Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Post Portugal!

An Irish Man sitting in the pub with his wife and he says, "I love you." She asks, "Is that you or the beer talking?" He replies, "It's me talking to the beer." --- Click on:"Instavision: Regressive America: Joel Kotkin on Elitist Efforts to Destroy America's Standard of Living Could it be that progressive politics are actually reversing American living standards? North Dakota is booming, but California is not. What accounts for the difference? Is North Dakota focusing on the basics, while California be losing its sense of optimism? Joel Kotkin thinks that older people in California are benefiting from rich pensions and inequitable tax laws, but young people are not. Find out more as geographer Joel Kotkin talks about demographics and geography with Glenn Reynolds." --- Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2010 LEGEND: Republican Democrat On the fence = Between 40% and 59% to both parties = Leans Dem/Repub (60%-69%) = Strongly Dem/Repub (70%-89%) = Solidly Dem/Repub (over 90%) Rank Organization Total '89-'10 Dem % Repub % Tilt 1 ActBlue $51,124,846 99% 0% 2 AT&T Inc $46,292,670 44% 55% 3 American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees $43,477,361 98% 1% 4 National Assn of Realtors $38,721,441 49% 50% 5 Goldman Sachs $33,387,252 61% 37% 6 American Assn for Justice $33,143,279 90% 8% 7 Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $33,056,216 97% 2% 8 National Education Assn $32,024,610 93% 6% 9 Laborers Union $30,292,050 92% 7% 10 Teamsters Union $29,319,982 93% 6% 11 Carpenters & Joiners Union $29,265,808 89% 10% 12 Service Employees International Union $29,140,232 95% 3% 13 American Federation of Teachers $28,733,991 98% 0% 14 Communications Workers of America $28,376,306 98% 0% 15 Citigroup Inc $28,065,874 50% 49% 16 American Medical Assn $27,597,820 40% 59% 17 United Auto Workers $27,134,252 98% 0% 18 National Auto Dealers Assn $26,311,758 32% 67% 19 Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union $26,229,477 98% 0% 20 United Parcel Service $25,290,039 36% 62% 21 United Food & Commercial Workers Union $25,226,733 98% 1% 22 Altria Group $24,643,651 27% 72% 23 American Bankers Assn $24,048,220 40% 59% 24 National Assn of Home Builders $23,461,905 35% 64% 25 EMILY's List $23,391,763 99% 0% 26 National Beer Wholesalers Assn $22,757,795 34% 65% 27 JPMorgan Chase & Co $22,514,838 51% 48% 28 Microsoft Corp $21,691,408 53% 46% 29 National Assn of Letter Carriers $20,943,434 88% 10% 30 Time Warner $20,327,541 72% 27% 31 Morgan Stanley $20,245,499 44% 54% 32 Lockheed Martin $19,839,004 43% 56% 33 General Electric $19,725,132 51% 48% 34 Verizon Communications $19,690,873 40% 58% 35 Credit Union National Assn $18,908,979 48% 51% 36 AFL-CIO $18,900,396 95% 4% 37 FedEx Corp $18,816,940 40% 58% 38 Bank of America $18,699,265 46% 53% 39 National Rifle Assn $18,209,746 17% 82% 40 Blue Cross/Blue Shield $18,197,594 39% 60% 41 Ernst & Young $18,183,788 44% 55% 42 Sheet Metal Workers Union $18,111,313 97% 1% 43 International Assn of Fire Fighters $17,731,993 81% 17% 44 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union $17,635,976 94% 4% 45 American Hospital Assn $17,562,729 53% 45% 46 Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu $17,445,497 35% 64% 47 American Dental Assn $17,371,235 46% 53% 48 Operating Engineers Union $17,122,185 85% 14% 49 PricewaterhouseCoopers $16,699,488 37% 62% 50 Air Line Pilots Assn $16,586,697 84% 15% 51 UBS AG $16,428,222 40% 58% 52 Natl Assn/Insurance & Financial Advisors $15,984,854 42% 57% 53 AFLAC Inc $15,832,719 44% 55% 54 Boeing Co $15,641,085 47% 52% 55 Pfizer Inc $14,900,921 31% 68% 56 Union Pacific Corp $14,883,203 25% 74% 57 United Steelworkers $14,677,901 99% 0% 58 United Transportation Union $14,475,010 88% 10% 59 Merrill Lynch $14,295,360 37% 61% 60 Ironworkers Union $14,142,975 92% 6% 61 Reynolds American $13,687,778 24% 75% 62 Northrop Grumman $13,560,724 43% 56% 63 American Institute of CPAs $13,367,435 42% 57% 64 American Postal Workers Union $13,312,673 95% 3% 65 Credit Suisse Group $13,138,060 44% 55% 66 National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn $13,029,671 51% 48% 67 BellSouth Corp $12,993,782 45% 54% 68 Anheuser-Busch $12,862,221 48% 51% 69 General Dynamics $12,566,267 47% 52% 70 Comcast Corp $11,888,339 56% 43% 71 American Financial Group $11,760,437 18% 81% 72 Walt Disney Co $11,753,831 68% 31% 73 Exxon Mobil $11,677,631 13% 85% 74 National Air Traffic Controllers Assn $11,630,988 80% 18% 75 Chevron $11,530,759 24% 75% 76 GlaxoSmithKline $11,522,090 29% 70% 77 KPMG LLP $11,478,786 34% 65% 78 Club for Growth $11,357,288 1% 96% 79 DLA Piper $11,357,157 67% 32% 80 Raytheon Co $11,333,292 46% 52% 81 News Corp $11,270,692 58% 41% 82 Natl Active & Retired Fed Employees Assn $11,265,500 77% 21% 83 Koch Industries $11,002,235 10% 89% 84 Honeywell International $11,001,355 47% 52% 85 Human Rights Campaign $10,501,271 90% 9% 86 National Restaurant Assn $10,354,545 16% 82% 87 New York Life Insurance $10,274,174 52% 46% 88 Associated Builders & Contractors $10,264,858 1% 98% 89 Wal-Mart Stores $10,178,938 27% 71% 90 Southern Co $10,162,887 31% 67% 91 Saban Capital Group $10,139,185 99% 0% 92 American Health Care Assn $10,114,879 52% 46% 93 American Academy of Ophthalmology $10,043,708 52% 47% 94 Prudential Financial $10,033,181 50% 49% 95 MBNA Corp $10,029,256 17% 82% 96 Newsweb Corp $9,957,850 98% 0% 97 UST Inc $9,950,761 21% 78% 98 American Society of Anesthesiologists $9,867,537 42% 57% 99 MetLife Inc $9,867,248 54% 45% 100 AIG $9,828,364 50% 49% 101 Freddie Mac $9,819,600 43% 56% 102 American Crystal Sugar $9,792,339 62% 37% 103 CSX Corp $9,791,929 33% 65% 104 Associated General Contractors $9,753,590 15% 84% 105 Indep Insurance Agents & Brokers/America $9,698,525 40% 59% 106 General Motors $9,678,878 39% 60% 107 Securities Industry & Financial Mkt Assn $9,678,182 44% 55% 108 Eli Lilly & Co $9,630,679 31% 68% 109 National Cmte to Preserve Social Security & Medicare $9,610,115 80% 18% 110 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance $9,606,748 39% 59% 111 American Optometric Assn $9,477,163 59% 40% 112 Lehman Brothers $9,357,030 54% 44% 113 American Maritime Officers $9,285,471 46% 52% 114 Transport Workers Union $8,994,649 95% 4% 115 Amway/Alticor Inc $8,872,278 0% 99% 116 Seafarers International Union $8,727,594 85% 14% 117 National Cmte for an Effective Congress $8,707,940 99% 0% 118 National Fedn of Independent Business $8,608,362 7% 92% 119 Archer Daniels Midland $8,522,673 44% 55% 120 American Airlines $8,467,294 47% 52% 121 Ford Motor Co $8,453,192 38% 61% 122 Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp $8,383,535 31% 68% 123 Fannie Mae $8,362,326 54% 45% 124 Painters & Allied Trades Union $8,337,796 88% 10% 125 National Assn of Broadcasters $8,218,537 45% 54% 126 Skadden, Arps et al $8,135,046 78% 21% 127 MCI Inc $8,092,972 46% 53% 128 Wachovia Corp $8,059,347 31% 68% 129 American Council of Life Insurers $7,930,665 38% 61% 130 Amalgamated Transit Union $7,776,918 93% 6% 131 Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assn $7,713,366 45% 54% 132 American Trucking Assns $7,704,240 28% 71% 133 Marine Engineers Beneficial Assn $7,598,877 74% 24% 134 Bristol-Myers Squibb $7,370,699 22% 77% 135 Bear Stearns $7,145,772 55% 43% 136 Enron Corp $6,548,235 28% 71% 137 Andersen $6,253,977 37% 62% 138 BP $6,231,474 28% 70% 139 MGM Resorts International $6,190,170 48% 51% 140 Vivendi $4,704,596 66% 32% --- When all else fails lower your standards. (See 1 below.) --- Not too late? Posting before I leave for abroad trip. Let's see when I get back on April 6. (See 2 below.) --- Arabs may hate us but they still want us to pull their chestnuts out of the fire! (See 3 below.) --- I have now returned from a trip to ortugl and when I have time I will post about that marvelous country and its equally great people who are in the throes of a serious economic downturn which is driving youth to seek jobs elsewhere. Until I do I will post some of the things I have been sent since I left. (See 4 below.) --- The U.S. president talks a good game about democracy and liberty, but when confronting a stubborn foe like Gadhafi, he tends to back down - as Netanyahu and Abbas have noticed. (See 5 below.) --- Stratfor's Friedman on Japan, The Persian Gulf and Energy. (See 6 below.) --- Dick ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1)DAYTON -- The Dayton Police Department is lowering its testing standards for recruits. It's a move required by the U.S. Department of Justice after it says not enough African-Americans passed the exam. Dayton is in desperate need of officers to replace dozens of retirees. The hiring process was postponed for months because the D.O.J. rejected the original scores provided by the Dayton Civil Service Board, which administers the test. Under the previous requirements, candidates had to get a 66% on part one of the exam and a 72% on part two. The D.O.J. approved new scoring policy only requires potential police officers to get a 58% and a 63%. That's the equivalent of an ‘F’ and a ‘D’. “It becomes a safety issue for the people of our community,” said Dayton Fraternal Order of Police President, Randy Beane. “It becomes a safety issue to have an incompetent officer next to you in a life and death situation." “The NAACP does not support individuals failing a test and then having the opportunity to be gainfully employed,” agreed Dayton NAACP President Derrick Foward. The D.O.J. and Civil Service Board declined Dayton’s News Source’s repeat requests for interviews. The lower standards mean 258 more people passed the test. The city won't say how many were minorities. “If you lower the score for any group of people, you're not getting the best qualified people for the job,” Foward said. “We need to work with the youth and make them interested in becoming law enforcement officers and firefighters,” said Beane. “Break down the barriers whether they are real or perceived, so we can move forward in this community.” The D.O.J. has forced other police departments across the country to lower testing standards, citing once again that not enough black candidates were passing. The Dayton Firefighter recruit exam is coming up this summer. The chief said it’s likely the passing score for that test will be lowered as well.Civil Service Board Announces Police Recruit Scores ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 2)It's Not Too Late to Save Libya Defense Secretary Robert Gates has acted as if imposing a no-fly zone would be a military operation on the order of D-Day. In reality, it wouldn't be hard to ground Gadhafi's decrepit air force. By MAX BOOT I have not been one of those castigating President Obama for decreasing American power—either deliberately or inadvertently. His muscular policy in Afghanistan, for example, belies this charge. But there is no question that his weak, vacillating response to the slaughter now unfolding in Libya will reduce American power and prestige in ways that will do us incalculable long-term harm. On March 3, President Obama said that "Colonel Gadhafi needs to step down from power and leave. That is good for his country. It is good for his people. It's the right thing to do." When the president of the United States publicly proclaims that the head of another state needs to "step down," his words carry considerable weight—or at least they should. Yet what has Mr. Obama done to back up his rhetoric? Not much beyond saying that "no option" is "off the table" and that he is actively "consulting" with American allies about how to act. At the rate those consultations are going, Gadhafi will have snuffed out the rebellion by the time that Mr. Obama decides on a course of action. A month has now elapsed since the revolt began on Feb. 15. At first, Gadhafi appeared to be on the way out as rebels seized much of eastern Libya and many officials of Gadhafi's own government defected to their cause. But since then, employing his own troops and foreign mercenaries, Gadhafi has mounted an effective counteroffensive. Not only has he secured the capital, Tripoli, but he has begun to drive the rebels back, recapturing several towns along the Mediterranean coast. At this rate, he could be in Benghazi—Libya's second city, which the rebels captured early—within days. Some policy makers in Washington may be fine with this outcome, because in 2003 Gadhafi gave up his weapons of mass destruction and his support for terrorism. But make no mistake: A resurgent Gadhafi would be a catastrophe on many levels. Most obvious is the human cost of this dictator continuing his 41-year reign: His throne rests on an ever-growing pile of corpses. But there is also the strategic cost. Given the way the U.S. and our allies have turned against Gadhafi, at least rhetorically, he could easily decide to seek revenge by returning to his old tricks. Considering that Gadhafi was responsible for the midair bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988, among many other acts of terror, that is no idle threat. Moreover, if he is able to keep power by force, it will encourage other Middle Eastern despots to emulate his example. Already the Saudis have sent an armored column to quell protests in Bahrain. Expect more of the same if Gadhafi clings to power. The Arab Spring could easily turn into a very dark winter that will arrest and reverse the momentum of recent pro-democracy demonstrations. That means consigning the entire region to a dysfunctional status quo ante in which the long-term winners will be al Qaeda and their ilk. It's not too late to prevent this dire outcome. All that would be required is for Mr. Obama to show as much political courage as France and the Arab League. Neither is known for its principled support of freedom, but both have called for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya. The Pentagon, from Defense Secretary Robert Gates on down, has reacted as if this would be a military operation on the order of D-Day. In reality, it would not be hard to ground Gadhafi's decrepit air force. The job could probably be performed with just one American ship—the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, now in the Red Sea, which has 34 F/A-18F Super Hornets and 10 F/A-18C Hornets along with a full complement of electronic-warfare aircraft. The Enterprise strike group could also unleash a devastating array of Tomahawk cruise missiles. And the Enterprise would not have to fight alone. It could easily be joined by numerous American, British and French aircraft flying out of Aviano and other NATO bases in Italy. A forward operations base could be established at the Gamal Abdul el-Nasser airfield, one of Libya's major air force bases (built by the British), which is located south of Tobruk and has already been captured by the rebels. As the enforcement of no-fly zones over Bosnia and Iraq should have proved, the risks of such an operation are minimal—especially if we first neutralize Gadhafi's air defenses. By itself, a no-fly zone might not be enough to topple Gadhafi. At the very least, however, it would dishearten Gadhafi's supporters and buy time for the rebels. We could further tilt the balance in their favor by bombing Gadhafi's installations and troops. It may also be necessary to send arms and Special Forces trainers to support the rebels. Without committing any combat troops of our own, we could deliver the same kind of potent combined-arms punch that drove the Serbs out of Kosovo when NATO aircraft supported ground operations by the Kosovo Liberation Army. The Libyan opposition movement, led by Gadhafi's former justice minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has been desperately asking for international aid in the form of a no-fly zone. If we finally delivered, you can bet that he and other Libyans would be grateful. Kosovo's capital, Pristina, today has a major thoroughfare named Bill Clinton Boulevard crowned with a 10-foot statue of their savior. It is not far-fetched to imagine a Barack Obama Boulevard in Tripoli if the president finally finds the courage to act. If he does not, you can bet that his name and that of the country he leads will be reviled by democrats across the region—not only in Libya. Mr. Boot is a senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 3)Arabs Love the Pax Americana Fearing a U.S. retreat, the Saudis move into Bahrain. The Arab League's call this weekend for a no-fly zone over Libya is startling news and has sent diplomats scattering. We'll now see if the "international community" (to use the Obama Administration's favorite phrase) decides anything before Moammar Gadhafi's forces overrun the rebel stronghold in Benghazi. The odds favor Gadhafi. But the 22-member league's decision also tells us a lot about Arab views of U.S. power. Throughout the Libyan crisis, we've heard from pundits and politicians that the Iraq war tarnished brand America beyond repair, and made U.S. leadership non grata in the Mideast. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have insisted that the U.N., NATO, the Europeans, Arabs, anyone but Washington take the initiative on Libya. The Arab League is begging them to reconsider this abdication. With the unsurprising exceptions of Iranian client Syria and Libya's neighbor Algeria, the group took the extraordinary step of calling publicly for American intervention in the affairs of an Arab state. Though the League formally asked the U.N. Security Council to approve a no-fly zone, there's little doubt that the U.S. would carry the military and political burden in imposing one. The Arabs know this well, and their message couldn't be clearer. Maybe they even thought Mr. Obama meant what he said in calling for Gadhafi to leave power. The weekend decision confirmed what we've heard privately from Arab leaders for years about America's continued engagement in the Middle East. The only people who suffer from an "Iraq syndrome" are American liberals and the Western European chattering classes. The pro-Western Gulf or North African allied states have nothing to gain in seeing American influence or military power devalued in their region—either by others, or as is the current fad in Washington, through American self-abnegation. Their immediate interest may be to reverse Gadhafi's recent gains against the lightly armed rebels in eastern Libya. Arab hostility to him goes back many years. As neighbors they have much to fear from a post-revolt Libya turned back into a terrorist haven and pariah state. For the proverbial "Arab street," the defeat of the Libyan uprising would be a dispiriting coda to this springtime of democratic revolutions. If he survives, Gadhafi will have taught other dictators that the next time young people demand accountable leadership, turn your guns on them and exploit American diffidence. Beyond those pressing worries lie bigger Arab concerns over the changing power dynamic in the Middle East. New and unpredictable regional players are a neo-Ottoman Turkey and especially an Iran determined to get nuclear weapons. However much the Arabs like to complain about America, they know the U.S. is a largely benign force and honest broker. Propelled by a strong domestic economy, the Turks have built their recent regional standing through trade and a political shift from its longstanding alliance with the West. Tellingly, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan opposes a no-fly zone. "We see NATO military intervention in another country as extremely unbeneficial," he said. Turkey had no such qualms when NATO came to the rescue of Europe's besieged Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, but in the 1990s Ankara saw America as an ally, not a potential competitor. The Sunni Arab states fear the nuclear ambitions of Shiite Iran as much as Israel does. It's not lost on them that while democratic uprisings toppled two Arab regimes friendly to the U.S. and threaten several others, Tehran has squelched the opposition Green Movement without inhibitions. The nuclear program, meanwhile, is Iran's secret weapon to become the dominant regional power. The Administration chose to hear the Arab appeal for American leadership this weekend as if it were no big deal. White House spokesman Jay Carney used the word "international" three times in three sentences and didn't back a no-fly zone or any other military step. The G-8 foreign ministers yesterday failed to support it as well. A draft Libya resolution (sponsored by Lebanon!) is bouncing around at the Security Council, and likely headed nowhere. Not by coincidence, Saudi Arabia and fellow Gulf states on Monday sent military forces into Bahrain to help put down an uprising by the majority Shiites against the Sunni monarchy, which yesterday declared a state of emergency. The Saudis fear that the Bahrain contagion, perhaps fueled by Iran, will spread to them. But their intervention also reflects a lack of confidence that America will assert itself in the region. Remarkably, the Saudis ignored U.S. advice not to intervene in Bahrain. They don't believe they can count on the U.S. to stop an imperial Iran. When the U.S. fails to lead, every nation recalibrates its interests and begins to look out for itself first. While the "international community" fiddles, Gadhafi's troops continue their march eastward, yesterday taking the strategic town of Ajdabiya, the last significant population center before Benghazi. His victory would be a tragedy for Libya's people. But it would diminish America's global standing as well, which is an outcome that makes Arabs as nervous as it ought to make Americans. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4) Feed Your Family on $10 Billion a Day Seems like these days I hear a lot of whiney whiners whining about "out of control government spending" and "insane deficits" and such, trying to make hay out of a bunch of pointy-head boring finance hooey. Sure, $3.7 trillion of spending sounds like a big number. "Oh, boo-hoo, how are we going to get $3.7 trillion dollars? We're broke, boo-hoo-hoo," whine the whiners. What these skinflint crybabies fail to realize is that $3.7 trillion is for an entire year - which translates into only a measly $10 billion per day! Mister, I call that a bargain. Especially since it pays for all of us - you and me, the whole American family. Like all families, we Americas have to pay for things - health, food, safety, uncle Dave America with his drinking problem. And when little Billy America wants that new quad runner they promised, do Mom and Dad America deny him? No, they get a second job at Circle K, because they know little Billy might have one of his episodes and burn down the house. So let's all sit down together as an American family with a calendar and make a yearly budget. First, let's lock in the $3.7 trillion of critical family spending priorities; now let's get to work on collecting the pay-as-we-go $10 billion daily cash flow we need. 12:01 AM, January 1 Let's start the year out right by going after some evil corporations and their obscene profits. And who is more evil than those twin spawns of Lucifer himself, Exxon Mobil and Walmart? Together these two largest American industrial behemoths raked in, between them, $34 billion in 2010 global profits. Let's teach 'em both a lesson and confiscate it for the public good. This will get us through... 9:52 AM January 4 Okay, maybe I underestimated our take. But we shouldn't let Exxon and Walmart distract us from all those other corporate profiteers out there worth shaking down. In fact, why don't we grab every cent of 2010 profit made by the other 498 members of the Fortune 500? That will net us another, let's see, $357 billion! Enough to get us to... 2:00 AM February 9 So we're running out of corporate cash, but look - it's Super Bowl time! As we all know, the game has become a crass disgusting festival of commercialism. So let's take all the TV ad money spent on stupid Super Bowl ads, and apply that to government needs. That would be $250 million, enough to fund us for, let's see... 36 minutes. The half time show, at least. But why stop there? Let's take every cent of ad money spent on all 45 Super Bowls, a cool $5 billion, which would cover us until... 2:00 PM February 9 Speaking of sports, why should the players be immune to our pressing public needs? Lord knows professional athletes make obscene salaries for playing a dumb game. So let's take the combined salaries of all players in the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL. Hey, they've got endorsement deals, they'll hardly miss it. Throw in the total winnings of everybody on the PGA tour and NASCAR, and we get $9.4 billion, enough to get us through until... 1:00 PM February 10 Okay, it's time to stop messing around. Athletes aren't the only ones greedily raking it in. What about America's rich - those fancy pants fat cats living the high life in the above-$250,000 income bracket? According to IRS statistics, these 1.93% of US households are hogging 25% of US income. And why do they need it? For crying out loud, they probably stole it anyway. I say let's take 100% of every penny they make above $250,000. They can use the rest to pay their state and local taxes. Now we're talking big bucks, brother. How much? Let's see... A: Number of US households: 116,000,000 B: Average US household income: $68,000 (median = $52,000) C: Total US household income (A * B): $7.89 trillion D: Percent of households above $250k income: 1.93% E: Number of households above $250k income (A*D): 2,238,800 F: Percent of national income earned by households making $250k or more = 25% G: Total income of households making $250k or more (C*F): $1.97 trillion H: Total income of households in excess of $250k (G - E*$250,000) = $1.412 trillion Alright! Take that, fat cats! Our $1.412 trillion windfall has us covered for the next 141 days, or until... 6:00 PM July 2 Well, I guess maybe there are a few items we can cut from the budget. Those quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example. Why don't we end all funding for those wars, and bring our troops home to march in the Fourth of July parade? That would save us $105 billion Afghanistan and $159 billion in Iraq, a total of $264 billion - enough savings to cover us until... 4:00 AM July 29 Summer blockbuster season! And of course the biggest blockbuster of all time was Star Wars. To punish George Lucas for those stupid sequels, let's confiscate every penny of revenue generated by the Star Wars franchise since 1977 - movies, TV rights, books, toys, action figures, everything - which nets us $25 billion. Enough to keep the lights on until... 4:00 PM August 1 Well, there's plenty more money in Hollywood to go after. So, for the national good, let's evict everyone in Beverly Hills and sell their homes at current market value. 15,000 homes at $2 million per gets us another $30 billion, paying the bills through... 4:00 PM August 4 The kids will be going back to school soon, so we're gonna have to bring out the big guns and really go after those moneybag plutocrats like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Between 'em, those two bastards have amassed a combined fortune of $100 billion. What kind of jerk needs that kind of money? The worst thing is they're shielding it from the public treasury using the oldest trick in the billionaire playbook - by continuing to live. Once they kick the bucket, and after we close the estate tax loopholes, the American public will get the 50% of their ill-gotten loot we so richly deserve. So let's say we arrange a couple of unfortunate "accidents" for Mssrs. Gates and Buffett. Now we've got another $50 billion for the US coffers, enough to get us to... 4:00 PM August 9 Aw, screw it. There are plenty more American billionaires to go after - 398 more to be precise, according to the latest Forbes 400, with a combined total net worth of $1.29 trillion. 398 more "accidents," 398 more estates taxed at 50%, and we've got another $650 billion to tide us through... 4:00 PM October 13 Crap. Okay, let's just kill all the billionaires and take all their money. Add in another 100 or so of the almost-billionaires, and that buys us an additional 73 days until... 4:00 PM December 25 Merry Christmas! Just one more week to go. In the spirit of the season, let's give the surviving conservative wingnuts a few of the budget cuts they've been bitching for, like getting rid of foreign aid. This saves $50 billion - getting us to... 4:00 PM December 30 Only 32 hours to go! To cover the remaining $12.5 billion vital federal program tab, let's pass the cash bucket and demand every surviving American man, woman and child to kick in another another $40 bucks. I'm pretty sure they will, after all those previous "accidents." 12:00 AM January 1 Happy New Year! See? Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Time to do it all again, except this time we'll need to come up with $11 billion per day. I'm sure we'll figure it out somehow. Do you know where we can get some more plutocrats? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5)Exercises in futility By Aluf Benn Libya's ruler Col. Muammar Gadhafi has revealed the weakness of President Barack Obama. The leader of the superpower called upon Gadhafi to leave - and Gadhafi wasn't scared. The whole world saw how very easy it is to preach democracy and liberty from afar, and how much harder it is to back up the verbiage with military action against a cruel tyrant who slaughters his own citizens. Gadhafi's determination has tipped the balance, at least for the present, in the struggle for survival by rulers of Arab countries against their peoples in revolt. Saudi Arabia has followed in his footsteps, and has sent its army to Bahrain to rescue the regime of the Sunni minority from the wrath of the Shi'ite majority. The Americans demanded reforms and openness in Bahrain, and the Saudis have in effect occupied the neighboring island, which is linked by a bridge to their country. The harsh and cruel Gadhafi has always tested the normal limits of the behavior of states and leaders. He has already shown it is possible to survive for years in power under sanctions, threats and even American bombardment. However, the Middle East is full of leaders and governments who have heard demands and dictates from Obama and have simply said, "We've heard you" - and continued doing as they liked unscathed. During the past two years, for example, Iran has advanced its nuclear program and paid no heed either to Obama's lures or his warnings. For its part, Israel slowed down settlement expansion for a while, because the president demanded it, but then went back to building in the territories. Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said "No" to Obama, when the president suggested he waive a condemnation of Israel at the United Nations in exchange for a package of benefits and incentives. Fifty minutes on the telephone, and Abbas didn't budge. Obama always goes with the strong and kicks the weak. When the opposition demonstrations in Iran were brutally suppressed after the falsification of the presidential election results in 2009, Obama disassociated himself from the demonstrators and in effect supported President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He apparently assessed the regime would survive and hoped his neutrality would lead to a thaw in the relations between the United States and Iran. But the Iranians interpreted Obama's stance as weakness and showed no interest in the dialogue he offered them. In Egypt the masses went out to demonstrate in the streets, and the moment Hosni Mubarak was weakened and the army disassociated itself from him, Obama wiped out 30 years of alliance and cooperation. When it emerged the army had taken control of Egypt, the U.S. president supported the generals. Mubarak and the deposed president of Tunisia hesitated to open fire on the demonstrators and were dethroned. Gadhafi fought back and his rule has been saved. For now. Cart before the horse Obama's successful race for the presidency, centered on the sweeping promise of "change," aroused tremendous expectations. In an instance of putting the cart before the horse, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize without having done anything. His supporters say that due to the very fact of his presence and the positions he has articulated, he has encouraged supporters of democracy in the Arab world and has lowered the flames in the Middle East. Their claim is not entirely unfounded. Even before the street revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, the Obama administration had advanced Southern Sudan toward independence. The borders between Israel and its neighbors have been a lot quieter since he took office than they were during the terms of his predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Nevertheless, a far more activist foreign policy was expected of Obama. Both those who admire him and those who do not assessed he would force Israel to quit the territories and would establish a Palestinian state in them. And, indeed, Obama went further than his predecessors and declared that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a national interest of the United States. Right after his inauguration, he appointed George Mitchell, who successfully mediated in Northern Ireland, as special envoy to the Middle East. Here in the Middle East, it was immediately realized that Mitchell was of no value, although he continued to be hosted for futile discussions. He has not been seen for some time now in Jerusalem and Ramallah, even though formally he still holds the envoy position. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working with Washington now through Mitchell's rival, Dennis Ross. When he took office, Netanyahu assessed that Obama would try to depose him. His fear of the president led Netanyahu to impose a settlement freeze at the end of 2009. The fear evaporated when the Republicans regained a majority in the House of Representatives last November and positioned themselves as a shield against administration pressure on Israel. The stance of the House, whose Democratic leaders also offered their support of Jerusalem, pushed Obama to impose a veto on the UN Security Council resolution condemning the settlements - contrary to his administration's position. But recently, when a veteran right-winger asked Netanyahu why he will present a diplomatic plan in the near future, the prime minister explained: "Obama will be elected for a second term." Since his party's defeat in the congressional elections, Obama has preferred to reach agreements with the Republicans and to rule from the center. His energies are already focused on his campaign for re-election, and at a time like that one doesn't wrangle with powerful sectors and lobbies, like supporters of Israel. It seems he is waiting for the diplomatic battle expected this summer in advance of the Palestinian declaration of independence. At that time Obama will have an opportunity to apply pressure to Netanyahu and Abbas - both will be in need of his support. It is doubtful he will take advantage of this opportunity at the start of his election year. But even if Obama makes public a plan for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, the sides will likely reject it. And until summer arrives, Obama will have to deal with the waves of revolt in the Middle East and Netanyahu's insistence upon keeping control of the West Bank. "We don't want Iran 14 miles off our coast, and that's not going to happen," a Saudi official told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius in no uncertain terms. This is how the Saudis are justifying the dispatch of their army to Bahrain - and this is exactly how Netanyahu is explaining his demand to maintain control of the Jordan Valley and the ridges overlooking it, where the settlement of Itamar is situated. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6)Japan, the Persian Gulf and Energy By George Friedman Over the past week, everything seemed to converge on energy. The unrest in the Persian Gulf raised the specter of the disruption of oil supplies to the rest of the world, and an earthquake in Japan knocked out a string of nuclear reactors with potentially devastating effect. Japan depends on nuclear energy and it depends on the Persian Gulf, which is where it gets most of its oil. It was, therefore, a profoundly bad week for Japan, not only because of the extensive damage and human suffering but also because Japan was being shown that it can’t readily escape the realities of geography. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, a bit behind China now. It is also the third-largest industrial economy, behind only the United States and China. Japan’s problem is that its enormous industrial plant is built in a country almost totally devoid of mineral resources. It must import virtually all of the metals and energy that it uses to manufacture industrial products. It maintains stockpiles, but should those stockpiles be depleted and no new imports arrive, Japan stops being an industrial power. The Geography of Oil There are multiple sources for many of the metals Japan imports, so that if supplies stop flowing from one place it can get them from other places. The geography of oil is more limited. In order to access the amount of oil Japan needs, the only place to get it is the Persian Gulf. There are other places to get some of what Japan needs, but it cannot do without the Persian Gulf for its oil. This past week, we saw that this was a potentially vulnerable source. The unrest that swept the western littoral of the Arabian Peninsula and the ongoing tension between the Saudis and Iranians, as well as the tension between Iran and the United States, raised the possibility of disruptions. The geography of the Persian Gulf is extraordinary. It is a narrow body of water opening into a narrow channel through the Strait of Hormuz. Any diminution of the flow from any source in the region, let alone the complete closure of the Strait of Hormuz, would have profound implications for the global economy. For Japan it could mean more than higher prices. It could mean being unable to secure the amount of oil needed at any price. The movement of tankers, the limits on port facilities and long-term contracts that commit oil to other places could make it impossible for Japan to physically secure the oil it needs to run its industrial plant. On an extended basis, this would draw down reserves and constrain Japan’s economy dramatically. And, obviously, when the world’s third-largest industrial plant drastically slows, the impact on the global supply chain is both dramatic and complex. In 1973, the Arab countries imposed an oil embargo on the world. Japan, entirely dependent on imported oil, was hit not only by high prices but also by the fact that it could not obtain enough fuel to keep going. While the embargo lasted only five months, the oil shock, as the Japanese called it, threatened Japan’s industrial capability and shocked it into remembering its vulnerability. Japan relied on the United States to guarantee its oil supplies. The realization that the United States couldn’t guarantee those supplies created a political crisis parallel to the economic one. It is one reason the Japanese are hypersensitive to events in the Persian Gulf and to the security of the supply lines running out of the region. Regardless of other supplies, Japan will always import nearly 100 percent of its oil from other countries. If it cuts its consumption by 90 percent, it still imports nearly 100 percent of its oil. And to the extent that the Japanese economy requires oil — which it does — it is highly vulnerable to events in the Persian Gulf. It is to mitigate the risk of oil dependency — which cannot be eliminated altogether by any means — that Japan employs two alternative fuels: It is the world’s largest importer of seaborne coal, and it has become the third-largest producer of electricity from nuclear reactors, ranking after the United States and France in total amount produced. One-third of its electricity production comes from nuclear power plants. Nuclear power was critical to both Japan’s industrial and national security strategy. It did not make Japan self-sufficient, since it needed to import coal and nuclear fuel, but access to these resources made it dependent on countries like Australia, which does not have choke points like Hormuz. It is in this context that we need to understand the Japanese prime minister’s statement that Japan was facing its worst crisis since World War II. First, the earthquake and the resulting damage to several of Japan’s nuclear reactors created a long-term regional energy shortage in Japan that, along with the other damage caused by the earthquake, would certainly affect the economy. But the events in the Persian Gulf also raised the 1973 nightmare scenario for the Japanese. Depending how events evolved, the Japanese pipeline from the Persian Gulf could be threatened in a way that it had not been since 1973. Combined with the failure of several nuclear reactors, the Japanese economy is at risk. The comparison with World War II was apt since it also began, in a way, with an energy crisis. The Japanese had invaded China, and after the fall of the Netherlands (which controlled today’s Indonesia) and France (which controlled Indochina), Japan was concerned about agreements with France and the Netherlands continuing to be honored. Indochina supplied Japan with tin and rubber, among other raw materials. The Netherlands East Indies supplied oil. When the Japanese invaded Indochina, the United States both cut off oil shipments from the United States and started buying up oil from the Netherlands East Indies to keep Japan from getting it. The Japanese were faced with the collapse of their economy or war with the United States. They chose Pearl Harbor. Today’s situation is in no way comparable to what happened in 1941 except for the core geopolitical reality. Japan is dependent on imports of raw materials and particularly oil. Anything that interferes with the flow of oil creates a crisis in Japan. Anything that risks a cutoff makes Japan uneasy. Add an earthquake destroying part of its energy-producing plant and you force Japan into a profound internal crisis. However, it is essential to understand what energy has meant to Japan historically — miscalculation about it led to national disaster and access to it remains Japan’s psychological as well as physical pivot. Japan’s Nuclear Safety Net Japan is still struggling with the consequences of its economic meltdown in the early 1990s. Rapid growth with low rates of return on capital created a massive financial crisis. Rather than allow a recession to force a wave of bankruptcies and unemployment, the Japanese sought to maintain their tradition of lifetime employment. To do that Japan had to keep interest rates extremely low and accept little or no economic growth. It achieved its goal, relatively low unemployment, but at the cost of a large debt burden and a long-term sluggish economy. The Japanese were beginning to struggle with the question of what would come after a generation of economic stagnation and full employment. They had clearly not yet defined a path, although there was some recognition that a generation’s economic reality could not sustain itself. The changes that Japan would face were going to be wrenching, and even under the best of circumstances, they would be politically difficult to manage. Suddenly, Japan is not facing the best of circumstances. It is not yet clear how devastating the nuclear-reactor damage will prove to be, but the situation appears to be worsening. What is clear is that the potential crisis in the Persian Gulf, the loss of nuclear reactors and the rising radiation levels will undermine the confidence of the Japanese. Beyond the human toll, these reactors were Japan’s hedge against an unpredictable world. They gave it control of a substantial amount of its energy production. Even if the Japanese still had to import coal and oil, there at least a part of their energy structure was largely under their own control and secure. Japan’s nuclear power sector seemed invulnerable, which no other part of its energy infrastructure was. For Japan, a country that went to war with the United States over energy in 1941 and was devastated as a result, this was no small thing. Japan had a safety net. The safety net was psychological as much as anything. The destruction of a series of nuclear reactors not only creates energy shortages and fear of radiation; it also drives home the profound and very real vulnerability underlying all of Japan’s success. Japan does not control the source of its oil, it does not control the sea lanes over which coal and other minerals travel, and it cannot be certain that its nuclear reactors will not suddenly be destroyed. To the extent that economics and politics are psychological, this is a huge blow. Japan lives in constant danger, both from nature and from geopolitics. What the earthquake drove home was just how profound and how dangerous Japan’s world is. It is difficult to imagine another industrial economy as inherently insecure as Japan’s. The earthquake will impose many economic constraints on Japan that will significantly complicate its emergence from its post-boom economy, but one important question is the impact on the political system. Since World War II, Japan has coped with its vulnerability by avoiding international entanglements and relying on its relationship with the United States. It sometimes wondered whether the United States, with its sometimes-unpredictable military operations, was more of a danger than a guarantor, but its policy remained intact. It is not the loss of the reactors that will shake Japan the most but the loss of the certainty that the reactors were their path to some degree of safety, along with the added burden on the economy. The question is how the political system will respond. In dealing with the Persian Gulf, will Japan continue to follow the American lead or will it decide to take a greater degree of control and follow its own path? The likelihood is that a shaken self-confidence will make Japan more cautious and even more vulnerable. But it is interesting to look at Japanese history and realize that sometimes, and not always predictably, Japan takes insecurity as a goad to self-assertion. This was no ordinary earthquake in magnitude or in the potential impact on Japan’s view of the world. The earthquake shook a lot of pieces loose, not the least of which were in the Japanese psyche. Japan has tried to convince itself that it had provided a measure of security with nuclear plants and an alliance with the United States. Given the earthquake and situation in the Persian Gulf, recalculation is in order. But Japan is a country that has avoided recalculation for a long time. The question now is whether the extraordinary vulnerability exposed by the quake will be powerful enough to shake Japan into recalculating its long-standing political system. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wake Up America!

Doubt you will see this reported in your newspapers etc. It would be embarrassing to Obama who has been courting Syria thinking soothing words and re-establishing our Embassy would turn Assad into a pussy cat.

Obama remains a dangerous dreamer and/or a blind idiot. He is confused and his sympathies misplaced. If purposeful then that is even worse so, out of kindness, I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Wake up America, open your eyes and quit trying to deny the obvious.

Also an entire generation have been schooled in contempt for our nation by elitists on American campuses. They associate with Obama, they think and breath like him.
They have intellectual cataracts when it comes to viewing our nation.

But then you decide. (See 1, 1a and 1b below.)
Hill writes stay focused on the messiah! (See 2 below.)
Shrillness always seems to dictate. Resists the nuclear naysayers who have been given their moment of triumphal glory.

Life is a series of the assumption of calculated risks. This is why before passing judgement it is wise to seek advice from the best minds, calm down and think rationally. (See 3 below.)
1)Israeli navy intercepts vessel carrying arms delivered by Iranian warships

Israeli Navy's elite Shayetet 13 commandos intercepted the German-owned A.S. Victoria Tuesday, March 15 about 320 kilometers off Israel's Mediterranean coast on its way from the Turkish port of Mercin to Egyptian El Arish with Alexandria its final destination.

The Liberian-flagged vessel was carrying a large consignment of weapons including C-704 shore-to-ship missiles with a range of 35 kilometers and heavy mortars shells bound for the Palestinian Hamas in the Gaza Strip. debkafile reports the consignment was picked up at the Syrian port of Latakia after being offloaded there by the two Iranian warships which transited the Suez Canal February 22.

The ship's documents and crew showed the vessel had departed from Latakia Port in Syria before proceeding to Mercin Port in Turkey. At least three crates of weapons were uncovered on board. Hundreds of others will be inspected when the ship reaches Israeli port. The crew did not resist the Israeli naval commandoes who boarded the vessel.

The US and Israeli navies did not stop the Iranian Alvand missile destroyer and Kharg logistical cruiser when they applied to transit the canal last month, asserting that they could not be stopped as they were not carrying contraband weapons. Egyptian Suez Canal officials made the same determination after reporting they had been inspected. Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the voyage was no more harmful than a "cadets' outing.The Iranian warships were carrying missiles
It now turns out that the clean bill of health they all gave the Iranian warships was not based on fact.

At the same time, military sources report that from the time that the Iranian navy ships entered the Mediterranean, US and Israeli warships and spy planes kept their movements under close surveillance: Around Feb. 25-26, the Kharg was seen offloading a large batch of containers at Syrian Navy ordnance depots in Latakia port.

In the second half of last week, the German A.S Victoria docked there and was seen loading the containers delivered by the Iranian warships at Latakia.

It now appears that the ship was instructed to detour to the Turkish port and wait there for a couple of days to disguise its real destination.

But after learning that the arms were bound for El Arish, in northern Sinai, Israel decided to apprehend the cargo before it could be delivered, whether to Hamas in Gaza or radical Egyptian Muslims, which Iran has been backing and funding.

Hamas would have arranged to have had it picked up at Al Arish and spirited into the Gaza through its smuggling tunnels. But it is possible too that Iran, while originally planning to consign the weapons to the Palestinian extremists in Gaza, changed their destination later to Egypt.

Much about this episode is still obscure, except for the clear evidence of military intelligence cooperation between Tehran, Damascus, Ankara, Hizballah and Hamas in the smuggling of Iranian weapons to radical groups in the region.
Cairo may have something to say about the seizure in international waters of a ship bound for Egyptian waters, albeit one surreptitiously carrying arms. Ankara, too, will not enjoy the exposure of Mercin, a port under the close supervision of the Turkish Navy, as a hub for the illegal transfer of Iranian war materials to the Palestinian Hamas and anti-government forces fighting Arab regimes.

Intelligence sources report that several boats loaded with arms for the Libyan rebels sailed out of Mercin in the last few days. They were bound for the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

It was decided in Jerusalem that whatever the destination of the Iranian weapons cargo may be, severing this link in Iran's new weapons smuggling route was absolutely essential

1a)Obama's First Two Years a Disaster for America
By Chad Stafko

Recall the euphoria that surrounded Barack Obama during the 2008 election season and after he was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. Life was going to be blue skies and rainbows, or at least we were told, with hope and change on the way. The American people would be better off and so would our nation with Obama in control. After a little more than two years as the President, those blue skies have turned gray with not the slightest hint of a rainbow.

Some professed that with Barack Obama as President, the staples of life would become affordable if not altogether free. Surely you remember Peggy Joseph who said, at a Barack Obama campaign event in August 2008, that she would not have to worry about paying for her gas and mortgage. Consider what has happened to those staples of life during the Obama presidency.

As of March 14, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.57/gallon. When Obama took office in January 2009, the price was $1.81/gallon. That represents more than a 90% increase in just over two years.

To put that in perspective, assume you have a 40 mile round trip commute to work, your car gets 20 miles per gallon and that prices remain the same going forward. Relative to January 2009, you are paying about $18 more per week and about $72 more per month at the pump.

The pertinent question we might ask is, "What has President Obama done in the past two years to limit the rise of oil and gasoline prices, if anything?" The answer is...nothing. If anything, his policies have contributed towards rising prices. Recall the moratorium he enacted on oil drilling following the BP oil spill that further limited the supply of the commodity from our own waters. His failure to support drilling in ANWR and his overt allegiance to the anti-drilling environmental fringe has also directly contributed to less supply of oil and therefore higher oil prices.

Ms. Joseph also looked forward to Obama paying her mortgage. Well, many Americans don't have to worry about a mortgage anymore, as they've had their houses foreclosed. In 2009, a record 2,824,674 foreclosures took place, while 2,872,892 foreclosures occurred in 2010. In other words, 5.7 million families have lost their homes, but at least they're not up all night wondering how they will pay their mortgage.

It just wasn't supposed to be this way, at least in the eyes of the 53% of voters who cast their ballot for Barack Obama. After all, President Obama's policies were going to reignite the economy and keep the unemployment rate below 8% at least that is what we were told, thereby making those aforementioned mortgages affordable. The opposite has occurred.

In December 2008, President Bush's final full month in office, the nation's unemployment rate stood at 7.3%. From that point until December 2010, a period in which Obama benefited from accommodative Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the unemployment rate rose to 10.1% at one time and remained at or above 9.5% from July 2009 until November 2010.

This resulted despite unprecedented government spending labeled as "economic stimulus."

What happened? Instead of a surge in America's economic growth, we've seen a surge in America's deficit. Under the direction of President Obama, the United States has seen its deficit increase by more than $3 trillion or by nearly $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in America.

Then there was the promise of "When there's a bill that ends up on my desk, as President, you, the public, will have five days to look online to find out what's in it before I sign it...." Again, the reality has been the complete opposite.

Rewind to March 2010, when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in reference to the ObamaCare bill, said, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Really? I thought that 2,700 page bill would be posted on the Internet for all to view for five days. Instead, it was rushed through and pushed down our throats, despite most Americans not in favor of it. Again, Obama failed to deliver, as he has time after time.

We are now just after the halfway point of the Obama presidency. Based on the facts, we are no better off as a nation than we were when Obama took office. The average American citizen has failed to see an improvement in his or her lifestyle versus two years ago. This is a presidency, up to this point, that has been an absolute disaster for our nation and our people.

Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at

1b)Can Niall Ferguson Save Civilization?
By Bernie Reeves

Harvard professor Niall Ferguson first gained mainstream notice for his 2003 book Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World that dared to present a fair-minded appraisal of imperialism, virtually an act of treason to the curia of radical scholars who view the age of empire as a one-sided matter. To them, the colonial powers were evil, malicious exploiters of indigenous peoples held captive by European plutocrats motivated by greed, plunder and glory. The other side of the equation has been ignored for over a generation.

This view suited the radical creed disseminated by the Soviets during the Cold War, who pounded out propaganda emphasizing that the workers paradise mandated constant struggle against "imperialists." Perhaps this was a cogent point during World War 1, when the Bolsheviks took control of Russia and pulled out of the conflict between colonial powers engaged in a ludicrous blood-letting generated by territorial jealousies. But the epithet continued to be used as a bludgeon by KGB "active measures" propaganda against the "main adversary", the United States. Beginning in the 1930s and through World War 2 when the USSR was our ally, the depiction of the US as an imperialist power picked up in earnest from the Korean conflict in the early 1950s, into the Vietnam War from the early 1960s to 1975. Not until the disintegration of the USSR did the accusation abate.

Americans had no reason to think of themselves as imperialists. After all, the United States was created in revolution against an imperial power, and ever since has reached out to nations and peoples who desired freedom from oppressors. Yet the post-World War 2 generation came to believe they were imperialists listening to student radicals singing from the Soviet propaganda hymn book in the 1960s. Vietnam was a war of imperialism shouted the placards unfurled in anti-war rallies, adjacent to "Hell no, we won't go" and "Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" -- an ironic attack by the Left on the most potent liberal to hold the presidency to that time.

By the early 1980s, the campus radicals had risen to positions of power as tenured professors and department heads. Like a sleeper cell, they waited for their moment and seized it. The liberal arts were the main target: history, languages, English, anthropology, classical studies, political science, psychology were stripped of the accumulation of knowledge from the beginnings of western civilization in ancient Greece. This treason against western culture required smashing historically accepted definitions to create a new pedagogical omelet focused on race, gender and sensitivity to other cultures. And right on cue appeared the accompanying chant: "Hi-ho, hi-ho Western Civ has to go".

Since the new radical doctrine was incubated in socialist realism, the first objective was to manufacture equality via a perverse affirmative action initiative by elevating underdeveloped nations to equal status with the world's greatest cultures. It was sold as "multiculturalism," and, consistent with leftist screeds, hid behind the skirts of a noble outcome -- "inclusiveness" -- i.e. it is good to study and respect all cultures rather than emphasis on the big achievers.

In this disguise, the real dirty work was undertaken: dismantling and de-emphasizing the achievements of the western world by dramatizing its sins in order to "apologize' to the victims of imperialist exploitation and racism. To enforce the new credo on campus, the "politically correct" police attacked and discredited those that dared defy the party line, labeling offenders as racist, chauvinistic, homophobic ,or, of course, imperialistic. In the cloister of academic freedom, free speech was extinguished.

In situations requiring attention the radicals cannot side-step, such as World War 11, events are twisted against the West, for example staining the US/Allied victory in the Pacific Theatre with shame for dropping nuclear bombs on Japan. This subterfuge is a favorite propaganda campaign of the National Endowment for the Humanities, just one example of the spread of the radical re-interpretation of history that has seeped out into government agencies, public schools and the media.

Just as model farms and bear hugs concealed KGB thugs rounding up and executing millions of innocent Russians, the façade of multiculturalism served as cover for the murder of western culture. The dirty deed is done, despite Niall Ferguson's efforts, the latest being a British-produced television series Civilization: The West And The Rest. Scots-Brit Ferguson compares his series to the famous Civilization program on BBC aired on PBS stations in the 1970s. Hosted by aristocrat Kenneth Clark, the program defined western culture, and obviously made a big impression on Ferguson . As well it should have, although after what has happened to Western civilization since makes Clark's program a quaint anachronism.

The key question is: will Ferguson in his TV series lay the blame for the dismantling of Western civilization where it belongs? Squarely on the Soviets and KGB "active measures" -- and their co-conspirators, the Left in the US and other Western nations, who carried the attack into academia and continue their dirty work well past the collapse of the USSR? Check up on what Bill Ayers is up to and you will get the picture. The West has been infiltrated and defeated right under our noses.

But it is too late to put the post-modern multicultural genie back in the bottle. After 40 years of warfare against their own society by radical scholars, college graduates since the mid-80s are hopelessly clueless when it comes to comprehending current events. Famous figures who shaped the modern world have been excised from the "new history" curriculum now masquerading as scholarship, banished for living in an era considered racist and imperialistic.

No longer "proud to be an American", younger generations have been deprived of their cultural self-esteem and see themselves as the cause of society's and the world's problems. Fighting to keep the world free, achieving magnificent technological advances, creating literature, music and a workable government are dismissed as the blood-stained handiwork of white male chauvinist, racist imperialists. Even global warming is the fault of our forbears. No wonder adolescent suicide is on the rise.

Not only has history been "airbrushed" with Stalinist precision by the radical scholars, it hardly exists anymore in the minds of the under-50 age group. Current events to them rise up out of the ether since they have no information or skills to frame or interpret, even as the information society serves up instantly accessible information. But most tragically, we have lost our self-esteem as a culture after 40 years of incessant attacks on our Western inheritance. Civilized mankind as we knew it is now the object of sneers and ridicule caused by the enemy among us, "useful idiots" on campus who purloined our pride in achievement in the name of class warfare and a corrupt doctrine that eventually imploded.

I fear it is too late for all good men like Niall Ferguson to come to the aid of their culture.

Bernie Reeves is editor and publisher of Raleigh Metro Magazine and Founder of the Raleigh Spy Conference.
2)2012 will be about Obama
By David Hill

The greatest political deception of the month must be that PowerPoint presentation — the 10-slide deck that shows the president matched against various Republicans — that is being trundled around the country for showings to audiences of Democrat fat-cats. Naturally, I haven’t been invited to view it, but I am betting that the data shared with big donors does not show the “deserves reelection” percentage earned by the president. That would scare off the faint-hearted. So, instead, the deceivers show the head-to-head results of Obama versus Michele Bachmann. I can’t believe sophisticated contributors are falling for this.

Not only is this “data-based” sleight of hand misleading about the president’s empirical prospects — the larger strategic premise is flawed. Advisers to the president’s nascent reelection campaign keep talking about where they are today versus four years ago. Worse off, they acknowledge. But then they start criticizing the Republicans for not being where the Democrats were four years ago. It’s as if they think they (and even Republicans) are going to succeed by going back to the future.

All this logic is terribly flawed. Here’s why. The contest four years ago was for an open seat. Open-seat races are about all comers and both parties. The 2012 election will be a reelection contest. It will focus narrowly on the incumbent. Has Barack Obama handled the presidency well enough to deserve reelection? Virtually all incumbents, and even a few challengers, appear to resent this one-sided nature of reelection contests. But resentment doesn’t alter the reality.

Incumbents, including Obama, react to this certainty by doubling down on opposition research. They figure they can “make it all about the challenger” with enough dirt to induce people to forget about the incumbent’s failures. Sure, if you have pictures of the challenger committing an ax murder, you might turn the tables, but the standard oppo file doesn’t hold enough garbage to transform a reelection campaign into a referendum on the challenger. Like it or not, Jim Messina and David Axelrod, this is going to be a referendum on your administration. Get used to it. Don’t take it personally, either, like some sort of martyr. All incumbents face this judgment. If Obama had only had the wisdom to get seasoned by a Senate reelection campaign before running for the White House, he would have had some experience with this truth.

The takeaway from this for Republicans presidential aspirants is not to get sucked into the Obama alternate-reality scenario. Don’t start too early. That only helps the Democrat snipers sighting their targets. Republicans also should drop delusions that this is about their own biographies, accomplishments and policies. They must keep the judgment focused on the incumbent. Sure, Republicans can do some touting of their pasts, but always highlighting how their own deeds compare and contrast with the failures of the incumbent. Keep the heat on. It’s how incumbents are toppled.

There’s an even more practical reason that Republicans cannot be goaded onto the playing field too early: money. To run a proper presidential campaign, even with a skeletal, pared-down organization, will cost at least $50,000 a day. I didn’t say a week. I said 50 grand every day, seven days a week. Multiply that goal times eight or nine candidates and you are chewing through more than $50 million just in the next six months. There’s simply not enough in the pockets of the Republican faithful to bankroll that kind of spending. Hold off.

The question about deserving reelection is not asked often enough by the public pollsters. The last time The Hill reported Obama’s results, in December, only 42 percent said he’s worth another term. That’s far more telling than Obama’s double-digit lead over Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin in someone’s PowerPoint presentation.

David Hill is a pollster that has worked for Republican candidates and causes since 1984.
3)Fear the Media Meltdown, Not the Nuclear One
Relax: this is not another Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, and I'll tell you exactly why. The only thing to fear is the sensationalist reporting that has the world panicked.
By Charlie Martin Share

The March 11 earthquake off the coast of Japan has been an unprecedented disaster. Now estimated to have been a magnitude 9 earthquake — one of the top five earthquakes measured since reporting started in 1900 — it was the result of a “megathrust” in which an area of sea floor bigger than the state of Connecticut broke free and moved under the force of colliding tectonic plates. It was so strong that it literally moved the entire island of Honshu eight feet to the east. The earthquake was then followed by a tsunami comparable to the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 — but since the epicenter of the quake was only a few miles off the coast of Japan, the tsunami struck the heavily populated coast of Honshu with almost no warning, basically washing many coastal villages off the face of the earth.

The earthquake and tsunami seriously damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi (“number one”) and Daini (“number two”) in Okuma, in Fukushima Prefecture, and also damaged the Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture. In total, of the 55 nuclear power generation plants in Japan, 11 have been forced to shut down, cutting power generation capacity in Japan dramatically and forcing the country to adopt a series of rolling blackouts. It would seem impossible to overstate the severity of the crisis.

The media, however, has risen to the challenge, with a combination of poor information, ignorance, and alarmism, along with antinuclear activists passing themselves off as unbiased experts.

Let’s try to make some sense of it all.

Basics of How Reactors Work

The Fukushima plants have several reactors built on the same basic design, either by GE or by Japanese companies licensed by GE. These are all “boiling water” reactors, which means just what it sounds like: the heat of the nuclear reaction boils water; the steam generated is used to drive turbines and thereby generate power. The water in direct contact with the reactor core known as “coolant” is nothing particularly special, just demineralized; water itself isn’t very susceptible to becoming radioactive, but minerals and contaminants in the water can be. If the water is purified, there’s less radioactive waste to deal with.

The cooling water is pumped past the reactor core in normal operation to get the energy with which power is generated, and of course to cool the core. If there’s an accident, the reactor is shut down by inserting the “control rods,” made of some material that absorbs neutrons and so slows the nuclear fission from which the reactor gets its power. Even a shut down reactor continues to need cooling, however; there’s an immense amount of residual heat still left in the reactor core. This means continuing to run the pumps, and of course with the reactor shut down they can’t be run from the reactor’s power, so there are diesel generators as a backup, and batteries as a further backup to the generator.

If all the cooling fails for some reason, the accumulated heat can’t escape; the water boils away, and once it’s gone, the materials that make up the reactor core break down. This is a Bad Thing, because the controls on the reactor fuel also break down; it starts to heat up again. This is what’s called a meltdown. When this happened at Chernobyl, the reactor core quickly became hot enough to vaporize the reactor’s fuel and a good part of the other material around it, leading to an explosion that destroyed the building that housed the reactor.

To prevent that from happening in commercial reactors in the capitalist bloc, the reactor is inside three concentric safety vessels: first, the “boiler” itself; second, a massive steel bottle; and third, an even larger and more massive reinforced steel, concrete, and graphite outer containment vessel. In case of a meltdown, the whole reactor should be contained within the steel secondary containment vessel, but if it’s not, the molten reactor core drops to the graphite floor of the third vessel, where it spreads out across the floor. This causes the reactor to stop, and it can cool naturally. Eventually the pieces can be cleaned up.

This whole structure is then inside a big conventional steel building that is the outside wall of the reactor complex.

What happened at Fukushima Daiichi

The original earthquake hit. Three of the six reactors were in operation, the other three were shut down for scheduled maintenance. The reactors were designed to sustain an earthquake of magnitude 8.2; at magnitude 9, the Honshu quake was 16 times more powerful. This caused the plant to automatically shut down; this was apparently successful, but …

About an hour later, the tsunami hit. The tsunami did two significant things: it destroyed the backup generators that kept the pumps running, and it apparently so contaminated the reserve coolant that it was not only no longer pure, but was so mucked up with the scourings of the tsunami that it couldn’t be safely pumped. At this point, the reactor was in some trouble.

As the reactor heated up, water began to react with the zirconium fuel-rod containers, liberating hydrogen, which started to build up in the boiler. The operators began to vent gases from the reactor to reduce the pressure, liberating the hydrogen into the outer façade building. These gases are mildly radioactive, mainly with nitrogen-16 and several isotopes of xenon, all products of the fission reaction that powers the reactor; apparently they were vented into the outer building in order to slow their dispersion and give them a chance to lose radioactivity.

Hydrogen in combination with the oxygen in the air can be explosive, and at some time after the venting started in reactor 3, the hydrogen in the outer façade exploded, blowing off the walls of upper half of the building and leaving the steel structure exposed. This explosion put six workers in hospital, with various injuries and one apparent heart attack. This was the first spectacular explosion that raised great clouds of white smoke.

This was reported in the New York Times as “radiation poisoning.” No other source has reported this, including the IAEA. Apparently, according to the Times, radiation poisoning breaks arms.

The second explosion was another hydrogen explosion; as before, apparently what was destroyed was the outer building that surrounds the containment, not the containment itself.


This is the point at which the media confusion starts. Many stories concentrating on the reactor accidents were illustrated with blazing pictures of a natural gas plant explosion and a burning oil refinery, much more visually impressive than a building with the façade stripped off, but giving the false impression of a blazing inferno at the reactors.

Several headlines said “nuclear explosion,” which is something very different from “an explosion in a nuclear power plant.”

Anti-nuclear politicians like Congressman Ed Markey and anti-nuclear activists from groups like the Institute for Policy Studies warned ominously of “another Chernobyl” — which this isn’t and never will be; the reactors are wildly, radically, different in design. (More on this below.)

Television talking heads talked about the “containment building.” Which is strictly true, since the building in which the containment is housed would be the “containment building” — but misleading and confusing, because the containment for all three reactors remained intact.

So there’s the first bottom-line point: at least so far, the inner, steel, containment vessel on all three Fukushima reactors remains intact.


When the gases started to be released from the containment vessels, that meant there was some release of radiation. With their usual nuance, the media reported only that there was radiation released; since there was detectable radioactivity on the clothes and bodies of the men injured in the explosion, this apparently turned into “radiation poisoning,” even for the poor guy who had the heart attack.

But how much radiation was really released? There are several ways to measure radiation, but what we’re usually concerned with is the dose received — that is, how much radiation has hit the body of someone who gets exposed. It can be thought of like sunburn — if you’re out in strong sunlight for fifteen minutes, you are getting a “small dose” of sun; four hours, and you get a “big dose” and may get a sunburn.

In the U.S., this is usually measured as Roentgen, named for the discoverer of X-rays. (Strictly, it’s measured as “Roentgen absorbed dose” or rad, and the dose in humans is “Roentgen equivalent in man” or rem, but for our purposes it’s close enough to say 1 Roentgen = 1 rad, = 1 rem.) In the rest of the world, dose is measured in Sievert, with 100 Roentgen to 1 Sievert. A whole-body dose of 6 Sievert or 600 Roentgen is called the “LD 50/30 dose,” meaning that 50 percent of the people who get that dose will die within 30 days.

The highest dose rate — that is, the dose received in a period of time — that was observed around the Fukushima reactors was about 1015 microSeiverts per hour, but rapidly dropped to about 70 microSeiverts per hour. In other words, 0.001015 Sieverts per hour, or about 0.1 Roentgen per hour. The highest total body dose reported so far has been 106 milliSieverts, 0.106 Sieverts, or about 10 Roentgen.

What does this mean? Well, in the U.S., the average background radiation is around 7 milliSieverts (700 milli-Roentgen) a year; we here in Colorado nearly double that (more in some places, like Leadville) and some places have a background radiation of 50 times that or more.

So 1015 microSieverts is pretty significantly above normal background radiation, but that’s not the whole story either. By comparison, a CT scan exposes you to about 5 milliSieverts, 0.5 Roentgen; the total dose of the highest exposure reported has been about 20 CT scans. High altitude commercial flights have more radiation than normal background; 10 Roentgen is about twice what a intercontinental flight attendant gets in a year.

Effects of radiation

There’s no question that the effects of big doses of radiation are pretty awful; various systems break down, you can’t absorb food — in fact, vomiting and diarrhea are some of the first symptoms, along with hair loss — and eventually, your immune system fails and you die as a result of massive infections, or hemorrhaging, or dehydration. These effects are known as acute radiation syndrome, ARS.

Low levels of radiation are another thing. Obviously, we all are exposed to some radiation because of the normal background. The usual model, based on the people affected in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and later Chernobyl, is called a “linear dose response model,” and assumes that if a dose of 100 rem causes there to be 10 percent more deaths in a population, then a dose of 10 rem will mean 1 percent more, 1 rem about 1/10th of one percent more, and so on.

This is a conservative model, but it has a problem — it predicts that places with high background radiation, like Colorado, will have higher cancer rates than places with low background radiation.

What really happens is exactly the opposite — we in Colorado have a lower cancer rate than people at sea level.

Why this would happen is currently unknown, and in any case the rates of cancer are small enough it’s hard to be sure how much of it is due to normal radiation exposure anyway, but there’s certainly some reason to think that the linear dose-response model is too conservative, that some amount of radiation has no particular harmful effect.

What happens, though, is that the model affects how we think about radiation. Very small amounts of radiation are detectable — it’s literally “shining a light” at us, begging to be detected. Following the linear dose response model, there are assumed to be health effects of very small radiation exposures, and that means the regulations require even very very small releases to be reported.

Unfortunately, they tend to be reported as “a very small release of RADIATION.”

Another Chernobyl?

Still, what some people are saying is this is “another Chernobyl.” So let’s talk about Chernobyl for a minute. The accident at Chernobyl was the biggest reactor accident that’s well-known, although probably not the worst reactor accident of any kind. In the Chernobyl accident, a reactor of a radically different design, with a containment building but no containment vessel, overheated and exploded; most sources say the graphite that made up the bulk of the reactor core caught fire, although some sources say the graphite didn’t actually catch fire, combust, it just was very hot. According to the UN report, about 50 people died as a result of the accident, some of them dying from acute radiation syndrome. The highest exposure reported was about 16 Gray — which is another damn unit. There are more physicists than there are things to measure, I guess they have to pack them in somehow. But a Gray is a Sievert, approximately.

That 16 Gray dose is about 1600 Roentgen, 1600-1700 rem, or nearly three times the “lethal” dose. That’s 160 times as great as the worst dose reported from Fukushima.

What’s more, the Chernobyl fire distributed large amounts of radioactive material around — including about 10 tons of the actual reactor core. Unlike the Fukushima reactors, Chernobyl had no containment vessel, so once it was burning it was open to the outside, and diffused easily through the atmosphere, eventually spreading across much of northern Europe and a good bit of western Asia.

At the time of the accident, there were many terrifying predictions of the long-term health effects of the radiation.

The UN investigated these effects, and reported on them, in 2005, 2008, and 2011. The report concludes that there may be as many as 4000 additional deaths total that can be attributed to the effects of Chernobyl, but that’s among all the deaths in one of the most densely populated parts of the world. In other words, the linear dose-response model predicts that perhaps one person in a million might die somewhat earlier than they would have otherwise. Statistically. But we can never know if the prediction is correct.

In fact, the 2005 report says that a much, much bigger effect on public health comes from the rumors and uncertainty:

Alongside radiation-induced deaths and diseases, the report labels the mental health impact of Chernobyl as “the largest public health problem created by the accident” and partially attributes this damaging psychological impact to a lack of accurate information. These problems manifest as negative self-assessments of health, belief in a shortened life expectancy, lack of initiative, and dependency on assistance from the state.

The fatalistic feeling of being doomed leads to passivity, as well as other more significant mental health issues; this is entirely due to poor information and uninformed alarmism.

“Experts” in the media

Now, let’s look at some of the media reports.

One of the first ones I saw (pointed out to me by my PJ colleague Richard Pollock) was this story in Channel News Asia:

Several experts, in a conference call with reporters, also predicted that regardless of the outcome at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant crisis, the accident will seriously damage the nuclear power renaissance.

And who are these experts?

“The situation has become desperate enough that they apparently don’t have the capability to deliver fresh water or plain water to cool the reactor and stabilize it, and now, in an act of desperation, are having to resort to diverting and using sea water,” said Robert Alvarez, who works on nuclear disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Hmm. Robert Alvarez. At the Institute for Policy Studies. Which, according to its web site:

IPS became involved in environmental issues through the anti-nuclear movement, a natural extension of its long history of work on the “national security state.” In 1979, IPS Fellow Saul Landau won an Emmy for his documentary “Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang,” which tells the story of the cover-up by the U.S. nuclear program and of the hazards of radiation to American citizens. In 1985, Fellow William Arkin published Nuclear Battlefields: Global Links in the Arms Race, which helped galvanize anti-nuclear activism through its revelations of the impact of nuclear infrastructure on communities across America.

Anti-nuclear movement? Next?

“It is considered to be extremely unlikely but the station blackout has been one of the great concerns for decades,” said Ken Bergeron, a physicist who has worked on nuclear reactor accident simulation.

Kenneth Bergeron, author of Tritium on Ice: The Dangerous New Alliance of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power.

I wonder, who else was on this call?

“Joseph Cirincione, the head of the Ploughshares Fund.” This would be the same Ploughshares Fund that:

… supports a global network of experts and advocates who are now poised to realize the vision of a nuclear weapon-free world. We leverage the impact of those funds with our own advocacy, with our ability to raise the profile and visibility of key issues, and by convening and engaging with organizations and leaders in the field.

“Paul Gunter is [sic] the U.S. organization Beyond Nuclear,” which:

… aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear.

Gunter also, according to

… is a co-founder of the Clamshell Alliance. A resident of Warner, New Hampshire, he has been arrested at Seabrook for nonviolent civil disobedience on several occasions.

I begin to see a pattern. Google those several names; you’ll find that over and over again, these same four names are being quoted as “nuclear power experts.” All of them closely associated with anti-nuclear organizations.

I wonder if they might have an agenda?

What to make of all this

No one can tell you that there will absolutely not be a catastrophic failure — really catastrophic, like Chernobyl or worse — at one or more of the Fukushima reactors. At the absolutely worst case, some combination of accidents and failures could break through all three major containments and release a large amount of radiation through the “China Syndrome” or something like it.

It’s very likely that there has been at least a partial meltdown in one or more of the reactors — but “meltdown” doesn’t mean “catastrophic release.” The reactor would not just have to melt down, but also penetrate both the still containment vessel and the concrete outer layer, and both were designed explicitly to keep that from happening.

What we can say is that it’s not very likely to be a catastrophic accident, and gets less likely with every minute. The Japanese are cooling the reactors down, and adding boron, which “poisons” the nuclear reaction by absorbing neutrons, the “sparks” that make the reaction go.

The amount of radiation that has been released is, so far, actually very minor. Instead of being “another Chernobyl,” which the IAEA put at INES level 7, this is INES level 4 — and Three Mile Island was level 5. So far, Fukushima is not just not another Chernobyl, it’s not even another Three Mile Island.

And finally, when you hear someone in the media giving one of these catastrophic predictions, check who it is. So far, the catastrophic predictions are consistently coming from people who have been professionally and personally committed to shutting down nuclear weapons and nuclear power for decades.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Local Censorship and No 'Whine' Before Its Time!

The silence is deafening not only from from the sanctimonious Left but also silence from the local editor of the Editorial Page who seems to believe in censorship.

Sent him an e mail four days ago and have not received a response and doubt I will. (See 1 and 1a below.)
Rich Lowry writes about our president - no 'whine' before its time! (See 2 below.)

1) Moment of truth for leftists

Israel is your Country too

Op-ed: Following attack, leftists must decide whether they're 'useful idiots' or anti-Semites
By Assaf Wohl

Hello there, global leftist:

Almost every day, Israel's citizens are told of more displays of hostility by you against us. Often we are informed of various boycotts imposed on Israeli goods, the cancellation of cultural events in Israel, and even attempts to boycott Israeli academia.

This past week I watched Pink Floyd's Roger Waters urging a boycott on Israel. His arguments included an embarrassing combination of charges, including the finest lies taken from al-Jazeera's propaganda. The most prominent argument was Israel's portrayal as a racist "apartheid state" that sets up a wall separating Arabs and Jews.

Now, listen to what happened Saturday. One or more terrorists infiltrated the community of Itamar, which is located beyond the protective fence.

Gaza residents celebrated the massacre, so this is not a case of individual madness. These are the same Palestinians who celebrated the death of thousands at the Twin Towers. These are the same people who are standing at the squares of Tehran, Damascus, Beirut and even Istanbul, screaming "Death to Israel." As it turns out, "Israel" can also be a baby.

Let's put ideology aside for a moment and only talk numbers. Before the fence was built, premeditated acts of horror were perpetrated within Israel regularly. In 2002 alone, some 189 Israelis were massacred in 53 terror attacks. As the fence kept expanding, hostilities declined, until in 2009 they stood at zero. So these are the numbers.

My conclusions, which are only premised on the data presented above, are simple: With a fence in place, there are no massacres. Without a fence, hundreds of civilians are massacred. Hence, those interested in removing the fence support the slaughter of Israelis. So why do you, dear leftist, endorse massacres in practice?

Useful idiots
Ask yourself the following question: Why do you compare the premeditated slaughter of civilians to unintentional harm to civilians who serve as a human shield for rocket launchers and suicide bombers? There are two possible answers here.

The first answer, my leftist comrade, is that you're simply an idiot. Don't be insulted, my friend, you're not "just an idiot." You are an idiot of the type Lenin referred to as "useful idiot." What does that mean? You're simply being exploited.

You are being exploited by global Islam in a bid to eliminate a democratic state. After all, you would not be able to survive even five minutes in the alternative they prepare for you. If you want, you can look into the state of freedom of expression, prosecution of Christians, stoning of women and hanging of homosexuals in the Muslim world.

You likely believe that you are legitimately criticizing the State of Israel. Yet here you're lying to yourself a little. There is no state like Israel, surrounded by an ocean of billions of people calling for its extermination. Its neighbors, who realized they cannot defeat it on the battlefield, are simply exploiting you: They fire rockets at our kindergartens from the safety behind your back – yes, you, the one calling for boycotts and screaming "apartheid."

The second and less flattering possibility is that you're not a "useful idiot," but rather, a mere anti-Semite. Is there another way for you to explain your obsession with Israel? Do you show the same determined disapproval towards China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela or North Korea?

The campaign against the Jewish state is disproportional in a way that cannot be explained away. I too admit that the Jews are an especially annoying people. Yet we do not tend to explode on buses as a form of revenge; not even in Germany. At most we'll argue with you until you die of boredom.

Perhaps you believe that you'd be able to clear you conscience of the persecution of Jews and the Holocaust if only you prove that we're worse than you. Perhaps the fact that the annoying Jews, according to the Bible at least, introduced to the world the morality which Islam and Christianity are premised on drives you nuts. Maybe you are interested in highlighting our injustices because someone branded us as the "Chosen People." One way or another, I have no intention to again march into the gas chambers because of a 3,000-year-old story.

By the way, guess what the next target for extermination is? You really don't know? Go ahead and look in the mirror. In Brussels, Paris, London and Malmo you shall soon be an extinct species fighting for its survival under Islamic laws. And while you're at it at the mirror, look at yourself and say the following: "Now, after I read this, I am no longer a useful idiot. Rather, I am an anti-Semite who is assisting the murder of Jews, in practice."

Does it seem exaggerated to you? Maybe so. But in the bottom line, as far as the outcome is concerned, this is precisely what you're doing.

2)Waiting For Godot:

Tom: I discussed with you the evening of Kim's address (February 21st) that people of late have approached me and said they no longer see my LTE's in your paper. I responded I still write and send them and always copy the Editorial Board Editor (you.)

You responded you would check but I have not heard from you and I subsequently sent about 6 more letters, always copying you , but none have been published.

I believe in free speech and finally, I believe the 'fourth estate', as it were, is there to protect free speech, to reveal corruption and be a positive community voice as you did yourself recently vis a vis the matter of the way the appointment of a city manager was conducted. I also wrote a letter expressing my own thoughts about that and it too was not published.

So, if the local paper, the editorial staff and /or the editor (you) of the editorial page are engaged in censorship that would be a sad state of affairs but until I receive an explanation I have no recourse but to paraphrase Shakespeare: "...something might be rotten in Savannah "

It is my understanding you are in charge of the editorial page and LTE's so per our conversation I continue to await a response.



Another LTE he refused to publish:

Last week "moderate Fatah Palestinians" slaughtered five members of the Folger family with knives, including an 11-year-old child, a four-year-old boy, and a three-months-old baby girl.

To make sure they were dead they slit their throats. Subsequently Palestinians gave out candy and cheered.

Neither a peep from our 'Bully Pulpit 'president who has decried bullying nor peaceniks who, at the drop of a hat, rush to criticize and/or blame Israel for any and everything.

We truly live in a sick world where morality is held hostage to political and commercial interests and Arab hatred.

Settlements versus assassinations - quite a stark contrast and silence from the world at large suggests they condone the latter over the former.

2)The Whiniest President Ever
Obama laments how influential he is.
By Rich Lowry

It was fashionable at the end of the 1970s, after a dreary parade of
presidential failures punctuated by Jimmy Carter, to say the presidency
had grown too unwieldy. The historian Barbara Tuchman spoke for all the
academic and journalistic believers in the theory of the impossible
presidency when she mused, “Maybe some form of plural executive is
needed, such as they have in Switzerland.”

Ah, yes, the wonders of the plural executive. Why didn’t that occur to
James Madison?

Pres. Barack Obama has belatedly joined the ranks of presidential
fatalists. The job isn’t too complex necessarily; it’s too damn
influential. According to the New York Times, Obama has been telling
aides that it’d be easier to be president of China. No one hangs on Hu
Jintao’s every word, or expects global leadership from a grasping,
one-party state that has never been a beacon to the world.

In the history of presidential lamentations, this has to rank among the
most pathetic. It brings to mind the affecting scene from The King’s
Speech when Colin Firth, playing the stammering monarch-to-be, breaks
down and weeps at the prospect of the crown being thrust upon him: “I’m
not a king.” Except Barack Obama campaigned for two years straight to be
president of the United States — and doesn’t stutter.

The proximate cause of Obama’s angst is the crisis in Libya. Obama
announced that Moammar Qaddafi must go, and proceeded to do nothing that
might give his words any bite. The administration is still agonizing
over the no-fly zone, even as Qaddafi routs the rebels. The no-fly zone
isn’t a panacea — realistically, it’d only be a way station to more
robust military action. Perhaps the administration wants to rule it out.
Fine. But decide already. If Obama wasn’t going to aid the rebels in any
way — not even recognize their provisional government, not even arm them
— he should have modulated his words accordingly.

Obama lacks executive flair. Talk to New Jersey governor Chris Christie
and he will tell you at length how much he loves making decisions. It’s
hard to imagine a Chris Christie enjoying life as a legislator. Obama
came to the presidency after a political career spent marinating in
senates, first in Illinois, then in Washington.

Osama bin Laden famously talked of the weak horse and the strong horse.
Obama is the show horse. As a U.S. senator, he distinguished himself
more by saying things than by passing legislation. In the White House,
he has replicated his role as the non-legislating legislator on a grand
scale. His successes have been as the leader of the Democrats in
Congress, although even here, the word “leader” applies only loosely. He
set the broad goals and gave the speeches; otherwise, he let Nancy
Pelosi and Harry Reid run riot.

The stakes of Obama’s self-imposed passivity aren’t as dire as those of
Pres. James Buchanan, who pleaded powerlessness as the country fell
apart around him on the cusp of the Civil War. William Seward commented
acerbically: “[He] shows conclusively that it is the duty of the
president to execute the laws — unless somebody opposes him; and that no
state has a right to go out of the Union — unless it wants to.” Nor has
President Obama reached the depths of a Jimmy Carter, who literally
disappeared in the run-up to his infamous 1979 “malaise” speech.

At the dawn of America’s global power, a bumptious Theodore Roosevelt
raced to make America’s influence felt around the world — and earned a
Nobel Peace Prize as a result. President Obama gives off a sense of
world-weariness and exhaustion with America’s leadership — and has
earned a Nobel Peace Prize as a result. He reflects the deep vein of
declinism running through the country’s elite, the same class of people
who pronounced the presidency uninhabitable just as Ronald Reagan
arrived to prove them wrong.

Today, as in the late 1970s, the job isn’t too big, nor is the country
too powerful: The man is too small.

Rich Lowry is editor of National Review.