have been making trips to Pakistan to reassure its government that the United States has no intention of pulling out of Afghanistan as it did 20 years ago, after the Soviets retreated from the country. Inside the Pakistani Army and the intelligence service, which is known as the ISI, it is an article of faith among some officers that the United States is deceiving them, and that it will replay 1989.

If that happens, some Pakistanis argue, India will fill the void in southern Afghanistan, leaving Pakistan surrounded by its longtime enemy. So any talk of exit strategies is bound to reaffirm the belief of some Pakistani officials that they have to maintain their contacts with the Taliban — their hedge against Indian encroachment.

So the United States is stuck, one official said, between not wanting to suggest it will be a military presence in the region forever and showing enough commitment to encourage Pakistan to change its behavior.

Mr. Obama has a similar signaling problem with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. A parade of Washington officials, most recently Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have traveled to Kabul to warn that continuing American help is dependent on the Afghan government’s meeting benchmarks in tackling corruption and building up credible security forces. But Mr. Obama is not likely to say what will happen if Mr. Karzai fails to deliver, for fear of further alienating the mercurial Afghan president.

At home, the more urgent issues are troop numbers and the cost of the escalation. Here, Mr. Obama will have more room to maneuver. Over the past two weeks, military officials have been expecting a decision that will give them roughly 34,000 additional troops, not far from what was sought by General McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan. At the White House and among the allies, the figure most commonly heard is just under 30,000.

Both figures, and anything in between, could prove right. Counting support troops and “trainers” is an art form in the military. The troops will be dispatched in phases, and Mr. Obama is likely to declare that he will review the deployment next year, to evaluate its progress.

That gives him the flexibility to tell the Democrats that his commitment is limited, and to tell the Republicans that he will do whatever it takes to win what, only three months ago, he called a “war of necessity.”

3a)President Obama stuck in muck with pledge to 'finish the job' in Afghanistan
BY James Gordon Meek

President Obama hinted Tuesday that the cavalry is coming when he boldly stated he intends to "finish the job" in Afghanistan's eight-year war.

But he may live to regret setting such a high bar with his mystery war plan, much like his predecessor George W. Bush did by pledging to nail Osama Bin Laden "dead or alive."

It's almost impossible to imagine any Afghan strategy this President could unveil next week, short of an immediate withdrawal, that will bring peace before he faces American voters again in 2012.

It might even prove impossible to "finish the job" by 2016 if he wins reelection.

"The idea we can wave a magic wand over the place and fix it quickly is not realistic," said Afghanistan analyst Peter Bergen.

It's worrisome that Obama might be ready to spring yet another quick-fix plan.

Since 2001, the problem hasn't just been that the Afghan fight was shamefully shortchanged of resources as the Iraq war's ugly stepchild. It also has suffered from arrogant military and civilian leaders who fought every year of the war as if it was the last.

In 2003, ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the U.S. had "moved from major combat activity to a period of stability and reconstruction."

His top commander, Army Lt. Gen. Dan McNeill, even predicted withdrawing some of his 8,000 U.S. troops by 2004.

Instead, the Taliban rallied with cash from opium-producing poppy crops and Al Qaeda expertise - and the American body count rose.

Obama is likely to add at least 30,000 to a force that will total 100,000 in Afghanistan. An equal number will remain in Iraq, meaning last year's anti-war candidate will ironically have more soldiers in harm's way - 200,000 - than Bush did at the height of the Iraq "surge."

And don't call this boost a "surge" because insiders know that's a misnomer.

It will be an escalation without any plan on the horizon to draw down the additional forces, like in Iraq.

Bergen says the extra troops can secure more roads and pockets thick with Taliban in the next two years, but ending the war "is a long-term project."

It's not just how many boots are on the ground, it's how they're used.

That's why many strategists are embracing the idea of hiring Pashtun tribal militias or embedding Special Forces to "go native" for years and win tribal allies by spilling blood with them side by side.

But the wisest ideas all involve facing the hard truth that we will be in the fight for many more years amid polls that show the public - American and Afghan - losing patience.

That hard dose of reality required to win gives the enemy plenty of ammo in the meantime for their propaganda denouncing Americans as occupiers who refuse to leave.

4)For the Defense
By Jennifer Rubin

One big difference between a civilian trial and a military tribunal is that in the latter, the government can exercise some control over who is selected to represent the accused. In an Article III trial, the defendant can choose anyone he wants. And KSM chose Scott Fenstermaker. Others are beginning to dig and have found that Fernstermaker was “ booted from the military commissions civilian defense counsel pool in 2008 for ‘counterproductive’ interactions with the staff, and not representing himself in a ‘forthright’ manner to the chief defense counsel for the Gitmo detainees.” And that isn’t the only instance of Fernstermaker’s questionable lawyering.

A colleague provides a copy of this decision in which Fenstermaker litigated against a school district in Westchester County and sought documents from the school district in the applicable freedom of information law. But it seems he went over board there, too. In seeking reams of documents, Fenstermaker accused the school district ”of having created a situation ‘rife with bribes and kickbacks;’ that he was certain that respondents had already altered or destroyed certain of the requested records; that counsel was operating under a conflict of interest in that he was responsible as counsel for respondents’ malfeasance; and that he was therefore demanding that the records be sent to a copy service designated by him.’”

Much wrangling ensued, and the matter wound up in court. There, the court held that each of the school district’s actions that Fenstermaker challenged was “supported by statute and administrative rulings” and that Fenstermaker ”cited no authority to the contrary.” It deemed the matter frivolous, and the court not only awarded statutory costs to the school district but also ordered Fenstermaker to pay costs “for the actual expenses reasonably incurred and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in defending this proceeding.”

And that was against a school district in a case with no national implications or coverage. So buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy show trial, I have a feeling.

5)Race to the Top in Education:We can get real reform if the president resists pressure to dilute standards

For decades, policy makers have talked about significantly improving public education. The problem has been clear: one-third of public school children fail to graduate, there are embarrassing achievement gaps between middle-class children and poor and minority children, and the gap between our students and those in other countries threatens to undermine our economic competitiveness. Yet for the better part of a quarter century, urgent calls for change have seldom translated into improved public schools.

Now, however, President Barack Obama has launched "Race to the Top," a competition that is parceling out $4.35 billion in new education funding to states that are committed to real reform. This program offers us an opportunity to finally move the ball forward.

To that end Mr. Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are pushing states toward meaningful change. Mr. Duncan has even stumped for reform alongside former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Yet the administration must continue to hang tough on two critical issues: performance standards and competition.

Already the administration is being pressured to dilute the program's requirement that states adopt performance pay for teachers and to weaken its support for charter schools. If the president does not remain firm on standards, the whole endeavor will be just another example of great rhetoric and poor reform.

Competition among the states is also vital to reform. The administration is resisting the temptation to award funds to as many states as possible. And that's good. To be effective, Race to the Top funds cannot become a democratic handout. Competition brings out the best performance. That's true in athletics and in business, and it's true in education.

Race to the Top funds will not serve their purpose if they are awarded based on good intentions and promises. Instead, the administration is right to look at results. Has a state embraced rigorous standards? Has it welcomed charter schools? Has it turned around low-performing schools and held teachers accountable?

Grants from the National Institutes of Health are awarded to scientists who have advanced their research to a stage where there are promising returns. By setting a high qualifying bar and requiring a record of past performance, the president is instituting a similar system for allocating education dollars.

The first wave of education stimulus funding, allocated earlier this year, was intended to tide over states facing budget shortfalls. This next tranche of dollars have a different purpose—to be a stimulus for positive change.

If the administration were to simply spread the funds around, Race to the Top would end up supporting incremental, not transformational, change. The time is right for bold, comprehensive reform—even if only in a handful of states. This is why it is important to consider a state's record. Is the governor a true change agent, someone who is willing to withstand pressure in order to implement difficult reforms? If so, it may be right to award funding to his state.

The old way of doing business would be to spread around the money so no one could be held accountable. The new approach is to give governors authority and responsibility, and then hold them accountable for results.

For decades, adult interests have been at the forefront of public education. Reform has been derailed by adults who wanted to protect the status quo and enjoy lifelong benefits. This time the focus will be on learning in the classroom. What's important is that the administration is demanding that every child receive an education that prepares him or her for college or for work. Without that we will continue to be sidetracked by insignificant issues.

States that have the track record and leadership in place to implement Mr. Obama's aggressive reform menu—of enforcing rigorous academic standards, creating data systems that track individual student performance, ensuring teacher quality and effectiveness, and turning around failing schools—deserve the funds to show that our public schools can again lead the world.

We have yet to prove, on a systemic basis, that we can dramatically improve America's public schools. Race to the Top is a chance to start small, hold states accountable, and expand proven reforms to the rest of the country.

Mr. Ford is chairman of the Democratic National Leadership Council. Mr. Gerstner is former chairman of IBM and former chairman of the Teaching Commission. Mr. Broad is founder of The Broad Foundations.

6)Dismantling America
By Thomas Sowell

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers — that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?

Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?

Does any of this sound like America?

How about a federal agency giving school children material to enlist them on the side of the president? Merely being assigned to sing his praises in class is apparently not enough.

How much of America would be left if the federal government continued on this path? President Obama has already floated the idea of a national police force, something we have done without for more than two centuries.

We already have local police forces all across the country and military forces for national defense, as well as the FBI for federal crimes and the National Guard for local emergencies. What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brown shirts of dictators than like anything American.

How far the President will go depends of course on how much resistance he meets. But the direction in which he is trying to go tells us more than all his rhetoric or media spin.

Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to "change the United States of America," the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles and the people of this country.

Jeremiah Wright said it with words: "G0d damn America!" Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.

Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.

Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn't know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?

Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government — people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America's influence in the world.

Any miscalculation on his part would be in not thinking that others would discover what these stealth appointees were like. Had it not been for the Fox News Channel, these stealth appointees might have remained unexposed for what they are. Fox News is now high on the administration's enemies list.

Nothing so epitomizes President Obama's own contempt for American values and traditions like trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year — each bill more than a thousand pages long — too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question — and the biggest question for this generation.

Dismantling America: Part II

Many years ago, at a certain academic institution, there was an
experimental program that the faculty had to vote on as to whether or
not it should be made permanent.

I rose at the faculty meeting to say that I knew practically nothing about whether the program was good or bad, and that the information that had been supplied to us was too vague for us to have any basis for voting, one way or the other. My suggestion was that we get more concrete information before having a vote.

The director of that program rose immediately and responded indignantly and sarcastically to what I had just said — and the faculty gave him a standing ovation.

After the faculty meeting was over, I told a colleague that I was stunned and baffled by the faculty's fierce response to my simply saying that we needed more information before voting.

"Tom, you don't understand," he said. "Those people need to believe in that man. They have invested so much hope and trust in him that they cannot let you stir up any doubts."

Years later, and hundreds of miles away, I learned that my worst misgivings about that program did not begin to approach the reality, which included organized criminal activity.

The memory of that long-ago episode has come back more than once while observing both the actions of the Obama administration and the fierce reactions of its supporters to any questioning or criticism.

Almost never do these reactions include factual or logical arguments against the administration's critics. Instead, there is indignation, accusations of bad faith and even charges of racism.

Here too, it seems as if so many people have invested so much hope and trust in Barack Obama that it is intolerable that anyone should come along and stir up any doubts that could threaten their house of cards.

Among the most pathetic letters and e-mails I receive are those from people who ask why I don't write more "positively" about Obama or "give him the benefit of the doubt."

No one — not even the President of the United States — has an entitlement to a "positive" response to his actions. The entitlement mentality has eroded the once common belief that you earned things, including respect, instead of being given them.

As for the benefit of the doubt, no one — especially not the President of the United States — is entitled to that, when his actions can jeopardize the rights of 300 million Americans domestically and the security of the nation in an international jungle, where nuclear weapons may soon be in the hands of people with suicidal fanaticism. Will it take a mushroom cloud over an American city to make that clear? Was 9/11 not enough?

When a President of the United States has begun the process of dismantling America from within, and exposing us to dangerous enemies outside, the time is long past for being concerned about his public image. He has his own press agents for that.

Internationally, Barack Obama has made every mistake that was made by the Western democracies in the 1930s, mistakes that put Hitler in a position to start World War II — and come dangerously close to winning it.

At the heart of those mistakes was trying to mollify your enemies by throwing your friends to the wolves. The Obama administration has already done that by reneging on this country's commitment to put a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe and by its lackadaisical foot-dragging on doing anything serious to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That means, for all practical purposes, throwing Israel to the wolves as well.

Countries around the world that have to look out for their own national survival, above all, are not going to ignore how much Obama has downgraded the reliability of America's commitments.

Iraq, for example, knows that Iran is going to be next door forever while Americans may be gone in a few years. South Korea likewise knows that North Korea is permanently next door but who knows when the Obama administration will get a bright idea to pull out? Countries in South America know that Hugo Chavez is allying Venezuela with Iran. Dare they ally themselves with an unreliable U.S.A.? Or should they join our enemies to work against us?

This issue is too serious for squeamish silence.

7)We Pay Them to Lie to Us
By John Stossel

When you knowingly pay someone to lie to you, we call the deceiver an illusionist or a magician. When you unwittingly pay someone to do the same thing, I call him a politician.

President Obama insists that health care "reform" not "add a dime" to the budget deficit, which daily grows to ever more frightening levels. So the House-passed bill and the one the Senate now deliberates both claim to cost less than $900 billion. Somehow "$900 billion over 10 years" has been decreed to be a magical figure that will not increase the deficit.

It's amazing how precise government gets when estimating the cost of 10 years of subsidized medical care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill was scored not at $850 billion, but $849 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her bill would cost $871 billion.

How do they do that?

The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.

I happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he'll saw a woman in half. That's entertainment. But when Harry Reid says he'll give 30 million additional people health coverage while cutting the deficit, improving health care and reducing its cost, it's not entertaining. It's incredible.

The politicians have a hat full of tricks to make their schemes look cheaper than they are. The new revenues will pour in during Year One, but health care spending won't begin until Year Three or Four. To this the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner asks, "Wouldn't it be great if you could count a whole month's income, but only two weeks' expenditures in your household budget?"
To be deficit-reducers, the health care bills depend on a $200 billion cut in Medicare. Current law requires cuts in payments to doctors, but let's get real: Those cuts will never happen. The idea that Congress will "save $200 billion" by reducing payments for groups as influential as doctors and retirees is laughable. Since 2003, Congress has suspended those "required" cuts each year.

Our pandering congressmen rarely cut. They just spend. Even as the deficit grows, they vomit up our money onto new pet "green" projects, bailouts for irresponsible industries, gifts for special interests and guarantees to everyone.

Originally, this year's suspension, "the doc fix," was included in the health care bills, but when it clearly pushed the cost of "reform" over Obama's limit and threatened to hike the deficit, the politicians moved the "doc fix" to a separate bill and pretended it was unrelated to their health care work.

Megan McArdle of The Atlantic reports that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin asked the Congressional Budget Office what the total price would be if the "doc fix" and House health care overhaul were passed together. "The answer, according to the CBO, is that together they'd increase the deficit by $89 billion over 10 years." McArdle explains why the "doc fix" should be included: "They're passing a bill that increases the deficit by $200 billion in order to pass another bill that hopefully reduces it, but by substantially less than $200 billion. That means that passage of this bill is going to increase the deficit."

From the start, Obama has promised to pay for half the "reform" cost by cutting Medicare by half a trillion over 10 years. But, Tanner asks, "how likely is it that those cuts will take place? After all, this is an administration that will pay seniors $250 to make up for the fact that they didn't get a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year (because the cost of living didn't increase). And Congress is in the process of repealing a scheduled increase in Medicare premiums."

Older people vote in great numbers. AARP is the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. Like the cut in doctor's pay, the other cuts will never happen.

I will chew on razor blades when Congress cuts Medicare to keep the deficit from growing.

Medicare is already $37 trillion in the hole. Yet the Democrats proudly cite Medicare when they demand support for the health care overhaul. If a business pulled the accounting tricks the politicians get away with, the owners would be in prison.

8)Generation Obama Gets Shafted
By Zac Morgan

President Barack Obama swept into office with a Steve Nash assist from my generation. The 2 to 1 advantage that the President enjoyed over Senator John McCain among 18 to 29 year-old voters sent the pundits a-chatter with memories of Ronald Reagan’s similar margin in 1984. Reagan’s young voters served as the backbone for a quarter-century of conservative dominance in America, and those in the White House remain convinced that the group of Americans they’ve labelled “Generation Obama” will do the same for liberalism.

This cumulonimbus cloud of demographics contained a silver lining for conservatives. One out of every five votes under-35s cast was for Barack Obama, but nobody else down-ticket. In order to transform youth support for the President into a rabble-rousing crowd of determined Democrats, the administration would have to work assiduously to keep young voters engaged and supportive.

That’s why it is so surprising how quickly the President turned on the base of a hypothetical permanent Democratic majority. In the past year, the Administration has constantly supported efforts to redistribute money from younger Americans to older Americans; all the while exploding deficits to practically insure that “Generation Obama” will become “Generation No Benefits for Us”.

Rather than slashing payroll taxes in the stimulus package (a boon to lower-income Americans, particularly the young), the administration shepherded through a bill which will ultimately end up bulking up the states’ Medicaid rolls in a temporary-but-actually-permanent way, and charged it on a credit card billed to my generation. Now Medicaid is ostensibly a healthcare plan for those who are financially among the least of these, but the reality is much more… well, grayer. According to former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, half of all nursing home costs in America are paid for by Medicaid. Middle-class seniors sell off their assets to others and become poor on paper in order to qualify for Medicaid’s generous nursing home care subsidy.

Then the President anted up on the $250 in stimulus checks already shipped out to seniors as part of the deficit-busting stimulus. Since 2009 was a deflationary year, Social Security recipients were not scheduled to get any increases in their payments. Eager to court seniors for their support in his Medicare-slashing health reform, the President asked for another $250 check to be sent out to seniors at a total expense of $13 billion.

And on his signature initiative of the year, healthcare, the President has paid little heed to the realities of younger Americans. The House version of healthcare reform would actually increase premiums for younger Americans using the health exchange system to between $600-$1,100 more. In his effort to please the elderly, the President has run up young America’s credit card bill and garnished our wages. (And let’s not forget that the actual cost of healthcare reform looks more like $1.8 trillion, not $800 billion.)

Meanwhile, youth unemployment is 19 percent, double the national average.

It seems like the Iranian 18 to 29 demographic isn’t the only group of young folks with cause to be weary about this President.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting and Spending We Lay Waste Our Powers!

(See 1 and 1a below.)

We must not criticize. We must stay mute and let our politicians run roughshod over us. They must always have the last word. It is called ''reform-ism and change' and it accords with the dictates of PC'ism. (See 2 below.)

All great nations have had their ups and downs and some have declined permanently never to recover. America remains a great and powerful nation but there are ominous signs our decline is gaining momentum. We are spent economically, militarily and now lack strong leadership.

As Thanksgiving approaches, signs of our celebratory meal - the turkey - are everywhere. This year, based on accomplishments, the biggest Tom resides in the Oval Office.

Our president has spent his first year in office traveling a good bit but accomplishing little beyond degrading our nation in the eyes of his peer group. His recent return from Asia even anticipated our next major holiday - Christmas - he came back with an empty stocking.

Democrats in Congress also have a bag full of goodies awaiting our nation but the majority of Americans are not pleased with the offerings from our 'wise men' in D.C. In fact most would like to sack these elves.

Then we have the recent decision to try terrorists, who want to destroy our nation and who were captured on the field of battle, being tried in a civilian court and thus entitled to all the legal rights and privileges of an American citizen. In this instance the Obama Administration is not even seeking the death sentence for a terrorist who killed over 3,000 Americans.

A conviction is not a certainty though the terrorist being tried has acknowledged his guilt. Why? Because he was water-boarded, ie tortured, and not read his Miranda Rights. In other words, it is possible this terrorist could walk if our system of justice recognizes the legitimacy of his defense arguments. He could then apply for American Citizenship and maybe move to Michigan whose many mosques are a potential breeding ground for domestically bred terrorists.

So why did Obama and Atty General Holder choose this route? One can only speculate but it appears the reason is to show the world what evil things GW resorted to in keeping our nation safe, ie. GW allegedly trashed our laws in order to protect and defend our nation. GW was a bad person according to Obama and Obama is committed to remind us of this fact as often as circumstances permit.

I suspect four years from now when Obama runs again for his second term he will still be bashing Bush.

It is not a very HO HO HO TIME! (See 1 and 1a below.)

A former Israeli Ambassador expresses his thoughts regarding Abbas. (See 3 below.)

A comprehensive analysis of Pelosi's health care proposals and prospective legislation, a thumb nail on Reid's Senate plan and the Republican response. (See 4, 4a and 4b below.)


1)Remember When
By Matt Spivey

President Obama has meant a lot of things to a lot people this year.

After a bumpy year with our new president, it seems appropriate to reminisce about the many labels he assumed for himself and was granted by his admirers. At first, being anyone not named Bush was enough to get him pretty far. But then Obama became a promise of a refreshing future as well as the potential reincarnation of some of our history's most influential leaders.

Remember when we elected the next Lincoln?

Our first black president was going to transcend race and bring racial harmony to a scarred America. He was the answer to all our questions about how far our nation has come since our tainted past. He was a wiry lawyer from Illinois with a knack for eloquent speeches and a high-minded vision for our country.

In fact, CBS News ran entire piece about the similarities between the two men.

Obama rode Lincoln's famous train route to Washington, D.C. and was sworn in on Lincoln's Bible. Obama even vowed to surround himself with tough thinkers who would not necessarily follow his beliefs, much like Lincoln's "team of rivals." And he promised to bring unity to our partisan nation, much like Lincoln holding the union intact through America's deadliest war.

However, a new Gallup poll shows that optimism in race relations has actually decreased since Obama's election. Turning on any news channel at any time of day clearly shows that our nation seems to be more politically partisan than ever. And the advisers with whom Obama has surrounded himself seem to be either tax-evaders or Communist sympathizers.

A train ride and a well-crafted speech do not a great leader make.

Remember when we elected the next Kennedy?

Barack Obama was so elegant, so stylish, so...cool. He was young and attractive, yet real and accessible. He was everything we had been waiting for to help us forget the stodgy white guys who had been dominating our government since JFK.

Democrats overwhelmed newsstands for months.

However, Kennedy's comparatively conservative economic policies and his ardent fight against Communism stand in stark contrast to Obama's impending tax hikes and inability or unwillingness to firmly stand against terrorism. Under Kennedy, the GDP expanded, inflation remained steady, and unemployment decreased. Kennedy believed the best stimulus package of all was to lower taxes. In foreign policy, Kennedy fought Communism in Cuba, Latin America, and Vietnam. Obama seems unable to decide whether more troops would help us win a difficult war, and he refuses to condemn Islamic extremists as terrorists, even after one murders thirteen soldiers on American soil.

A nice suit and a handsome family do not a great leader make.

Remember when we elected the next FDR?

With intentions of creating public projects and ensuring entitlement programs, Obama was every Keynesian's fantasy. He was the candidate with the answers to the failing economy and the toughness to discipline Wall Street. He would pull us out of a recession with shovel-ready jobs while providing for the nation's poor and elderly.

Democratic strategists still repeatedly say, "Obama is the greatest economic president since Franklin Roosevelt."

But he has fudged his job creation numbers. He has brought the deficit to record levels. And he has taken over financial institutions, car companies, and soon health care entities. Where will his long arm of government influence reach next? While vaguely defining "saved" jobs may have impressed some, those of us actually living in the real world tend to rely on hard evidence and economic freedom.

In the first year of Obama's reign, the economy remains stagnant, inflation will soon spike as the dollar continues to plummet, and the unemployment rate he vowed would not reach 8% has now soared past 10%. And his stimulus package -- the meager portion that has actually been spent -- has turned out to be decidedly "unstimulating."

Massive spending and big promises do not a great leader make.

So now, here we are. Unemployment is higher, confusion about the war is greater, and division in our country is fiercer. The platitudes of hope and change are gradually being replaced by the pragmatism of liberty and responsibility. While of the real hope for America lies in the nation's people, too many people in this nation have put their hope in one man. Someday, we will look back on this administration, quizzically scratch our heads, and with an embarrassed grin, ask, "Remember when we elected Barack Obama?"

1a)Obama’s Popularity Is Higher Than His Policies, Poll Finds
By Jeff Bliss

President Barack Obama is more popular than his policies, according to a poll released today.

Almost three-quarters of American voters, 74 percent, surveyed in a Quinnipiac University poll liked Obama as a person while 47 percent agreed with most of his policies.

Fifty-three percent disapproved of his handling of health care compared with 41 percent who backed the president.

Most Americans “might like to have a beer” with Obama, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Still, many who voted for him “aren’t crazy about the kind of change he is trying to bring.”

Voters opposed by 51 percent to 35 percent health-care legislation that was supported by Obama and passed by the House of Representatives on Nov. 7, the poll showed. At the same time, voters favored allowing people to be covered by a government-run insurance plan, a part of the House measure, and are against provisions that would make it harder to get the option, according to the poll’s findings.

Quinnipiac University released a poll yesterday that showed Obama’s approval had fallen below 50 percent for the first time.

Voters in the latest poll backed a so-called public option program to compete with private insurances by 57 percent to 35 percent. Forty-nine percent were against letting states opt out of the public option while 43 percent supported the idea.

Respondents opposed 47 percent to 38 percent a trigger provision, which would let people get the public option only if private insurance didn’t cover enough Americans.

The poll, taken from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

2)Iran is advancing on dual nuclear bomb track: uranium plus plutonium

Military sources report that the UN inspectors' October visit to Iran turned up dual-track progress in support of its nuclear weapons program: Feverish activity was registered in the production of plutonium at Isfahan as an alternative to the Fordo enriched uranium plant near Qom which starts up in 2011.

The IAEA experts discovered 30 metric tons-IS of heavy water hidden in 600 tanks, each holding 13 gallons, according to the report they handed in last week to agency headquarters in Vienna.

From the shape of the tanks and other indications, the experts concluded that this stock had not come from the heavy water plant at Arak but was imported.

Metric tons-IS measure the amount of energy a given quantity can release. The force and types of nuclear bombs are gauged in kilotons or megatons. The American nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II was equal to 20 kilotons of TNT. By this standard, the amount of heavy water discovered at Isfahan would be enough to make at least one plutonium bomb when the plutonium reactor under construction near the Arak heavy water facility is finished.

Other than its civilian uses, heavy water may be used to produce tritium, which intensifies the explosive force of nuclear warheads. The discovery of quantities of heavy water at Isfahan confirms the suspicions surrounding Iran's nuclear program in three respects.

1. The long concealment of the Fordo site suggested to the UN inspectors that Iran has more hole-in the-corner nuclear facilities in the country. The discovery of a stock of heavy water further confirmed that Tehran is working hard to attain a nuclear weapon capacity on more than one track and at additional covert sites.

2. The IAEA wants to know who is selling Iran heavy water in violation of Security Council resolutions banning the sale or export of nuclear materials to Iran.

The very fact that some government or outside entity is willing to flout UN resolutions demonstrates that any further international sanctions would be ineffective for halting Iran's nuclear drive, even assuming that President Barack Obama gained Russian and Chinese backing for such penalties. This backing has so far been withheld.

Sources report from Vienna that on November 10, IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei sent a request to the Iranian Nuclear Energy Committee asking it to confirm the presence of the heavy water and document its origin with a full explanation. Tehran has yet to reply.

3. The presence of the heavy water tanks at Isfahan is additional proof that the reactor at Arak is designed for military purposes, not a peaceful installation as Tehran claims.

3) A wheelless cart before a lame horse
By Zalman Shoval

One should never underestimate the propensity of the Palestinians for shooting themselves in the foot, to wit, the situation Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has put himself in with regard to the peace process. True, this may not have been entirely his fault - mixed signals from abroad also had something to do with it, but Abbas seems to be bent on doing everything to get himself into an even deeper hole by adopting ever more intransigent positions. Then there was his zigzagging on the Goldstone Report, after first having asked Israel during the Gaza war to "smash" Hamas.

Now someone has come up with the idea of unilaterally declaring Palestinian statehood. Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad had earlier broached the idea of building up Palestinian governance - a plausible concept in itself - but what the Palestinian functionaries around Abbas intend now is something completely different, amounting to putting a wheelless cart before a lame horse.

They had tried it before; back in 1999 Yasser Arafat, who as a result of the Oslo agreement was back in the country, announced that the Palestinians would forthwith declare their independence - only to be quickly disabused of this idea when the US and most of the Europeans made it clear to him that the declaration would not be recognized by the international community.

In the present case, there will probably be a replay of this scenario, there being indications that neither the US nor most members of the European community as well as others would legitimize a unilateral declaration by according it recognition. Even the support of Russia and China is in doubt, given that the former has not recognized the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, and that the latter is facing the threat in its own backyard of the Muslim community in Xinjiang declaring independence.

Someone should have explained to Abbas that this plan would in effect annul all past agreements including those which had granted legitimacy to the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo agreement. Also, any unilateral act regarding borders and territory could immediately trigger parallel annexations in the territories on the part of the State of Israel. In essence, a unilateral declaration of statehood would be in violation of international law and might be deemed an act of aggression, giving Israel the right to act in response, militarily or otherwise.

SO WHY does the official Palestinian leadership still threaten to go ahead with an act which so obviously goes against its own interests? It could be to pave the way towards a new wave of violence, as Arafat had planned and acted upon after the failure of the Camp David conference. But there may also be another, more immediate reason, namely, to bring about the elimination of UN Security Council Resolution 242. This resolution, which is the only agreed basis for all the agreements and initiatives to bring about a settlement of the conflict between Israel and its neighbors, including the Palestinians (and of course, Syria), also determined that Israel was not required to withdraw from all the territories it holds as a result of repulsing Arab aggression in 1967, and that furthermore, future borders should be based on considerations of security. In other words, the dividing line between a future Palestinian state and Israel would not necessarily be commensurate with the former temporary armistice line called the "Green Line."

This then, as senior PLO and Fatah official Yasser Abd Rabbo has confirmed, is their real and immediate agenda: get the Security Council of the UN to adopt a resolution to say that the future Palestinian border would be the Green Line - thus, in effect, replacing Resolution 242 and making the latter null and void. Israel's diplomacy thus has its job cut out for it in coming months, but one trusts that the US and others too are aware of the Palestinian stratagems and that they will not lend a hand to an initiative which would seriously exacerbate the political situation in the Middle East and return any chance of peace to square one.

The writer is the former Israel Ambassador to the US, and currently heads the Prime Minister's forum of US-Israel Relations.

4)Roadmap to Victory: Providing a contrast would best expose the weaknesses of the Democratic health bills.
By Tevi Troy & Jeff Anderson

By proposing a health-care bill of their own, Senate Republicans can throw the extraordinary weaknesses of the Democratic bills into stark relief. In the wake of the Congressional Budget Office’s recent scoring of aspects of the House Republican bill, there is now an opening for Republicans to provide a clear contrast with the proposed Democratic overhaul.

The Democratic bills are polling badly, even though they’ve been running largely unopposed in the eyes of most Americans. But continuing to let them run without competition would be a major political error, in both the short and long term. Republicans need to show how health-care reform should be done, improving on the unsustainable status quo while reflecting the political realities of the moment.

The House Republican bill, while imperfect and incomplete, provides a roadmap to victory. Even the New York Times recognizes as much, writing that “a ‘cheaper’ alternative” (the Times puts it in quotes) could scuttle the passage of the proposed Democratic agenda. The Wall Street Journal strikes a similar theme, writing that in the aftermath of the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections, Republicans “have an opening” to “give obviously anxious voters an alternative.”

The Democrats are attempting to decrease the number of uninsured through mandates and requirements — at the tradeoff of raising costs. Americans recognize this. As a recent poll in the Economist shows — by the overwhelming margin of 50 to 9 percent — Americans think they would personally have to pay more if the Democrats pass a bill.

That is why the CBO’s evaluation of the House Republican alternative is so encouraging. The Republican approach is to focus on lowering costs, which in turn would make coverage easier to afford — and the CBO says this approach would succeed. It estimates that the Republican bill would lower Americans’ insurance premiums — by 5 to 8 percent in the small-group market, up to 3 percent in the large-group market, and 7 to 10 percent in the individual market — while increasing the number of insured by 3 million.

The House Republican bill also has an obvious weakness, as the New York Times and Washington Post were quick to note. While it would reduce the number of uninsured by far more per dollar spent than the Democratic bills would, it would not lower the total number of uninsured by nearly as much.

But the CBO score for the House GOP bill was also extremely positive in another way: It said that the bill would reduce deficits by $68 billion. This, in tandem with the verdict that the bill would lower premiums, provides a prime opportunity for Senate Republicans to advance a proposal that does a better job of reducing the number of uninsured.

Here’s how: Senate Republicans should take the House Republican bill and add a $2,000 per person ($4,000 per family) tax credit — refundable, advanceable, and usable only to buy insurance — for those without employer-based health coverage. Currently, those who buy health insurance on the open market have to buy it with income that’s already had taxes taken out of it, while those who get insurance through their employer get it tax-free. This inequality is unfair, and it makes no sense when trying to solve the problem of the uninsured.

Elsewhere, Senate Republicans should more or less mirror the spending proposals of the House Republican bill, though they would be wise to spend more on state-run high-risk pools and less on incentives for innovations by states. They should save money by putting their legislation into effect no sooner than 2014 (just like 98.3 percent of the Senate Democrats’ bill). Importantly, while adding a tax-credit for the uninsured, the Senate proposal should leave the tax status of those with employer-provided insurance entirely untouched. (Millions of Americans are worried that their employer-provided insurance will be jeopardized by the Democrats’ proposed “public option,” and they want to know that their employer-provided insurance will remain secure.)

The CBO has already scored such a tax credit, albeit with somewhat different terms. Based on that prior CBO scoring, this proposal would likely reduce federal revenues by about $190 billion by the end of 2019, while increasing the number of insured by about 12 million. (If it were to insure more, it would reduce revenues by more, and the inverse is also true.) These 12 million people would largely be in addition to the 3 million newly insured from the House Republican bill, and would put a significant dent in the number of uninsured.

According to the Census, there are 28 million uninsured Americans — 46 million, minus 9 million non-citizens, minus 9 million Medicaid recipients that the Census admits were falsely tallied as uninsured. (Note: The CBO has consistently been using the wrong number on this, failing to adjust for the Census’s admitted Medicaid undercount.) President Obama seemingly agrees with this analysis, having said in his address to a joint session of Congress on September 9 that there “are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.” This proposed Senate Republican bill would cut that number in half.

So, how to pay for this? The CBO has already floated and scored the idea to convert Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments into block-grant payments to each state. DSH payments help compensate private hospitals for losses from treating the uninsured. With fewer uninsured, DSH payments need not expand at the same rate. Following the basic outlines of the CBO’s proposal, the Republican bill should set the block grant at 80 percent of each state’s current level of federal DSH funding and index it to the consumer price index minus one percentage point. Based on CBO scoring of a very similar proposal, this would increase revenues by about $135 billion from 2014-19.

Between this $135 billion and the net $68 billion surplus from the other provisions of the House Republican bill, $203 billion would be available to cover the $190 billion tax-cut for the uninsured, leaving a small surplus.

So, let’s compare the results.

The Senate Democratic bill — as passed by the Senate Finance Committee and now in the hands of Senator Reid — would raise taxes and fines on Americans by over half a trillion dollars. A Republican bill along the lines of the one proposed here wouldn’t impose any new taxes or fines.

The Democratic bill would provide strong incentives for people not to buy insurance until they are already sick or injured, raising premiums for everyone else in the process; the Republican bill would provide strong incentives and opportunities for people to buy insurance, letting them shop across state lines for the best values from coast to coast.

The Democratic bill would fail to end runaway medical-malpractice suits, which cause doctors to practice costly defensive medicine, stop practicing in certain areas, and pass along expensive malpractice premiums to patients; the Republican bill would end such runaway suits, saving the federal government $54 billion over ten years, according to the CBO, and likely saving Americans many times that in health costs.

The Democratic bill would funnel those without employer-provided insurance into government-run exchanges, where plans would look similar because the government would tell companies how they have to look; the Republican bill would keep alive and even expand the private market. The Democratic bill would perpetuate the federal government’s counter-productive limits on allowing private companies to offer lower premiums for healthier lifestyles; the Republican bill would welcome these Safeway-style cost-cutting efforts.

The Democratic bill would require younger Americans to subsidize the premiums of older Americans, banning private companies from offering plans to younger people at their true price; the Republican bill would not impose this heavy burden on young adults. The Democratic bill would limit the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), making it harder for people to control their own health-care dollars and forcing them to pay money to their insurance companies rather than directly to their doctors; the Republican bill would encourage HSAs, private control, and price-consciousness.

The Democratic bill would result in an additional 27 million Americans (29 million people) having insurance, at a cost of $31,000 per newly insured American; the Republican bill would result in about 15 million more Americans having insurance, at a cost of less than $15,000 per newly insured American. Otherwise stated, the Republican bill would newly insure about 15 million Americans per $200 billion spent, compared to fewer than 7 million per $200 billion under the Democratic bill.

The Democratic bill would siphon over $400 billion out of already-barely-solvent Medicare; the Republican bill wouldn’t touch Medicare (aside from the proposal regarding DSH payments). The Democratic bill says that it would cut doctors’ Medicare payments by 25 percent and never raise them back up — making it harder for Medicare patients to find doctors willing to see them; the Republican bill would leave doctors’ payments alone.

If Congress doesn’t follow through on the Democratic bill’s Medicare cuts — and the CBO is plainly skeptical that it will — the CBO says the bill would increase our deficits by over $300 billion, as dealing with doctors’ payments alone would cost roughly $250 billion; the Republican bill would be deficit-neutral and would even provide a slight surplus.

Finally, the Democratic bill would likely raise Americans’ insurance premiums substantially; the Republican bill would lower Americans’ insurance premiums significantly — according to the CBO.

The Republican bill would have no obvious weaknesses. Aside from inefficiently and expensively increasing the number of insured, the Democratic bill would have no obvious strengths.

By taking the House Republican bill, adding a tax cut for the uninsured, and adopting a variation on the CBO’s proposal to convert DSH payments into block grants, Senate Republicans could offer an extraordinary — and extraordinarily popular — health bill. This bill would meet both widely stated goals of health-care reform: lowering costs and decreasing the number of uninsured. And it would do so sensibly, affordably, and unobtrusively.

In comparison, the Democratic bill would appear all the more plainly irresponsible, profligate, and counterproductive.

The Republican bill could help convince some centrist Democrats that there in fact is a better way. If not, if would help further convince the American people of this fact. It would provide an important alternative for Americans to consider all the way through the 2010 and 2012 elections — where the fate of any legislation that the Democrats dare to pass on a near-party-line vote would ultimately be decided.

— Tevi Troy, a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, was the deputy secretary of health and human services (HHS) from 2007–09. Jeffrey H. Anderson, director of the Benjamin Rush Society, was the senior speech writer for Secretary Mike Leavitt at HHS from 2008–09.

4a)Reid lays out $849B Senate health care bill
By John Fritze

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled an $849 billion health care bill Wednesday that advanced President Obama's broad vision to revamp the health insurance market but left key moderate Democrats uncommitted.

Introduction of the bill — which Reid said represented "the last leg of this journey we've been on for a long time" — cleared the way for a vote this week on whether to start debate on health care as Senate leaders race to finish a bill by year's end.

Obama called the bill, which combines separate legislation passed by two Senate committees, "another critical milestone" and said he looked forward to getting legislation "to my desk as soon as possible."

The latest iteration of the massive health care legislation, which Reid said would cost $849 billion over the first 10 years, came after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations. It would provide coverage to 31 million Americans who wouldn't otherwise have it and would cut federal budget deficits by $127 billion, Reid said.

Largely similar to a bill narrowly passed by the House on Nov. 7, the legislation would require virtually every American to buy a health insurance plan, would expand Medicaid enrollment by millions and would provide subsidies to help low- and moderate-income families afford premiums.

Among the provisions included in the Senate bill:

•A government-run insurance program similar to Medicare that would compete with private insurers. Individual states could opt out of offering the public plan, and the government would negotiate, rather than dictate, how much to pay for medical services.

•Prohibitions against using taxpayer money to pay for abortions. Insurance companies would be required to segregate private premium money from government subsidies and to use only private money to pay for abortions. The same rule would apply to the public option.

•A half-percentage-point increase in the Medicare payroll tax for individuals who earn more than $200,000 and couples who take in more than $250,000 a year. Insurance plans that exceed $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for couples would be taxed 40%, and elective cosmetic surgeries would be taxed 5%.

•Companies with more than 50 workers that do not offer insurance would pay $750 for each employee that receives a government subsidy for insurance.

"What's not to like about this bill?" asked Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is the chairman of the Senate's health committee.

Hours before the bill was unveiled, Reid was courting moderate Democrats he will need to bring the bill to the floor for debate — a procedural effort that in this case will require 60 votes.

Emerging from a rare evening meeting of Democratic senators to review the proposal, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said he is reserving judgment. "It's one thing to talk about it," he said. "It's another thing to actually have the legislation in your hands." Democratic leaders posted the text of the legislation late Wednesday.

Republicans were critical of the legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the bill "another trillion-dollar experiment."

4b)Republicans blast 'bait and switch' health bill

Digging in for a long struggle, Republican senators and governors assailed the Democrats' newly minted health care legislation Thursday as a collection of tax increases, Medicare cuts and heavy new burdens for deficit-ridden states.

Despite the criticism, there were growing indications Democrats would prevail on an initial Senate showdown set for Saturday night, and Majority Leader Harry Reid crisply rebutted the Republican charges. The bill "will save lives, save money and save Medicare," he said.

The legislation is designed to answer President Barack Obama's call to expand coverage, end industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions, and restrain the growth of health care spending.

Republicans saw little to like.

"It makes no sense at all and affronts common sense," said Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, one of several Republicans to criticize the measure. He added that a plan to expand Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor, was a "bait and switch" with states as the victims.

GOP governors, meeting in Texas, agreed. "We all know a sucker play when we see one," said Mitch Daniels of Indiana. The bill would expand the Medicaid program, which provides health care for the poor, and leave the states with part of the additional cost beginning after three years.

In the Capitol, Reid answered Republican delaying tactics with an initial test vote set for Saturday evening. A 60-vote majority is required to advance the bill toward full debate, expected to begin after Thanksgiving.

Counting two independents, Democrats control 60 Senate seats. Three moderate Democrats have been cagey about their intentions, although none of them has announced a plan to defect. Officials disclosed during the day that Reid had included in the bill a political sweetener for one of the three, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, in the form of $100 million to help her state cover health care costs for the poor.

While the struggle was forming, there were limits. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., backed off his threat to force the 2,074-page bill to be read aloud in the Senate chamber, a move that would have eaten into the Senate's Thanksgiving-week vacation.

Given the political stakes, there was disagreement even about the bill's cost.

Democrats put the price tag of the 2,074-page measure at $979 billion, higher than the $849 billion figure they had cited Wednesday as the cost of expanding coverage to 31 million who now lack insurance. Republicans calculated it at more like $1.5 trillion over a decade, and said even that was understated because Reid decided to delay implementation of some of the bill's main features until 2014.

Officially, the Congressional Budget Office said the measure would reduce deficits by $130 billion over the next decade with probable small reductions in the 10 years that follow — forecasts that cheered rank-and-file Democrats. Among the cost-cutting provisions would be creation of an Independent Medicare Advisory Board which could be required to recommend steps limiting the growth of the program that provides health care to millions of seniors. The recommendations would go into effect automatically unless Congress blocked them.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf has said previously that type of arrangement would be one of the most potent weapons Congress would have to restrain the growth of Medicare, a fast-expanding program supported in part by a trust fund that is dwindling.

But CBO also cautioned the bill includes "a number of procedures that might be difficult to maintain over a long period of time."

The Democrats' cost estimates of slightly below $1 trillion was considerably smaller than a House-passed bill's price tag of between $1.2 trillion to $1.3 trillion.

In part to reduce costs, the legislation would delay until Jan. 1, 2014, creation of so-called insurance exchanges in which individuals and small businesses could shop for affordable coverage. The House would set up its version of the exchange one year earlier.

Both bills would allow consumers to choose between private insurance policies and coverage sold by the government.

The two bills also include billions of dollars in subsidies to help lower-income Americans afford the cost of coverage.

Under the Senate measure, CBO figures show about 19 million people would receive subsidies averaging $5,500 in 2019, at the end of the decade. By comparison, the House bill is projected to provide subsidies to 18 million, an average of $6,800.

Republicans said little if anything about subsidies during the day, instead focusing much of their criticism the bill's tax increases and its curbs in Medicare spending.

Democrats included a new tax on high-value insurance policies, an attempt not only to raise money but also to dampen the appetite for costly coverage. In addition, Reid included a payroll tax increase of .5 percentage point on income greater for $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. Medical device manufacturers, insurance companies, drug makers and recipients of elective cosmetic surgery would also face new or higher taxes.

About half of the bill Reid unveiled Wednesday would be financed by curbs in projected Medicare spending. While providers such as home health care agencies would absorb some of that, the biggest blow would fall on private Medicare plans. Studies show the government pays about 14 percent more to cover patients enrolled in those plans than in the traditional Medicare program.

Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Erica Werner in Washington and Liz Sidoti in Austin, Texas, contributed to this story.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Steep Cost -Worth The Ride? - Obama's World of Change!

An editorial in a Romanian paper. The writer sees the greatness of America, understands the benefits of freedom; something that escapes the Obama, Reid and Pelosi crowd. (See 1 below.)

With us or 'agin' us. A former president once said that. (See 2 below.)

Don Feder, offers more evidence of selective freedom of speech and campus hypocrisy in the world of academia. (See 3 below.)

Go while the going is good because we lack the will, motivation and leadership. (See 4 below.)

Iran the only issue discussed during Netanyahu's visit? (See 5 and 5a below.)

Stratfor analysts do a thorough review of all issues pertaining to Ft. Hood. (See 6 below.)

Historian, Victor Davis Hanson's, thoughts as well. (See 6a below.)

PC'ism has pitfalls and they outweigh the benefits when carried to the absurd as we have done. (See 6b below.)

Most presidents change many of their original views after they enter the Oval Office. Why? Because dealing with reality alters one's perspective from the theoretical when observed from a distance. Is this beginning to happen to Obama? Will the failure of his dreaminess impact his decision making or is he so ideologically gripped by his background, experience, learning and associations he is dead set in his view of what change should create and is needed?

The White House can deny all they want but the mood of the nation has shifted in terms of how many now view whom they thought they elected and what Obama would do to/for our nation. They assumed, after selectively listening to his rhetoric, they were electing a man who would bring racial harmony, who would polish our 'tarnished' world image and who would get the economy back on track. They did not believe he would radically bring about the type of change(s) he seeks in health care delivery, government control of half our economy and spending like a drunken sailor.

Those who did not get sucked in by Obama's 'Music Man' act are even surprised at how radical he has turned out to be but are not surprised to discover he remains mostly an empty suit. Many ignored a resume thin enough to see through and were willing to further ignore the fact that Obama and those he relied upon and sought counsel from had never run anything approximating a business or met a payroll.

Partisans have no recourse but to continue to defend Obama in the face of the change he is imposing. Though, more and more are turned off by his policies, they continue to maintain they like him as a person and see in him good and worthy intentions. In time, should he accomplish most if not all the change he seeks, I suspect the sound of angst and discord will grow. Particularly will this be so should the economy continue in the doldrums and unemployment remain historically high. Obama's blaming GW for all our nation's sins made for good theatre but we are now well into Obama's own production and his name is on the marquee.

Even if there is a swing back in 2010, the damage the Pelosi-Reid crowd will have imposed will never be totally reversed. It is not in the nature of government to revert back - there is no restart button as Sec. Clinton would have the Russian's believe.

So regardless of what follows, I submit, Obama will have effectively changed our nation in ways we will not recognize until many years hence. Some will be for the good but I suspect most will not. I envision an America that will be left economically poorer, with a vastly altered and lower standard of living, a decline in the ability of Capitalism to be as creative as in the past. Technology still remains the best hope of overcoming many of the negative Obama impositions but even here restrictions on entrepreneurship will be restrained and stultified.

Government does not reward initiative. Government does not produce anything but red tape. Government demands bureaucratic sameness. Government does not 'cotton' to those who march to their own drum beat because they are seen as being out of line. Go along and get along. This is how so many make it to the top in D.C.

We already see evidence of chafing by executives brought in to run businesses saved by government funding and now under its control. Executive compensation reached obnoxious and outrageous levels but the market was not allowed to bring it down to more realistic levels. Czars now set salary levels and, in time, this will impact personal initiative. For better or worse, wealth is how you keep score in a Capitalistic system. I have often said only Capitalism could have created the wealth that supports our bloated and wasteful government.

Obama believes wealth must be shared with those incapable of achieving it on their own initiative. This concept will neither elevate the bottom and certainly will disincentive the top. Obama believes power is evil and our nation must apologize for its arrogance. A weakened and grovelling America will neither deter our enemies nor make the world safer. It might even serve to embolden them.

Finally, Obama believes government control is the vehicle best suited to achieve these goals because he does not trust free markets nor free people. For the moment, the market, fueled by dollars with no place else to go, is enthralled but I argue it is only a matter of time before reality confronts those who see opportunity which is mostly a mirage. Inflation will be the consequence of all of this unbridled spending and lowered interest rates. The dollar's direction is telling us nothing less.

So welcome to Obama's world of change. The cost will be steep in my humble opinion and perhaps not worth the ride unless you are discontent with America The Beautiful and see only America The Ugly.


1)An Ode to America ~
By Cornel Nistorescu

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.

On 9/11, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the Army, or the Secret Service that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about.

Instead the Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.

After the first moments of panic , they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the nation al flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing. On every occasion, they started singing: 'God Bless America !'

I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly, with every word and music al note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put into collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy. What on earth can unites the Americans in such way? Their land? Their history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace, I thought things over, I reached but only one conclusion... Only freedom can work such miracles.

2)It Isn't Political Correctness, It's Shariah
By Pamela Geller

In surveying the cultural carnage in the wake of the worst terrorist attack on a military installation in US history, it bears noting that there have been seismic shifts in America. When America was free of the shackles of Islam, say, fifty years ago, the current response to such an attack by an enemy faction would have been unthinkable.

I have watched in abject horror the stunning reaction of elites in this country to this act of war. The denial, the submission, the excuses, the dodging, the self-flagellation, the shame, the deceiving of the American people by the media, the military, society, law enforcement, authorities and politicians, all the way up to and including the White House, amounts to the enforcement of Shariah law.

Shariah law forbids criticism of Islam. And here we are.

We are witnessing an Islamized America. This is well beyond political correctness. We are enforcing Shariah law. We will not insult Islam. That is Shariah law. We self censor. That is Shariah law. We disrespect ourselves, our nation, so that we might respect Islam. This is dhimmitude. We should be raging. We should be outraged. We should be strategizing for this worldwide conflict. We should be debating about which leader will best handle Islam's war on the West. And yet we have not one leader who begins to understand the conflict -- that's how feared the subject matter is. Not one leader.

Recently there was an interesting debate at National Review Online between soft conservatives who soft-pedal Islam and those who stand for reality of Islamic doctrine, conservative principles and the essential truth. By and large, the conservatives have dropped the ball on Islamic jihad. This has been made painfully clear by the lack of a leader (any leader) on the right who speaks to and takes up the fight against the sweeping Islamization of America. America has no Geert Wilders.

The conservatives are not really as bad as the Left is on Islam, but they only get real when there is jihadi "intervention" that invades and destroys the delusion of their narrative.

It is interesting to me that the hierarchy of the conservative movement (take CPAC, for example) stays far away from the counter-jihad forces (i.e., Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom, myself) except at moments like these. Last year there was not one speaker, one event at CPAC that spoke to the greatest threat this nation faces -- which is why I staged the Geert Wilders event at the Omni Hotel, during CPAC (but not a CPAC event) last year.

When the reality of war, Islamic doctrine and bloodshed lays bare the nature of the enemy and the battle we are in, the door creaks open and Robert Spencer starts getting invited to appear on radio shows, and NRO finally runs pieces by Bostom and Spencer that show up the soft conservative narrative on Islam, which is soft and fuzzy and stupid (i.e., "Islamist" vs "Islamic"). Of course, we bad boys will be put back in our boxes until the next terrible time the jihad comes calling.

It pains me to say it, but expect to see us more frequently in the coming months and years. For the giant con job on the American psyche continues apace: He was a crazy! It was "vicarious" Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder! It was "Pre-Traumatic" Stress Disorder! It was radical extremism! It was part of a tiny fringe! It doesn't represent Islam!

All lies. He was devout. He was a jihadist. Period. And many Muslims admire what he did. The Left worries about Muslim backlash. How about Muslim backlash against the infidels? Every "Soldier of Allah" who goes jihad is an enemy combatant. Every devout Muslim who believes in the word of the Quran has his or her duty to Islam, his call to jihad. Hence this terrible act of war, the 14,363 Islamic attacks across the world since 911, and all of the relentless plots, plans and to take down America in the past month alone. Devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service. Would Patton have recruited Nazis into his army?

I am writing this on Veterans Day. I call upon all Americans to step back, consider the unfathomable loss at Fort Hood, the ensuing apologia, and the tragic consequences of such behavior. This is a call to action. You're either with us or against us.

Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs Web site and is former associate publisher of the New York Observer.

3)Academic freedom for thee but not for me
By Don Feder

Of all the sins of the campus left, the worst is hypocrisy. Academic freedom is a spigot they turn on and off at their convenience.

This evening, Ray Luc Levasseur, a convicted terrorist who served 18 years of a 45-year sentence, will participate in a "Colloquium on Social Change," at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, sponsored by a "progressive" faculty group called "Social Thought and Political Economy."

Levasseur was the leader of the United Freedom Front, which worked for social change from 1976 to 1984 by bombing government buildings, robbing banks, murdering a New Jersey state trooper and attempting to murder two Mass. state cops. Given the academic mindset, the only surprise here is that, unlike William Ayers, Levasseur isn't a professor.

On October 6, the U. Mass. administration cancelled Levasseur's participation, due to an outcry by police unions and pressure from Governor Deval Patrick, who doesn't need additional baggage when he runs for reelection next year.

On Monday, the University reversed its earlier decision, and paraded its virtue in the process.

"I am opposed to convicted terrorist Raymond Luc Levasseur speaking at the University of Massachusetts," President Jack Wilson boldly proclaimed. "The University of Massachusetts stands squarely against the outrageous actions he has committed in the past." (Some would say "outrageous actions" was a rather mild description of being an accomplice to murder, attempted murder, bombings and armed robbery.)

Still, Wilson preened: "As a university, we defend the principles of free speech and academic freedom."

In a pig's eye.

My mistake was never leading a terrorist group that blew things up, killed a cop and knocked over banks.

I was invited by the University Republicans to deliver a lecture on March 11 of this year, on hate crimes laws as a form of censorship (punishing ideas as well as actions). The administration didn't prevent me from speaking. But it didn't even try to stop student groups like the International Socialist Organization from shutting down my lecture.

When I tried to speak that evening, I was met by 150 protestors. The young scholars heckled, stamped their feet, shouted slogans, waved signs and banners and did everything short of assault to silence me.

After 20 minutes of being interrupted roughly once every 15 seconds, I called it quits.

There were four uniformed and armed campus police in the lecture hall at all times (as well as plainclothes officers) who did absolutely nothing to maintain order, despite constant pleas from the president of the Republican group.

The administration was well aware of the potential for chaos. It even charged the Republicans an extra $444 for security for the event. But, other than stopping a student from bringing a rat into the lecture hall, the campus cops didn't lift a finger to stop the disruptions. No one was removed. No names were taken for disciplinary action. No one was even asked to shut up.

Other than serving the savages milk and marijuana, it's hard to see how the guardians of campus order could have been more obliging. After the event, I asked several why they stood by while my First Amendment rights were trampled. They smiled ruefully or shook their heads. It was plain they were ordered not to engage demonstrators.

Allowing a speaker to be shouted down is every bit as effective a way to censor him as it is to withdraw an invitation to speak.

To this day, the University lies about what happened at my non-lecture.

In an April 13 letter to The Boston Globe, U. Mass flak Ed Blaguszewski spun the following yarn: "While Feder was heckled, the police handled the situation in the room without difficulty. ... Feder chose to discontinue his speech."

I chose to discontinue my speech because: 1. I had a change of heart 2. I was tired and kept falling asleep in the tranquil surroundings, 3. I didn't like the color of the room or 4. I couldn't be heard above the tumult and decided that trying to continue was futile. The administration still pushes its fiction, even though the event was videotaped and posted on YouTube.

That's the way the University of Massachusetts defends "the principles of free speech and of academic freedom" -- for conservatives.

On March 11, I joined a distinguished fraternity of conservative speakers who've been shouted down, booed and jeered off the stage, harassed, threatened and (in at least one case) assaulted.

The victims of academic freedom include Ann Coulter (University of Connecticut 2005), David Horowitz (Emory University 2006), Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol (University of Texas 2006), Star Parker (Penn State 1999), who said she "feared for my life," and Jim Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project (Columbia, 2006). In the latter case, members of the Chicano Caucus and my old friends in the International Socialist Organization rushed the stage and knocked over tables and chairs to keep Gilchrist from speaking.

On most college and university campuses, academic freedom is a one-way street - for them, but not for us. Besides allowing conservative speeches to be disrupted and conservative papers to be trashed, administrators have devised numerous ways to short-circuit intellectual freedom.

Campus speech codes are the most popular. These are fences erected to safeguard the left's cherished idols. Open inquiry does not extend to challenging affirmative action or any article of the feminist canon.

At Ohio State University's Mansfield campus, a librarian faced charges of sexual discrimination and harassment for recommending three conservative books to incoming freshman. The entire faculty voted to engage in this intellectual book-burning. After a public outcry, the University quietly dropped the matter.

Recently, East Georgia College dismissed Professor Thomas Thibeault for criticizing the school's sexual harassment policy. To question revealed truth was itself deemed sexual harassment. Academic freedom does not excuse blasphemy.

After a campaign by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the college reinstated Thibeault, but issued a "reprimand" for "offensive speech" -- the verbalization of bad thoughts. Imagine Jefferson's reaction to the proposition that being offended trumps freedom of expression.

Students have faced disciplinary action for holding "affirmative action bake sales" (to highlight the absurdity of racial quotas), putting up posters lampooning "gay awareness week," asking "disruptive questions" at a campus lecture celebrating abortion, stepping on Hamas and Hezbollah flags at an anti-terrorism rally (for this desecration, students at San Francisco State University were told they were under investigation for "incivility," "intimidation" and creating a "hostile environment") and advocating Second Amendment rights.

Academic freedom? The typical college campus is the most repressive place in America - an intellectual gulag with tenured guards and draconian punishment for questioning authority.

At least Stalin didn't claim to be for freedom of anything.

4)It's Time to Surrender in Afghanistan
By Michael Filozof

It's time to surrender in Afghanistan. Yep, that's right. Surrender.

Let's sign a document of surrender, apologize for our "aggression," withdraw the troops, and let Osama and the Taliban have a ticker-tape parade in the streets of Kabul before they force women back into their burkas, outlaw education for girls, and start executing homosexuals and Christians again.

It might sound a bit odd for me to make such an outrageous proposal. After all, I'm a hawkish, pro-military conservative, and I've been a lifelong adherent of the "nuke 'em 'til they glow" school of foreign policy. But I say we should surrender because the facts are plain: we have already surrendered in deed, if not in name.

On December 7, 1941, we were attacked by a fanatical, suicidal, non-democratic, non-Western enemy who had a disciplined, motivated, state-of-the art military. The attack killed some 2,000 uniformed military personnel on what was then a territorial outpost.

Our response was to conscript 12 million people into our armed forces, detain all members of the enemy's race for the duration of the war, defeat the enemy in less than four years by using nuclear weapons against his cities, and maintain a military presence in the enemy's nation for the next 65 years after his defeat.

On September 11, 2001, we were again attacked by a fanatical, suicidal, non-democratic, non-Western enemy. The enemy had no disciplined military. He employed only improvised and primitive methods of war. The Islamist militants killed 3,000 people, mostly civilians, in New York and Washington, the economic and political capitals of our nation. We identified stone-age Afghanistan as the origin of the attacks.

Our response was to send a few thousand volunteers to Afghanistan. Eight years later, we have failed to defeat Afghan militants that are largely illiterate and have no uniforms, no tanks, no ships, no aircraft, no satellites, and no armored vehicles. They are equipped only with Communist-designed rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosives.

Our problem is not tactical inferiority, but a lack of political will and a surfeit of political correctness. Following the 9/11 attack, President Bush declared that "Islam is a religion of peace." Try to imagine for a moment that FDR held a press conference on Dec. 8, 1941, to declare that "Japan is a nation of peace." You can't.

At this point it's not even true that Afghanistan is the still the primary locus of Islamic terrorism. Iran has been pursuing nuclear weapons for years. Pakistan -- already armed with nuclear weapons, and probably harboring Osama bin Laden -- could become unglued at any moment.

Yet our political pusillanimity has only gotten worse in the eight years since 9/11. Hardly a day goes by that we don't outdo ourselves in craven groveling and self-debasement before the enemy.

One of President Obama's first acts in office was to ban the phrase "war on terror" in favor of "overseas contingency operations" in government usage. He then traveled to Cairo, declared that he had "known Islam on three continents," and falsely claimed that Muslims had "enriched the United States" since its founding and that Islam has a "proud tradition of tolerance." (Perhaps he might ask the folks at Cantor Fitzgerald and United Airlines about Islamic "enrichment" and "tolerance.") He then apologized for American involvement in a coup against Iranian socialist Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 (a brilliant masterstroke of American foreign policy that kept both the Soviets and the U.S. out of Iran for 26 years), yet stood idly by while the Iranian theocrats rigged their own election this summer. It's now evident that Obama will not prevent the Islamic Revolutionary State from getting nuclear weapons. There will be no military action -- and no sanctions, either. Iran will get the bomb.

In October, only a week after Islamist militants stormed the headquarters of the Pakistani military, Secretary of State Clinton traveled to Pakistan. The radical Yale-educated feminist donned a headscarf in submission -- and the Islamist fanatics responded to her visit by killing hundreds in suicide attacks.

We have reached a point in Afghanistan that the Soviet Union reached in the 1980s: we no longer believe our own propaganda. The Soviets claimed that they lived in a workers' paradise and they were merely bringing the great benefits of communism to Afghanistan. But they knew it was a lie.

Similarly, we say that we're going to bring freedom and democracy to Afghanistan. Maybe we could, of course -- if we wanted to. But we don't. That would require remaking Afghan society the way we remade Japanese society. And President Obama campaigned on the promise of remaking America -- not Afghanistan.

This summer, the president stated that he's "not comfortable" using the term "victory" in Afghanistan. How can he possibly ask troops to risk life and limb in that country after saying that? His subsequent three-month indecision with regard to the Army's request for 40,000 more troops further betrays the fact that we're simply not committed to victory. One can scarcely comprehend FDR openly debating, in full view of Hitler and the world, a request for reinforcements during the Battle of the Bulge.

The assassination of thirteen American troops at Ft. Hood by a Muslim officer in the U.S. Army is the last straw. Despite the overwhelming evidence, our political and military leaders refuse to acknowledge that Maj. Hasan was motivated by militant Islamist ideology. President Obama believes that Hasan just "snapped" from the stress of military life. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano told an Arab audience that she hopes the assassinations at Ft. Hood don't lead to reprisals against Muslims in the U.S.

And Gen. George Casey -- unbelievably -- actually said that if "diversity" in the military were to suffer, it would be an even greater tragedy than the Ft. Hood murders.

If political correctness makes us unwilling or unable to defeat militant Islam from within the officer corps of the U.S. Army at Ft. Hood, Texas, then it's perfectly evident that we're not going to defeat militant Islam in Afghanistan after eight years of trying.

The enemy has not defeated us in battle. They can't. But the Ft. Hood assassinations show that we've already surrendered. There's no sense putting our troops in harm's way in the field if we won't protect them in Texas.

5) Iran was the only subject on the Obama-Netanyahu, Gates-Barak agendas

Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama focused on the single subject of Iran when they met in Washington Monday, Nov. 9 - as did Netanyahu and French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 11. Iran also occupied the meeting between defense minster Ehud Barak and US defense secretary Robert Gates Monday. Washington sources disclose that briefings to the media and joint communiqu├ęs were disallowed for the sake of blacking out the content of the conversations Israeli leaders held in Washington and Paris.

Leaked reports that the Palestinian issue and Mahmoud Abbas' future were discussed in Washington and peace talks with Syria in Paris were window-dressing, as were the power games widely reported as leading up to the Netanyahu's reception at the White House.

The conversation in Sarkozy's private apartment at the Elysee was a continuation of Netanyahu's talks with Obama two days earlier and marked their coalescence around the next steps on Iran.

Back home, the defense minister stressed the importance of "not discounting the peace signals coming of late from Syria" and said that "many barriers fell" at the Netanyahu-Obama meeting "recreating a good foundation for renewing the peace process and reaching accord with our Palestinian neighbors."

This statement was part of the smoke screen set up by mutual consent to conceal the content of Barak and the prime minister's overseas meetings. It was necessary to addressing the minister's need to bolster his shaky position as leader of the left-leaning Labor party and lift Israel's image in Europe which is fixated on the Palestinian issue.

At the same time, a very senior American official related his description of falling barriers between President Obama and the prime minister was spot on and deserved a full stop. The rest of his comment applied to Israeli politics.

5a)Obama's Iran Diplomacy Isn't Working: The mullahs are tightening, not unclenching, their fists

Five months after the first street protests against the sham re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rocked the regime to its core, it's time to assess the Obama Administration's "outstretched hand" policy. From the stalled nuclear talks to the Islamic Republic's deteriorating human-rights situation, it seems the mullahs have tightened, not unclenched, their fists.

No doubt, the conservative hard-liners are under pressure. Mounting international criticism of the regime's controversial nuclear program and the refusal of the pro-reform movement to submit to the repression have led to an increase in tension among the ruling elite. But rather than compromising, Tehran has resorted to the kind of repression and coercion that have helped turn Iran into an international pariah during the three decades since the Islamic revolution brought the ayatollahs to power.

This week's decision to press espionage charges against three U.S. backpackers who were arrested last July when they crossed, apparently inadvertently, into Iran from Iraq is just the latest development in the regime's campaign to silence its critics—domestic or foreign. Under Sharia law, Iran's legal system, espionage is punishable by death. The three young Americans have become Iranian bargaining chips to pressure the White House.

President Ahmadinejad adopted a similar tactic last spring when Roxana Saberi, a journalist with dual American and Iranian citizenship, was also charged with espionage when her only offense was to have overstayed her work visa. Ms. Saberi's detention took place as President Ahmadinejad was pondering how to respond to U.S President Barack Obama's appeal for direct talks . Ms. Saberi's release a few weeks later was the Iranian president's clumsy goodwill gesture to the new U.S. administration. The three Americans currently languishing in Tehran's notorious Evin prison may well experience a comparable "happy ending," but only if Mr. Obama backs off from confronting Iran over its uranium enrichment activities.

The Israeli Navy's interdiction of a vessel with hundreds of tons of Iranian weapons for Hezbollah, Tehran's key ally in Lebanon, is yet another indication of the regime's confrontational approach. Both Hezbollah and Hamas, its Palestinian client in Gaza, are regarded as vital strategic assets by Iran, to be activated against Israel in the event that the crisis over its nuclear program results in armed confrontation with the West.

Iran officially says it is still considering its response to the Oct. 1 offer by the six powers—the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain—to ship uranium to Russia for further enrichment. But it is telling that the Revolutionary Guards thought it prudent to rearm Hezbollah in case their response fell short of international, and particularly Israeli, expectations.

The regime's main priority, though, lies closer to home, where it still hasn't managed to suppress the pro-reform genie that was let out of the political bottle during last summer's election. It's not that the mullahs aren't trying hard enough. After Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader, confirmed Ahmadinejad's victory, the regime's security apparatus has moved with ruthless brutality to crush the opposition.

Iranian human-rights groups say that since the government crackdown began in late June, at least 400 demonstrators have been killed while another 56 are unaccounted, which is several times higher than the official figures. The regime has established a chain of unofficial, makeshift prisons to deal with the protesters, where torture and rape are said to be commonplace. In Tehran alone, 37 young Iranian men and women are reported to have been raped by their captors.

In addition, a series of show trials have been conducted by Iran's Revolutionary Courts. Many of the accused are former high-ranking members of previous administrations who supported Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated presidential candidate.

Yet despite the brutality, the opposition refuses to be cowed. A group of Iranian lawyers, in cooperation with local human rights organizations, has drawn up a list of Revolutionary Guard commanders whom they accuse of war crimes during the post-election crackdown. And last week, crowds of pro-reform demonstrators hijacked the annual commemoration of the 1979 storming of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Instead of the traditional "Death to America" slogans, the government was alarmed to hear Moussavi supporters chanting "Death to the Dictator," a popular anti-Ahmadinejad refrain.

The protesters' courageous defiance and calls for freedom have led Tehran's clerical dictatorship to close ranks. President Ahmadinejad and the cabinet of hard-line conservatives he has assembled around him have not moderated their approach to the nuclear program. If anything, the regime's attitude is even less compromising. Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed Mr. Obama's diplomatic effort to build a new era of U.S.-Iran relations. The U.S. President's promise of "change" was a "contradiction," he declared at a recent rally at Tehran University. "If anyone violates the rights of the Iranian nation, the nation will firmly stand up to them and make them kneel down." With the Iranian nuclear program making steady progress, it's time for President Obama to acknowledge that his diplomacy has failed.

Mr. Coughlin is executive foreign editor of London's Daily Telegraph and the author of "Khomeini's Ghost: Iran since 1979."

6)The Hasan Case: Overt Clues and Tactical Challenges
By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton

In last week’s global security and intelligence report, we discussed the recent call by the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Nasir al-Wahayshi, for jihadists to conduct simple attacks against a variety of targets in the Muslim world and the West. We also noted how it is relatively simple to conduct such attacks against soft targets using improvised explosive devices, guns or even knives and clubs.

The next day, a lone gunman, U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, opened fire on a group of soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. The victims were in the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, a facility on the base where troops are prepared for deployment and where they take care of certain processing tasks such as completing insurance paperwork and receiving medical examinations and vaccinations.

Even though the targets of Hasan’s attack were soldiers, they represented a very soft target in this environment. Most soldiers on bases inside the United States are normally not armed and are only provided weapons for training. The only personnel who regularly carry weapons are the military police and the base civilian police officers. In addition to being unarmed, the soldiers at the center were closely packed together in the facility as they waited to proceed from station to station. The unarmed, densely packed mass of people allowed Hasan to kill 13 (12 soldiers and one civilian employee of the center) and wound 42 others when he opened fire.

Hasan is a U.S.-born Muslim who, according to STRATFOR sources and media accounts, has had past contact with jihadists, including the radical Imam Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki is a U.S.-born imam who espouses a jihadist ideology and who was discussed at some length in the 9/11 commission report for his links to 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. Al-Awlaki, who is currently living in Yemen and reportedly has contacts with al Qaeda, posted a message on his Web site Nov. 9 praising Hasan’s actions. Despite Hasan’s connections to al-Awlaki and other jihadists, it is unknown at this point if he was even aware of al-Wahayshi’s recent message calling for simple attacks, and therefore it is impossible to tell if his attack was in response to it.

However, one thing that is certain is that investigators examining Hasan’s computer hard drive, e-mail traffic and Internet history will be looking into that possibility, along with other indications that Hasan was linked to radicals.

We noted last week that by their very nature, individual actors and small cells are very difficult for the government to detect. They must somehow identify themselves by contacting a government informant or another person who reports them to the authorities, attend a militant training camp or conduct correspondence with a person or organization under government scrutiny. In the Hasan case, it now appears that Hasan did self-identify by making radical statements to people he worked with, who reported him to the authorities. It also appears that he had correspondence with people such as al-Awlaki, whom the government was monitoring. Because of this behavior, Hasan brought himself to the attention of the Department of Defense, the FBI and the CIA.

The fact that Hasan was able to commit this attack after bringing government attention to himself could be due to a number of factors. Chief among them is the fact that it is tactically impossible for a government to identify every aspiring militant actor and to pre-empt every act of violence. The degree of difficulty is increased greatly if an actor does indeed act alone and does not give any overt clues through his actions or his communications of his intent to attack. Because of this, the Hasan case provides an excellent opportunity to examine national security investigations and their utility and limitations.

The Nature of Intelligence Investigations

The FBI will typically open up an intelligence investigation (usually referred to as a national security investigation) in any case where there is an indication or allegation that a person is involved in terrorist activity but there is no evidence that a specific law has been broken. Many times these investigations are opened up due to a lead passed by the CIA, National Security Agency or a foreign liaison intelligence service. Other times an FBI investigation can come as a spin-off from another FBI counterterrorism investigation already under way or be prompted by a piece of information collected by an FBI informant or even by a tip from a concerned citizen — like the flight instructors who alerted the FBI to the suspicious behavior of some foreign flight students prior to the 9/11 attacks. In such a case, the FBI case agent in charge of the investigation will open a preliminary inquiry, which gives the agent a limited window of time to look into the matter. If no indication of criminal activity is found, the preliminary inquiry must be closed unless the agent receives authorization from the special agent in charge of his division and FBI headquarters to extend it.

If, during the preliminary inquiry, the investigating agents find probable cause that a crime has been committed, the FBI will open a full-fledged criminal investigation into the case, similar to what we saw in the case of Luqman Ameen Abdullah and his followers in Detroit.

One of the large problems in national security investigations is separating the wheat from the chaff. Many leads are based on erroneous information or a misidentification of the suspect — there is a huge issue associated with the confusion caused by the transliteration of Arabic names and the fact that there are many people bearing the same names. Jihadists also have the tendency to use multiple names and identities. And there are many cases in which people will falsely report a person to the FBI out of malice. Because of these factors, national security investigations proceed slowly and usually do not involve much (if any) contact with the suspect and his close associates. If the suspect is a real militant planning a terrorist attack, investigators do not want to tip him off, and if he is innocent, they do not want to sully his reputation by showing up and overtly interviewing everyone he knows. Due to its controversial history of domestic intelligence activities, the FBI has become acutely aware of its responsibility to protect privacy rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and other laws.

And the rights guaranteed under the Constitution do complicate these national security investigations. It is not illegal for someone to say that Muslims should attack U.S. troops due to their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, or that more Muslims should conduct attacks like the June 1 shooting at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark. — things that Hasan is reported to have said. Radical statements and convictions are not illegal — although they certainly would appear to be conduct unbecoming a U.S. Army officer. (We will leave to others the discussion of the difficulties in dealing with problem officers who are minorities and doctors and who owe several years of service in return for their education.)

There are also many officers and enlisted soldiers in the U.S. Army who own personal weapons and who use them for self-defense, target shooting or hunting. There is nothing extraordinary or illegal about a U.S. Army major owning personal weapons. With no articulable violation of U.S. law, the FBI would have very little to act upon in a case like Hasan’s. Instead, even if they found cause to extend their preliminary inquiry, they would be pretty much limited to monitoring his activities (and perhaps his communications, with a court order) and waiting for a law to be violated. In the Hasan case, it would appear that the FBI did not find probable cause that a law had been violated before he opened fire at Fort Hood. Although perhaps if the FBI had been watching his activities closely and with an eye toward “the how” of terrorist attacks, they might have noticed him conducting preoperational surveillance of the readiness center and even a dry run of the attack.

Of course, in addition to just looking for violations of the law, the other main thrust of a national security investigation is to determine whom the suspect is connected to and whom he is talking to or planning with. In past cases, such investigations have uncovered networks of jihadist actors working together in the United States, Canada, Europe and elsewhere. However, if all Hasan did in his correspondence with people such as al-Awlaki was exercise his First Amendment right to hold radical convictions, and if he did not engage in any type of conspiracy to conduct an attack, he did not break the law.

Another issue that complicates national security cases is that they are almost always classified at the secret level or above. This is understandable, considering they are often opened based upon intelligence produced by sensitive intelligence programs. However, this classification means that only those people with the proper clearance and an established need to know can be briefed on the case. It is not at all unusual for the FBI to visit a high-ranking official at another agency to brief the official on the fact that the FBI is conducting a classified national security investigation involving a person working for the official’s agency. The rub is that they will frequently tell the official that he or she is not at liberty to share details of the investigation with other individuals in the agency because they do not have a clear need to know. The FBI agent will also usually ask the person briefed not to take any action against the target of the investigation, so that the investigation is not compromised. While some people will disagree with the FBI’s determination of who really needs to know about the investigation and go on to brief a wider audience, many officials are cowed by the FBI and sit on the information.

Of course, the size of an organization is also a factor in the dissemination of information. The Department of Defense and the U.S. Army are large organizations, and it is possible that officials at the Pentagon or the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (still known by its old acronym CID) headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va., were briefed on the case and that local officials at Fort Hood were not. The Associated Press is now reporting that the FBI had alerted a Defense Criminal Investigative Service agent assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Washington about Hasan’s contacts with al-Awlaki, and ABC reports that the Defense Department is denying the FBI notified them. It would appear that the finger-pointing and bureaucratic blame-shifting normally associated with such cases has begun.

Even more severe problems would have plagued the dissemination of information from the CIA to local commanders and CID officers at Fort Hood. Despite the intelligence reforms put in place after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government still faces large obstacles when it comes to sharing intelligence information with law enforcement personnel.

Criminal Acts vs. Terrorism

So far, the Hasan shooting investigation is being run by the Army CID, and the FBI has been noticeably — and uncharacteristically — absent from the scene. As the premier law enforcement agency in the United States, the FBI will often assume authority over investigations where there is even a hint of terrorism. Since 9/11, the number of FBI/JTTF offices across the country has been dramatically increased, and the JTTFs are specifically charged with investigating cases that may involve terrorism. Therefore, we find the FBI’s absence in this case to be quite out of the ordinary.

However, with Hasan being a member of the armed forces, the victims being soldiers or army civilian employees and the incident occurring at Fort Hood, the case would seem to fall squarely under the mantle of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). From a prosecutorial perspective, a homicide trial under the UCMJ should be very tidy and could be quickly concluded. It will not involve all the potential loose ends that could pop up in a federal terrorism trial, especially when those loose ends involve what the FBI and CIA knew about Hasan, when they learned it and who they told. Also, politically, there are some who would like to see the Hasan case remain a criminal matter rather than a case of terrorism. Following the shooting death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah and considering the delicate relationship between Muslim advocacy groups and the U.S. government, some people would rather see Hasan portrayed as a mentally disturbed criminal than as an ideologically driven lone wolf.

Despite the CID taking the lead in prosecuting the case, the classified national security investigation by the CIA and FBI into Hasan and his possible connections to jihadist elements is undoubtedly continuing. Senior members of the government will certainly demand to know if Hasan had any confederates, if he was part of a bigger plot and if there are more attacks to come. Several congressmen and senators are also calling for hearings into the case, and if such hearings occur, they will certainly produce an abundance of interesting information pertaining to Hasan and the national security investigation of his activities.

6a)Same Old, Same Old at Fort Hood
By Victor Davis Hanson

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is accused of murdering last week 13 people (12 of whom were soldiers) and wounding another 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. It was not the first, nor will it be the last, domestic terrorist incident since Sept. 11, 2001.

We now see that authorities had, or should have had, reason to be suspicious of Hasan -- including his contact with a radical cleric and a bizarre "medical" presentation he once gave to Army doctors that focused on Islam and the military.

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Now, we're also learning that someone going by the name Nidal Hasan posted extremist views on the Internet, and that at least one former classmate questioned his loyalty to America.

Yet no one acted.

Was, as there appears to be, a fear among would-be accusers of being charged with politically incorrect bias?

That worry has certainly been evident in the postmortem Fort Hood analysis. Repeatedly the media advised us not to rush to judgment about the motives of Hasan, who, witnesses say, yelled "Allahu Akbar" before he shot the unarmed.

Many commentators were more likely to cite the stresses of hearing patients discuss two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than Hasan's own apparent extremist beliefs.

In truth, the Fort Hood murders fit into a now familiar pattern of radical Islamic-inspired violence that manifests itself in two principal ways.

First are the formal terrorist plots. Radical Muslims have attempted, in coordinated fashion, to blow up a bridge, explode a train, assault a military base, and topple a high-rise building - in ways al-Qaida terrorist leaders abroad warned us would follow 9/11.

This year alone, three terrorist plots have been foiled.

Najibullah Zazi was indicted for plans to set off a bomb in New York on the anniversary of 9/11.

Daniel Patrick Boyd and Hysen Sherifi were charged with conspiring to murder U.S. military personnel at the Quantico, Va., military base.

Hosam Maher Husein Smadi - a 19-year-old Jordanian in the U.S. illegally
- was arrested after being accused of placing what he thought were explosives near a 60-story office tower in Dallas.

In all these cases, the plotter (or plotters) either had ties to terrorists or voiced Islamic-fueled anger at the U.S.

More than 20 other domestic terrorist plots have been stopped by law enforcement agencies since 9/11. On average, in the 98 months since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, a radical Islamic-inspired terrorist plot has been uncovered every four months.

There have also been "lone wolf" mass murderers in which angry radical Muslims sought to channel their frustrations and failures into violence against their perceived enemies of Islam.

Since Sept. 11, several Muslim men have run over innocent bystanders or shot random people at or near military bases, synagogues and shopping malls.

After the initial hysteria died down, we were usually told that such acts were isolated incidents, involving personal "issues" rather than radical Islamic hatred of the U.S. Yet a few examples show that was not quite the case.

The just-executed sniper John Allan Muhammad, who, along with an accomplice, killed 10, voiced approval of Osama bin Laden and radical Islamic violence.

Naveed Afzal Haq is currently on trial for going on a murderous rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building. A survivor said Haq stated his attack was a "personal statement against Jews."

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar ran over nine students at the University of North Carolina. Officers said he told them afterward he wanted to avenge the deaths of Muslims worldwide.

Omeed Aziz Popal struck 18 pedestrians with his car near a Jewish center in San Francisco. Witnesses say he said, "I am a terrorist," at the scene.

No doubt in each case, experts could assure us that there were extenuating personal circumstances - stresses and mental illnesses that
better explain what happened.

Mere mention that such killers typically voiced radical Islamic or virulently anti-Semitic themes often can earn one charges of Islamaphobia, racism or other illiberal biases. Indeed, I expect dozens of angry, accusatory letters in response to this column.

Nevertheless, the facts since 9/11 reveal an undeniable reality.

Every few months either an Islamic-inspired terrorist plot will be foiled, or a young Muslim male will shoot, run down or stab someone while invoking anger at non-Muslims.

In other words, the attack on Fort Hood happened on schedule. It was the rule, not the exception. And something like it will occur again - soon.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War."

6b) The pitfalls of political correctness
By Dick Polman,

This was the key passage yesterday in President Obama's Fort Hood eulogy: "It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know - no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice -- in this world, and the next."

Finally, after days and days of political correctness in high places and in the press, we got an acknowledgement, from the president himself, that the alleged killer was driven to his misdeeds not because he was mentally batty or because he was lonely and troubled or because he was stressed by the issue of overdeployment, but because he was an Islamic jihadist.

Obama didn't specifically say that, of course - he obviously wanted to keep the focus on the terrorism victims, and avoid saying anything that might compromise the federal probe - but his line about "faith" clearly refers to Maj. Nidal Hasan's misbelief that he was acting as a true Muslim. Although Obama could have been more explicit in his condemnation (more on that below), he at least signaled that PC Americans should now dispense with the ritual pussyfooting and call out Hasan for what he really is.

Ever since the shootings, too many smart people have preferred to ignore the mountain of evidence about Hasan's true motives, because (a) they don't want to be viewed as "anti-Muslim" or intolerant of religious freedom, (b) they don't want to say anything that might help trigger a backlash against the Muslim-American community, and/or (c) they don't want to believe that we have, living in our midst and even within the military, religious extremists who want to murder us. To cite just one example, respected New Republic thinker and author John Judis was still insisting yesterday that "we don't know yet what motivated Nidal Hasan...I am reluctant to call him a terrorist, particularly because doing so arouses fears of a jihadist conspiracy in our midst that may not exist."

His argument misses the point; it's now clear that extremists like Hasan can terrorize without being part of any organized conspiracy. Yes, he acted alone...but he didn't think alone. This murder spree proves that jihadist thinking is a clear and present danger, in isolated pockets of the Muslim-American community. And we should be able to say that, out loud - without it being misinterpreted as a slur against the peaceful Muslim-Americans who constitute the overwhelming majority, or somehow as an invitation to round them all up and ship them to Guantanamo.

We have enemies among us. Hasan was apparently one of them. The warning signs were clear for a long time, even though the military preferred to look the other way (for many of the same reasons that made people so reticent after the shootings). As an Army shrink, he gave two lectures, complete with PowerPoint, about how America's war on terror was really just a war on Muslims; about how all Muslims should "fight those who do not believe in Allah"; about how suicide bombings are a way of "fighting for God against injustice of the 'infidels'"; and about how "we love death more than you love life!"

Hasan delivered one of these lectures to a Pentagon medical audience; hia topic was supposed to be environmental health, but the course director chose to indulge him. One military officer, speaking on background to Time magazine, says that people in uniform these days are reluctant to challenge people like Hasan "because they're afraid of getting an equal-opportunity complaint that can end careers." This probably explains why nobody on the intelligence side was able to connect all the dots - which included Hasan's contacts with a radical Islamic cleric (who has since praised Hasan), and his reputed attempts to contact al Qaeda. And if yelling "Allahu akbar" as he opened fire isn't enough for the federal investigators, what is?

Obama took steps yesterday to confront the truth yesterday - tentatively so. He referred to the shooter's "twisted logic," but the grim reality is that those who think like the shooter do not see their logic as twisted. Obama said that "no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts," but those who sympathize with the shooter sincerely believe that their faith does justify such acts. Obama said that no God "looks upon them with favor," but, as Hasan himself insisted in his lectures, God absolutely does.

Obviously, this is highly sensitive stuff. Diversity, freedom of religion, and civil liberties are cornerstones of our creed. And, as a practical matter, the military has a dire need for more Muslim-Americans in the ranks - not just as soldiers, but as language specialists who can help us communicate better in hostile settings. At the same time, the Fort Hood shootings are proof that we can ill afford to ignore warning signs in name of political correctness, or to delude ourselves about a domestic danger.