Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You Might Be A Liberal If! Can't Wait For The Coming Shoot-Out!

It's a gasser!

Another day, another dollar and another crony impropriety. (See 1 below.)
A piece of Israel or peace with Israel? You decide (See 2 below.)
Let 'em eat cake!  Pledging humanitarian aid allows Obama to duck an effective response and he can do what he is good at -  bowing - this time  to Russia. (See 3 below.)

Stratfor's Friedman. (See 3a below.)
I have yet to hear anyone suggest the closeness of Romney's win in Michigan could possibly be because a lot of Democrats voted for Santorum knowing him to be the weaker candidate. (See 4 below.)
Nothing crooked about Clive Crook's thinking. (See 5 below.)

In time, Republican guns will be pointed at Obama, his failures, his broken commitments, his feckless stances in the face of human tragedies and his vapid speeches. I maintain he will be beat with his own words. Let the good times roll. (See 5a and 5b below.)
You might be a liberal if. (See 6 below.)
This from a very dear friend, fellow memo reader and former IDF officer in response to previous article regarding Barak: "Between the years of 1967 and 1970 I served in this very same unit, “Sayeret Matkal” (along with Netanyahu), under Ehud Barak, and I agree with David Horovitz.
Barak is a poor politician but a very smart, calculated, careful, thriving for perfection and “thinking outside the box” type of a military commander and a head of the IDF.
No wonder Netanyahu wants him by his side, even though his political ideology is totally opposite."
1)LightSquared CEO resigns amid revelations of company’s proximity to Obama White House
By Matthew Boyle

LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday amid revelations of his company’s political proximity — and his own closeness — to the White House and Obama administration officials.

The Daily Caller first reported one week ago on emails and documents that indicate political ties and numerous meetings between LightSquared and Obama administration officials as the company was undergoing regulatory review.

Ahuja’s resignation comes after Obama’s FCC suspended conditional approval of a waiver LightSquared needed to complete its high-speed broadband network. Until two weeks ago, the company’s final approval appeared imminent.

Ahuja, who had never donated to Democrats before and has not since, gave the maximum allowable $30,400 contribution to the Democratic National Committee on the same day his lawyers were trying to arrange a meeting for him at the White House with top Obama technology adviser Aneesh Chopra and other officials.

In emails between Ahuja’s lawyers and White House officials Ahuja wanted to meet with, his lawyers pointed out that he would attend an Obama fundraiser on or about the same day he wanted the meeting.

In a statement accompanying the company’s announcement of Ahuja’s resignation, he made no mention of those revelations.

“During my tenure at LightSquared, we all worked tirelessly to create the nation’s first open wireless broadband network and provide consumers with a new wireless broadband experience,” Ahuja said. “That work continues and I wish the company and its fine management team well as they work to achieve this important goal.”

LightSquared spokesman Terry Neal did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment on the possible connections between Ahuja’s resignation and revelations published exclusively by TheDC.

According to the release, Ahuja will remain LightSquared’s chairman.
Philip Falcone, the CEO of Harbinger Capital Partners — which created LightSquared from its predecessor, SkyTerra — was appointed to the LightSquared board on Tuesday as well. The Obama administration FCC approved Harbinger’s purchase of SkyTerra after what appeared to be a series of favorable regulatory decisions amid White House visits.

In the press release, Falcone said he remains confident in LightSquared’s future despite these new revelations and the company’s reported challenges related to GPS interference issues.

“LightSquared’s objective, through its wholesale business model, is to provide increased competition and lower prices in the telecommunications industry, and to bring broadband cellular phone service to rural areas that currently don’t have such service and that has not and will not change,” Falcone said.

“We are, furthermore, committed to working with the appropriate entities to find a solution to the recent regulatory issues. We, of course, agree that it is critical to ensure that national security, aviation and the GPS communities are protected.”
2)Not a Parody: Peace Now Shocked to Discover Arabs Don't Want Peace
By Jonathan Tobin

What will it take to convince supporters of Peace Now the imperative of their organization's name depends on the Arabs rather than the Jews? After 18+ years of Arab terrorism and rejection of peace offers since the Oslo Accords, it's hard to say whether anything the Palestinians could do or say would cause them to rethink their myopic view of the world.

But give Americans for Peace Now's Lara Friedman a little credit. After schlepping to an Arab League conference on Jerusalem, she at least had the wit to notice that just about everybody else there was focused on delegitimizing Israel, denouncing its existence within any borders and denying thousands of years of Jewish history.

However, it's hard not to chuckle a little bit at the indignant tone affected by Friedman in her op-ed published in the Forward as she conveys her shock and dismay to discover the Arab world believes Jews have no rights in Jerusalem or any other part of Israel. She and her group had so convinced themselves all it will take to create peace "now" was for Israelis to support a two-state solution and negotiate, it appears they never took the time or effort to realize the other side has little interest in peace, now or at any other time. This gives her piece the tone of a parody worthy of The Onion even though it was written in deadly earnest.

Indeed, it must be considered in writing such an article she has demonstrated the utter cluelessness of her group better than anything the group's critics could have come up with.

What is so touching (as well as more than a bit comical) about Friedman's piece is that much of what she says in it is true. For example:

If President Abbas cannot acknowledge Jewish claims in Jerusalem, even as he asserts Palestinian claims (a problem Yasser Arafat suffered from), he should not be surprised if it is more difficult for Israelis and Jews, wherever they are, to believe that he can be trusted in a peace agreement that leaves Jerusalem sites precious to Jews under Palestinian control.

If representatives of the organization that sponsored the Arab Peace Initiative cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace. . . .

All throughout the day, it was unfortunately the same story. Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians.

Friedman is quite right about all of this. But does it really need to be pointed out that she needn't have traveled to Doha to figure this out? The Palestinians and their cheerleaders have been making this clear for decades. That is why Peace Now in Israel has been discredited by the events that have transpired since the Oslo Accords were signed, and their political supporters in the Knesset have been trounced in election after election.

The traditional left in Israel, at least as far as the Palestinian issue is concerned, is barely alive, though you wouldn't know it from the way many on the Jewish left in the United States talk. The conceit of groups like Americans for Peace Now and J Street — that Israel must be pressured to make peace by the United States for its own good — makes no sense once you realize the Jewish state has repeatedly tried and failed to trade land for peace and the Palestinians have little interest in a two-state solution no matter where Israel's borders would be drawn.

Friedman archly compares the Arab hate fest she is attending to Jewish conclaves where only pro-Israel speakers participate. This is a bit much as is her insinuation no one who cares for Israel's future can possibly oppose a partition of Jerusalem that would place Jewish holy places in the tender care of Abbas and his Hamas allies. As she has discovered to her consternation, Palestinians don't care about Jewish sensibilities, let alone Jewish rights.

Her failure to draw any rational conclusions from what she has heard in Doha tells us all we need to know about the irrelevance of Peace Now to any serious discussion about the future of the Middle East.
3)Obama rules out military intervention in Syria, weighs humanitarian corridors

Despite his strong words against Bashar Assad’s horrendous treatment of the opposition to his rule, US President Barack Obama Tuesday, Feb. 28, has vetoed plans submitted to him last week for Western-Arab military intervention to stop it, Washington sources report. He is weighing an alternative plan for setting up “humanitarian corridors” in the most embattled areas. That too would be contingent on Russian endorsement, because Obama believes Moscow holds the key to Assad’s consent - or at least abstention from sending his army to attack the aid routes.

The Russians have not so far responded to feelers on this from Washington. Neither have they rescinded their threat to block any such plan if tabled at the Security Council.

Ankara provided the clincher for the US president’s decision against military intervention in Syria by its evasiveness over participation in the operation. The plan has nowhere to go without Turkey’s cooperation and the use of its bases from which Western and Arab forces would mount the operation.

Turkish leaders are vocal about the pressing need to save the Syrian people, but when it comes to the brass tacks of operational planning, they develop cold feet.

Rerunning the eight-point military plan rejected by Obama.

1. A group of nations led by the United States will reserve a quarter of Syrian territory (185,180 sq. km) as a safe haven for protecting more than a quarter of the nation’s population (5.5 million people) a under a collective air shield.

2. The operation will be exclusively airborne. No foreign boots will touch the ground in Syria. American, Turkish, French, Italian and British Air Force planes will fly out from three Middle East air bases – Incirlik and Diyarbakir in Turkey, where the US maintains substantial air force strength, and the British facility in Akrotiri, Cyprus.

3. France has offered to make its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle available but accepts that without US air power, spy satellites and operational and logistical resources, the operation will not be feasible.

4. The safe haven will range from Tarkush on Syria’s northern border with Turkey and include the besieged towns of Jabal Al Zaweya, Idlib, Hama, Homs and their outlying villages.

5. The safe haven will be placed off limits to Syrian military and security personnel and its air space declared a no fly zone. Syrian intruders will be challenged by the Western fighter-bombers shielding the protected area.

6. The makeup of the coalition force for saving Syria is still a work in progress. Sarkozy has obtained the consent of Britain, Italy, Turkey and Qatar and is in discussion with Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Participation of the last two would make it possible to expand the safe haven to southern and eastern Syria, to include the restive towns of Daraa, Deir a-Zour and Abu Kemal.

7. A regional Syrian administration assisted by Western liaison officers would run the safe haven’s day-to-day affairs. The coalition would take care of the population’s food, medicines and medical care needs.

8. The Western-Arab expedition would not seek Bashar Assad’s ouster as a mission goal or engage in combat with Syrian forces outside the safe haven.

3a)The State of the World: Explaining U.S. Strategy
By George Friedman of Stratfor

The fall of the Soviet Union ended the European epoch, the period in which European power dominated the world. It left the United States as the only global power, something for which it was culturally and institutionally unprepared. Since the end of World War II, the United States had defined its foreign policy in terms of its confrontation with the Soviet Union.

Virtually everything it did around the world in some fashion related to this confrontation. The fall of the Soviet Union simultaneously freed the United States from a dangerous confrontation and eliminated the focus of its foreign policy.

In the course of a century, the United States had gone from marginal to world power. It had waged war or Cold War from 1917 until 1991, with roughly 20 years of peace between the two wars dominated by the Great Depression and numerous interventions in Latin America. Accordingly, the 20th century was a time of conflict and crisis for the United States. It entered the century without well-developed governmental institutions for managing its foreign policy. It built its foreign policy apparatus to deal with war and the threat of war; the sudden absence of an adversary inevitably left the United States off balance.


The post-Cold War period can be divided into three parts. A simultaneous optimism and uncertainty marked the first, which lasted from 1992 until 2001. On one hand, the fall of the Soviet Union promised a period in which economic development supplanted war. On the other, American institutions were born in battle, so to speak, so transforming them for a time of apparently extended peace was not easy. Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton both pursued a policy built around economic growth, with periodic and not fully predictable military interventions in places such as Panama, Somalia, Haiti and Kosovo.

These interventions were not seen as critical to U.S. national security. In some cases, they were seen as solving a marginal problem, such as Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega's drug trafficking. Alternatively, they were explained as primarily humanitarian missions. Some have sought a pattern or logic to these varied interventions; in fact, they were as random as they appeared, driven more by domestic politics and alliance pressures than any clear national purpose. U.S. power was so overwhelming that these interventions cost relatively little and risked even less.

The period where indulgences could be tolerated ended on Sept. 11, 2001. At that point, the United States faced a situation congruent with its strategic culture. It had a real, if unconventional, enemy that posed a genuine threat to the homeland. The institutions built up during and after World War II could function again effectively. In an odd and tragic way, the United States was back in its comfort zone, fighting a war it saw as imposed on it.

The period from 2001 until about 2007 consisted of a series of wars in the Islamic world. Like all wars, they involved brilliant successes and abject failures. They can be judged one of two ways. First, if the wars were intended to prevent al Qaeda from ever attacking the United States again in the fashion of 9/11, they succeeded. Even if it is difficult to see how the war in Iraq meshes with this goal, all wars involve dubious operations; the measure of war is success. If, however, the purpose of these wars was to create a sphere of pro-U.S. regimes, stable and emulating American values, they clearly failed.

By 2007 and the surge in Iraq, U.S. foreign policy moved into its present phase. No longer was the primary goal to dominate the region. Rather, it was to withdraw from the region while attempting to sustain regimes able to defend themselves and not hostile to the United States. The withdrawal from Iraq did not achieve this goal; the withdrawal from Afghanistan probably will not either. Having withdrawn from Iraq, the United States will withdraw from Afghanistan regardless of the aftermath. The United States will not end its involvement in the region, and the primary goal of defeating al Qaeda will no longer be the centerpiece.

President Barack Obama continued the strategy his predecessor, George W. Bush, set in Iraq after 2007. While Obama increased forces beyond what Bush did in Afghanistan, he nevertheless accepted the concept of a surge -- the increase of forces designed to facilitate withdrawal. For Obama, the core strategic problem was not the wars but rather the problem of the 1990s -- namely, how to accommodate the United States and its institutions to a world without major enemies.


The reset button Hillary Clinton gave to the Russians symbolized Obama's strategy. Obama wanted to reset U.S. foreign policy to the period before 9/11, a period when U.S. interventions, although frequent, were minor and could be justified as humanitarian. Economic issues dominated the period, and the primary issue was managing prosperity. It also was a period in which U.S.-European and U.S.-Chinese relations fell into alignment, and when U.S.-Russian relations were stable. Obama thus sought a return to a period when the international system was stable, pro-American and prosperous. While understandable from an American point of view, Russia, for example, considers the 1990s an unmitigated disaster to which it must never return.

The problem in this strategy was that it was impossible to reset the international system. The prosperity of the 1990s had turned into the difficulties of the post-2008 financial crisis. This obviously created preoccupations with managing the domestic economy, but as we saw in our first installment, the financial crisis redefined the way the rest of the world operated. The Europe, China and Russia of the 1990s no longer existed, and the Middle East had been transformed as well.

During the 1990s, it was possible to speak of Europe as a single entity with the expectation that European unity would intensify. That was no longer the case by 2010. The European financial crisis had torn apart the unity that had existed in the 1990s, putting European institutions under intense pressure along with trans-Atlantic institutions such as NATO. In many ways, the United States was irrelevant to the issues the European Union faced. The Europeans might have wanted money from the Americans, but they did not want 1990s-style leadership.

China had also changed. Unease about the state of its economy had replaced the self-confidence of the elite that had dominated during the 1990s in China. Its exports were under heavy pressure, and concerns about social stability had increased. China also had become increasingly repressive and hostile, at least rhetorically, in its foreign policy.

In the Middle East, there was little receptivity to Obama's public diplomacy. In practical terms, the expansion of Iranian power was substantial. Given Israeli fears over Iranian nuclear weapons, Obama found himself walking a fine line between possible conflict with Iran and allowing events to take their own course.


This emerged as the foundation of U.S. foreign policy. Where previously the United States saw itself as having an imperative to try to manage events, Obama clearly saw that as a problem. As seen in this strategy, the United States has limited resources that have been overly strained during the wars. Rather than attempting to manage foreign events, Obama is shifting U.S. strategy toward limiting intervention and allowing events to proceed on their own.

Strategy in Europe clearly reflects this. Washington has avoided any attempt to lead the Europeans to a solution even though the United States has provided massive assistance via the Federal Reserve. This strategy is designed to stabilize rather than to manage. With the Russians, who clearly have reached a point of self-confidence, the failure of an attempt to reset relations resulted in a withdrawal of U.S. focus and attention in the Russian periphery and a willingness by Washington to stand by and allow the Russians to evolve as they will. Similarly, whatever the rhetoric of China and U.S. discussions of redeployment to deal with the Chinese threat, U.S. policy remains passive and accepting.

It is in Iran that we see this most clearly. Apart from nuclear weapons, Iran is becoming a major regional power with a substantial sphere of influence. Rather than attempt to block the Iranians directly, the United States has chosen to stand by and allow the game to play out, making it clear to the Israelis that it prefers diplomacy over military action, which in practical terms means allowing events to take their own course.

This is not necessarily a foolish policy. The entire notion of the balance of power is built on the assumption that regional challengers confront regional opponents who will counterbalance them. Balance-of-power theory assumes the leading power intervenes only when an imbalance occurs. Since no intervention is practical in China, Europe or Russia, a degree of passivity makes sense. In the case of Iran, where military action against its conventional forces is difficult and against its nuclear facilities risky, the same logic applies.

In this strategy, Obama has not returned to the 1990s. Rather, he is attempting to stake out new ground. It is not isolationism in its classic sense, as the United States is now the only global power. He appears to be engineering a new strategy, acknowledging that many outcomes in most of the world are acceptable to the United States and that no one outcome is inherently superior or possible to achieve. The U.S. interest lies in resuming its own prosperity; the arrangements the rest of the world makes are, within very broad limits, acceptable.

Put differently, unable to return U.S. foreign policy to the 1990s and unwilling and unable to continue the post-9/11 strategy, Obama is pursuing a policy of acquiescence. He is decreasing the use of military force and, having limited economic leverage, allowing the system to evolve on its own.

Implicit in this strategy is the existence of overwhelming military force, particularly naval power.

Europe is not manageable through military force, and it poses the most serious long-term threat. As Europe frays, Germany's interests may be better served in a relationship with Russia. Germany needs Russian energy, and Russia needs German technology. Neither is happy with American power, and together they may limit it. Indeed, an entente between Germany and Russia was a founding fear of U.S. foreign policy from World War I until the Cold War. This is the only combination that could conceivably threaten the United States. The American counter here is to support Poland, which physically divides the two, along with other key allies in Europe, and the United States is doing this with a high degree of caution.

China is highly vulnerable to naval force because of the configuration of its coastal waters, which provides choke points for access to its shores. The ultimate Chinese fear is an American blockade, which the weak Chinese navy would be unable to counter, but this is a distant fear. Still, it is the ultimate American advantage.

Russia's vulnerability lies in the ability of its former fellow members of the Soviet Union, which it is trying to organize into a Eurasian Union, to undermine its post-Soviet agenda. The United States has not interfered in this process significantly, but it has economic incentives and covert influence it could use to undermine or at least challenge Russia. Russia is aware of these capabilities and that the United States has not yet used them.

The same strategy is in place with Iran. Sanctions on Iran are unlikely to work because they are too porous and China and Russia will not honor them. Still, the United States pursues them not for what they will achieve but for what they will avoid -- namely, direct action. Rhetoric aside, the assumption underlying U.S. quiescence is that regional forces, the Turks in particular, will be forced to deal with the Iranians themselves, and that patience will allow a balance of power to emerge.


U.S. strategy under Obama is classic in the sense that it allows the system to evolve as it will, thereby allowing the United States to reduce its efforts. On the other hand, U.S. military power is sufficient that should the situation evolve unsatisfactorily, intervention and reversal is still possible. Obama has to fight the foreign policy establishment, particularly the U.S. Defense Department and intelligence community, to resist older temptations. He is trying to rebuild the foreign policy architecture away from the World War II-Cold War model, and that takes time.

The weakness in Obama's strategy is that the situation in many regions could suddenly and unexpectedly move in undesirable directions. Unlike the Cold War system, which tended to react too soon to problems, it is not clear that the current system won't take too long to react. Strategies create psychological frameworks that in turn shape decisions, and Obama has created a situation wherein the United States may not react quickly enough if the passive approach were to collapse suddenly.

It is difficult to see the current strategy as a permanent model. Before balances of power are created, great powers must ensure that a balance is possible. In Europe, within China, against Russia and in the Persian Gulf, it is not clear what the balance consists of. It is not obvious that the regional balance will contain emerging powers. Therefore, this is not a classic balance-of-power strategy. Rather it is an ad hoc strategy imposed by the financial crisis and its impact on psychology and by war-weariness. These issues cannot be ignored, but they do not provide a stable foundation for a long-term policy, which will likely replace the one Obama is pursuing now.
4)Survival of the Mittest
By Jonathan Cohn

JACKSON, Michigan – Did Mitt Romney win the Michigan primary? Or did he merely survive it? That really depends on your perspective.

As recently as a few days ago, Romney was trailing in the polls. And as recently as Tuesday afternoon, Romney staffers were talking down expectations. But Romney won a clean victory on Tuesday night. He won handily in the Detroit metro area, his home turf, but he also ran strong in more contested counties, like Livingston and Jackson, to the west.

But why was it ever this close? Romney had superior money, organization, and, for a long time, name recognition. This state ought to be friendly to him – not because of his family ties, which were never as important as pundits assumed, but because the economy is the biggest issue in Michigan and Romney bills himself as the candidate best positioned to deal with it. Instead, Romney had to fight off an insurgency from Rick Santorum, who appealed to economically strapped voters by appealing to their cultural values.

Romney succeeded, but the exit polls suggested a familiar class divide. Romney won among voters who attended at least some college and those making more than $100,000 a year. But he lost among voters who attended no college and among those making less than $100,000 a year.

As New York Times economics guru and Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt tweeted, if you genetically engineered the typical Romney voter, it was a single Catholic woman who was older than 65 and with a household income of more than $100,000.

I think I met that woman, or at least some real-life versions of her, over the course of my interviews this past week. At campaign events and then on Tuesday, outside a polling place in Jackson, I met plenty of Romney supporters. And most of them made cogent arguments for why they liked him: He understood business, could turnaround the economy, and seemed more likely to win over moderate voters in the campaign to oust President Obama.

But, as best as I can recall, every single one of them – and I mean every single one – was either a small business owner, a professional, or a reasonably affluent retiree. The closest I came to a working-class or poor Romney supporter was a man in work boots and a denim jacket that I spotted at rally in Albion Monday. But it turned out he, too, owned a small business selling farm equipment. I had assumed my reporting sample was just unscientific. The exit polls suggest it wasn't so unrepresentative after all.

In a Republican primary, or at least this Republican primary, you can prevail by losing among all voters making less than $100,000. But it’s tougher in the general election. Romney and his advisors can take comfort in the fact that the downscale conservatives who voted for Santorum will generally support the Republican nominee, whoever it is. They may not love Romney, but they hate Obama, and that will be enough to get them to the polls. Still, Romney has to win over at least some middle class votes to win in November. And he’s shown very little ability to do that.

Which brings us to the other guy who was making a play for Michigan votes this week – although he was doing it from Washington. I’m talking about Obama, who gave a fiery speech to a meeting of the United Auto Workers on Tuesday.

By now, if you read this space, you know all about the auto bailout – and why it’s likely to help Obama’s reelection campaign, in Michigan and more contested rust belt states like Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. But, as Greg Sargent observed, "Obama used the auto-bailout argument as a jumping off point for his larger case." It wasn’t just about saving the automakers or even the Midwest. It was about taking action to fix the economy – and about taking the side of working Americans.

The speech included a direct shot at Santorum, who talks about working class values. But mostly it was a shot at Romney, on biography and on policy. As Steve Benen put it,

The surface-level trouble facing Romney is that he comes across as an out-of-touch, plutocratic elitist. The just-below-the-surface trouble is that Romney, if elected, intends to help other out-of-touch, plutocratic elitist, while making life significantly tougher on those working families who are already suffering.
A recent poll from Democracy Corps warned Democrats not to be overconfident – and, my goodness, they shouldn't be. The economy is stronger but not strong. Obama's poll numbers are higher but not high. But the same poll suggested that Obama’s message on the middle class was working, while other surveys have shown, clearly, average voters are unlikely to think Romney is on their side. And, as my colleague Alec MacGillis notes, Romney did almost everything he could in the last week to reinforce that perception.

If Romney becomes the nominee, as seems likely, he could certainly win in November. But he won't have an easy time of it. That's the message Michigan sent on Tuesday.)
5)Empty Politics Pose Biggest Threat to U.S. Power: Clive Crook
By Clive Crook

Theorists of American decline are preoccupied with the surging growth of emerging rivals, especially China. That’s an important issue, I don’t doubt. But there’s a much bigger threat to U.S. power: the increasingly abject failure of the country’s own political class.

Washington sees it as obvious and unremarkable that public policy has been in hibernation for the past few months and isn’t expected to wake up until January 2013. Of course the country needs tax reform. Yes, a budget would be good, maybe some longer-term spending plans that anybody could take seriously, too. But this is an election year. What do you expect? How long have you lived in the U.S., anyway?

One thing a foreigner like myself might naively expect is serious discussion of relevant policy options. That isn’t happening either. The contest for the Republican presidential nomination, which has the U.S. political class transfixed, is barely even pretending to be serious. In this election, the country has to make a “foundational” choice, says Rick Santorum. Does the U.S. want to follow the European welfare- state model, asks Mitt Romney, or stay true to its principles?
Gosh, so much is at stake.

Fundamentalist Fantasies

This bogus fundamentalism is an excuse to avoid discussing real decisions that will have to be made. The economic plans of the main Republican rivals are entirely unserious -- too vague to appraise and impossible to implement if they meant what their proponents claim them to mean. Public borrowing is out of control, say the Republicans. Therefore, slash taxes, maintain middle-class entitlements and invest more in national security. You can call that a foundational fiscal choice or a self- indulgent fantasy. It comes to much the same thing.

At the moment, the Democrats are letting their Republican rivals tear themselves apart. From the liberal point of view, what could be better? The best Republican candidates have taken themselves out of the running. The party has fielded a roster of second-rate candidates (I’m trying to be generous) and in a frenzy of mutually assured destruction is thinning this list down to the one it dislikes least. Thus, a country limping away from a shattering recession is treated to debates about the ethics of contraception -- contraception, if you can believe that -- and a competition to see which candidate is the most “severely conservative.”

The Democrats’ recovery in the polls is therefore, to my mind, quite a mystery. Why has it been so modest? The Republicans are following a script that no Democratic strategist covertly inserted into the Republicans’ campaigns could improve on, and President Barack Obama’s support is still only around 50 percent. Still, the Democrats are gaining ground, and an election that Republicans should have expected to win is sliding away from them. So far Democrats have had the sense to see that this will do just fine for now.

It tells you something, though, that the smart strategy is to remain silent while your political rivals self-destruct --not, I would submit, the sign of a healthy polity. When Democrats do get around to debating the anointed Republican loser, I dare say they will be unable to resist talking about foundational choices, too. Remember the party’s delight when Obama gave his speech last year in Kansas -- an address that reminded the country what the Democrats really stand for, how much this coming election really matters and what a pivotal decision the electorate is about to make.
Checks and Balances

What I want to know is how long the people who believe that have lived in the U.S. How often does an American election settle anything?

The Constitution’s checks and balances are expressly designed to prevent foundational lurches -- and its record of doing just that is pretty impressive. The Republicans look as though they intend to throw away the presidential election, but Democratic control of both chambers of Congress next year seems unlikely. This supposedly pivotal election may very well change nothing. (You remember how transformative 2008, which actually did give Democrats unified control, proved to be.)

I admire the Constitution for the way it protects the U.S. from the reckless machinations of the country’s political class -- but one has to admit the downside. By guarding against the dire results of rule by either tribe of would-be fundamentalists, this system accommodates and thereby encourages that very fundamentalism. Washington is a zone of advocacy without consequences. In the end, the posturing is for nothing: That’s why it persists. Meanwhile, policy emerges unpredictably and almost inadvertently, through a process of deal-making that has nothing to do with what politicians tell voters in their speeches, hence with no real accountability or consent.

Two other things follow. One is protracted delay as the political pantomime plays out. The other is that it’s impossible to make a credible commitment to long-term answers. If the next transformative election is never more than two years away, nothing is expected to stick.

America’s fiscal challenges, for instance, are serious yet surmountable. Just read the report of the fiscal commission led by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. Critical elements of what needs to be done are by now obvious: base-broadening tax reform and control of entitlements through a higher retirement age. But the U.S. political class would rather keep prating about foundational choices than get on with those straightforward fixes. While Washington quarrels endlessly over transformations that will never happen, the fiscal problem worsens to the point where it may turn around and kick the economy in the teeth.

I’d say China is the least of this country’s problems.

(Clive Crook is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

5a)Memo to GOP: Beat Obama
Rick Perry had it right: "I think anyone on this stage is better than what we've got in place."
By William McGurn

As Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum force Republican voters to make their choice in a hotly contested Michigan primary, once again we hear the great lament that we have looked at the candidates and found them all unworthy. Not everyone puts it as harshly as the headline over Conrad Black's piece in the National Post: "The Republicans Send in the Clowns." But it's a popular meme in the campaign coverage.

Like so many others who find the field wanting, Mr. Black laments that "the best Republican candidates—Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and Haley Barbour—have sat it out." We'll never know, will we? Because the "best" Republicans opted not to put their records and statements up for national scrutiny, commit themselves to a grueling campaign trail, and subject themselves to TV debates moderated by media hosts who often seem to be playing for the other team.

So say this for the final four: They had the guts to put themselves out there—and stick with it. That's something a winner needs.

As this campaign has progressed, we've also seen the traditional tensions emerge among the party's different constituencies. The lines cannot always be neatly drawn. For example, though Mr. Romney comes from a blue state and represents the business wing of the party, his positions on social issues are similar to Mr. Santorum's. Mr. Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, boasts a pro-Israel, pro-freedom foreign policy in addition to uncompromising stands on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Mr. Gingrich offers something to all three GOP constituencies and adds an engaging ability to turn questions back on his liberal interlocutors.

Amid the hurly-burly of a closely contested race, it can be easy to miss a simple fact: In all these areas—the economy, national security and social policy—the real disagreements between the candidates are a matter mostly of emphasis and tone. Only Ron Paul, in the area of foreign affairs, offers a truly substantial departure from the broad Republican tradition.

On economic issues, all four men represent a move toward lower taxes and a lighter government hand. On national security, all (again, save Mr. Paul) are opposed to Iran's getting nuclear weapons and in favor of a more robust foreign policy than President Obama's.

Even on social issues, there is not so much difference where actual policy is concerned. That's because the social issues today are not so much about morality per se but about whether these issues are to be decided by We the People or by the edict of some Health and Human Services secretary who decides that church institutions must provide free birth control and sterilizations. Or by a federal appeals court that has overturned a state referendum and crafted an opinion cleverly designed to encourage Justice Anthony Kennedy to throw out a public referendum in California, thereby re-imposing same-sex marriage on a state whose people voted against it.

In the heat of primaries, it's easy to indulge in hyperbole. Thus Mr. Romney finds himself derided as a flip-flopper on abortion; so was Ronald Reagan, who signed abortion into California law. He is accused too of being a phony, of authoring a RomneyCare that has no important differences with ObamaCare, of being at once a country-club Republican beholden to Wall Street and the advance guard for Occupy Wall Street class warfare.

University of Virginia Center of Politics director Larry Sabato on a new USA Today poll that shows both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum leading President Obama in the 12 swing states and voters overwhelmingly opposed to the President's health-care law.

Mr. Santorum has been caricatured too. He's a bluenose bent on sending the government into American bedrooms, a reactionary who seeks to outlaw contraception, and a theocrat who wishes to bring back Europe's Middle Ages.

Like Mr. Romney, he finds himself the focus of contradictory attacks: derided at once as too doctrinaire on abortion while at the same time too willing to compromise his pro-life principles by endorsing the liberal, pro-choice Arlen Specter—then the senior Republican senator from Pennsylvania—over a conservative, pro-life challenger.

Let's be clear: Today, the most vituperous charges are coming from conservative Republicans. The attacks are already being picked up by the Democratic National Committee. Unless the various constituencies cease their schoolyard sniping, these charges will come back to haunt whoever emerges as the GOP's presidential candidate.

Back in January in New Hampshire, during the first debate of 2012, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, then a candidate for the presidential nomination, said of his fellow Republicans, "I think anyone on this stage is better than what we've got in place."

That's an argument America is more than willing to hear. It does not require the perfect candidate or the perfect political party. It does require candidates and surrogates who recognize that their ultimate goal in these Republican primaries is not to read other constituencies out of the party but to bring them together to defeat President Obama.

5b)Obama's Mythical America
The president will win if his Depression-era picture of America goes unanswered.

It of course was no coincidence that on the day Michiganders voted to give Mitt Romney a three-point win in his primary shootout with Rick Santorum, Barack Obama delivered a high-powered defense of the Detroit auto bailout to the United Auto Workers Convention. No, he wasn't in Detroit. That's the UAW's second favorite city. He and the UAW were in home sweet home—Washington, D.C. That's where the money is.

A pattern is emerging. Like some World Wrestling troupe on tour, the Republican rasslers travel through their primary states slamming each other into the turnbuckles. By contrast—and "contrast" is the most important word in election politics—the incumbent president continues to deliver the same speech, which defines him as saving America from them.

To be sure, the Obama re-election speech, as delivered to the auto union this week, isn't very presidential. It sounds like something one might have heard around South America in the 1950s: "They're saying that the problem is that you, the workers, made out like bandits. . . . Even by the standards of this town [Washington] that's a load of you-know-what."

But make no mistake: Barack Obama is defining his opposition, clearly and relentlessly. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are ensuring that November's voters will end up with no idea who its nominee really is or what he stands for. That's not quite right. One thing is proven: Both have traduced "conservative principles."

The Obama campaign knows it has to compete in big, "working-class" states laden with electoral votes—Ohio (18 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16) and Wisconsin (10). To this end, the Obama narrative, his mythic America the Unfair, is now set. As defined in speeches from the State of the Union through the UAW barnburner, it goes like this:

Working men and women are the true American patriots: "It's unions like yours that helped build an arsenal of democracy that defeated fascism." (A nice Gingrichian touch there.)

You were in trouble: "The heartbeat of American manufacturing was flatlining."

They were going to sell you out: "Some even said we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt.'"

I saved you: "It wasn't just because of anything management did. It was because I believed in you. I placed my bet [the $80 billion bailout] on American workers."

They resent you: "They're still talking about you as if you were some greedy special interest that needs to be beaten."

The deck is stacked: "We will not settle for a country where a few people do really well, and everyone else struggles to get by."

The answer, as always, is America's abandoned values: "Hard work. Fair play. The opportunity to make it if you try."

Only one place to go—to the ramparts: "So I'll promise you this: As long as you've got an ounce of fight left in you, I'll have a ton of fight left in me. . . . God bless the work you do, and God bless America."

This is a caricature of a $15 trillion American economy functioning amid the complexities of the world circa 2012. Even Upton Sinclair, who wrote this sort of thing in "The Jungle" in 1906, would be embarrassed to pump out such a vision today.

Embarrassment is not in the Obama vocabulary. Mr. Obama's stock "working man" speech has been designed to paint the affluent businessman Mitt Romney as a cartoon Monopoly figure. Who would buy it? The same sort of people who bought Mitt Romney's caricature of Newt Gingrich in Florida. In politics, simple works, if simple is repeated and goes unanswered. And of course the Obama working-man myth is intended as a marker against Rick Santorum's variation of the myth pulled from the Pennsylvania coalfields.

Excepting the unlikely event that Mr. Romney sweeps Super Tuesday next week, it looks as though the Republican candidates could run until the June 5 primary with California's 172 delegates and New Jersey's 50 at stake. If what's to come the next three months is more of the same, then the winner, whether Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum, will emerge as pulp. Neither man is likely to let up on the other. So be it. That's how this game is played.

Inexcusable, though, would be if the GOP bruisers let Barack Obama's Depression-era portrait of America go unchallenged. On current course, enough American voters really will believe that Barack Obama saved them from the 1930s.

But this rewrite of reality is precisely where Mr. Obama is most vulnerable. The economic and social world Barack Obama inhabits, and has always inhabited, is totally static. Your lot in life—income, status, mobility—is largely set, with little prospect of escaping upward.

He spoke in the UAW speech of "sons and daughters" aspiring to assembly-line jobs held by their grandparents. Even they don't believe life is that static. He promises to solve their economic problems by expropriating money from the wealthy. (France's Socialist presidential candidate called for a 75% top tax rate this week.) Boeing will be forced to make planes in Washington state—forever. Naturally this president's biggest believers live in Hollywood.

Most Americans are not so credulous. But unless the GOP candidates start spending more time dismantling Obama's mythical America instead of each other, this grim fairy tale could win.
6) A Guide to the Liberal Mind
By Victor Volsky

As a great fan of Jeff Foxworthy, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to use his hilarious you-might-be-a-redneck comedy routine in an attempt to characterize the liberal mindset (tweaking Jeff's formula a bit to convert it from the suppositional to the unconditional).  So, with apologies to the wonderful country comedian, here are some of the notable features of the liberal's mental landscape:
  • If you believe that freedom of expression is sacrosanct but would like nothing better than to deny it to anyone who doesn't share your views, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that the 1st Amendment separates church from state, but not state from church, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that the 2nd Amendment was the founding fathers' big mistake and that the 10th Amendment shouldn't be taken seriously, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that endlessly discussing a problem amounts to actually solving it, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that the results of progressive programs are irrelevant and that only good intentions count, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Mark Foley, who wrote salacious e-mails to a young but legally adult congressional page, was an evil libertine, while Gerry Studds, who had sex with an underage congressional page, was a knight in shining armor, you are a liberal intellectual.
  • If you believe that Obama is an intellectual giant whose IQ is off the charts even though you have no idea what his IQ actually is, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that a decades-old drunk-driving episode in George W. Bush's biography comes under the "people's right to know" doctrine while the entire past of Barack Obama is protected by his right to privacy, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that we can spend and borrow our way out of the recession in keeping with the thoroughly discredited Keynesian model, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that taxpayers don't change their behavior when the government tries to squeeze more tax money out of them, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Americans are undertaxed, while carefully hiding your own money in offshore tax shelters, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe, with Nancy Pelosi and Valerie Jarrett, that unemployment benefits are a boon to the economy (but without taking this brilliant insight to its logical conclusion: that the path to unprecedented prosperity lies through 100% unemployment), you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that affirmative action improves the lot of poor minorities rather than miring them in perpetual misery and dependence, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty failed because not enough money (a trifling $16 trillion) was spent on it, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that God's middle name is Kennedy, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Jimmy Carter, who has been working indefatigably over the last three decades to subvert his country's foreign policy, is the best ex-president ever, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that the Fox News Channel is the modern-day equivalent of Völkischer Beobachter and The New York Times a light unto the world, and whatever the Times publishes is God-given truth while whatever it deems unfit to print doesn't deserve to be known, you are a liberal.
  • If you angrily castigate your compatriots for being profligate with their energy consumption while generously allowing yourself to use more than 20 times as much energy as a regular household (see Gore, Al), you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that your choice of a car affects the planet's climate while sunspot activity doesn't, you are a liberal.
  • If you are notoriously stingy with personal charitable giving but deliriously generous with other people's money while proudly posing as the true benefactor of the poor, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that human nature is infinitely malleable and that nurture easily trumps nature, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that your women's studies degree is superior to a Ph.D. in engineering, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that the anarchists, hoodlums, and hobos who make up the Occupy movement are noble idealists who truly represent the 99 percent of America while the Tea Partiers are Nazi troglodytes and of course racists, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that perjury is not a crime if it is about sex, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Bill Clinton defended the Constitution as he repeatedly perjured himself, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Hillary's rather primitive bribery scheme with cattle futures was so complicated as to be beyond human comprehension and thus ought to be shoved into the memory hole, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Chuck Colson, who served seven months behind bars for procuring a single FBI file, got away with murder, but the Clintons, who demanded from the FBI some 900 files, were defenseless lambs relentlessly persecuted by cruel Republicans, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that the mountains of corpses and rivers of blood that have been the chief result of all communist "experiments" are merely collateral damage, a possibly regrettable but unavoidable byproduct of the high-minded attempts to build paradise on earth and thus nothing to talk about, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Alger Hiss or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were innocent victims of McCarthyism, you are a liberal.
  • If, to reinforce your salon cred, you bedeck your infant in a T-shirt bearing the likeness of that murderous sadist, Che Guevara, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe, against plentiful historical evidence to the contrary, that appeasement works and that America's unilateral disarmament will surely mollify enemies by demonstrating our peaceful intentions and shame them into following our example, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that negotiations are the be-all and end-all of international relations and that as long as our adversaries deign to talk to us, everything is fine and dandy, even if they clearly use the negotiations as a smokescreen to pursue their nefarious schemes unmolested, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that the Palestinians sincerely want an accommodation with Israel and that only the stiff-necked Jews' obduracy stands in the way of Middle East peaceful settlement, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that all cultures are equal but that Western culture is less equal than the others, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that a crucifix immersed in the "artist's" urine or a bucket of paint splashed onto a canvas is genuine art, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that a murderous hoodlum is not really guilty because he grew up in a tough neighborhood and that "judgmentalism" is really the only crime deserving of opprobrium, you are a liberal.
  • If you reflexively sympathize with the criminal while scornfully ignoring the crime victim, you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that Bill Maher is indeed politically incorrect and Warren Buffet is dying to pay more taxes, you are a liberal.
  • If you love the "people" but despise the "populace," you are a liberal.
  • If you believe that you and your ilk will be able to fool the American people indefinitely...well, you may have a point there.
  • --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fill Up Your Tank With Anti-Neo-Colonialism and ALGAE!

Do anti-Neo-Colonialism policies and speeches that are full of nothing but bile make Algae?

Sen.Inhofe recently made a speech on The Senate Floor about 'Obama’s Flawed Energy Policy & EPA Nonsense' and the gist of it was that President Obama’s energy policy is keeping us dependent on foreign oil and is preventing us from exploiting our vast energy resources here.

This pattern of Obama's behaviour fits Dinesh D'Souza's thesis regarding his effort to make us live his father's dreams! You decide as you fill up your tank. (See 1 below.)

I have chosen to substitute the word ALGAE for CRAP! More White House Algae. The Obama Press Secretary is appropriately named 'Carney,' like in Barnum's Circus, because he too is full of ALGAE!(See 1a below.)
Looking to the future according to Sowell.

I went reluctantly to my synagogue's annual meeting this past Sunday and a simple proposal was put before the attendees to reduce the size of their unwieldy board. Several lawyers and an academic were in the audience along with some others, who seldom get a chance to speak in public, and for over an hour they debated the proposition proving the exact purpose of the proposal.

Democracy is deemed to be egalitarian but often exposes one to a heap of nonsense making one long for benign dictatorship. (See 2 below.)
Dershowitz discovers the media is biased towards Israel and Soros is full of 'ALGAE.". Wonders never cease. (See 3 below.)
1)The Wisdom of Drilling for Oil
By Peter Morici

When Barack Obama assumed the presidency, gas prices were less than $2 a gallon. He proceeded to shut down deep-water drilling in the Gulf, tightened other federal restrictions on petroleum development, and vetoed the Keystone Pipeline. Now, even with Americans driving not a lot more than three years ago and global growth slowing, gas is nearing $4 a gallon.

The liberal theocracy in academia, the media and the Democratic Party leadership relentlessly expounds that drilling for oil in the United States won’t much affect U.S. gas prices, because petroleum prices are set in global markets. And, more domestic oil production or U.S. access to Canadian petroleum won’t much change global supplies, or the pace of economic recovery and unemployment.


Oil prices paid by U.S. refineries in the Gulf do move with global prices but not in lockstep. Increasing North American production would lower U.S. refinery acquisition costs, because U.S. refineries, like others around the world, are built to handle the special characteristics of oil produced by their primary sources supply. And gasoline produced by individual refineries is not wholly fungible either—differing fuel characteristics are required across the United States and Europe to meet environmental standards

Although tensions with Iran are growing and pushing up oil prices everywhere, prices have diverged between, for example, U.S. and European markets. For years, prices for West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent moved closely, but now WTI is selling for $17 less than its North Sea counterpart. This indicates the U.S. market is becoming somewhat separate and less wholly determined by global conditions; hence, more domestic production and increased access to Canadian oil would lower U.S. oil and prices—more drilling in the Gulf and elsewhere in North America, and the Keystone pipeline would significantly affect gas prices and employment.

More importantly, whether Americans pay $115 a barrel for oil from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria or obtained from the Gulf of Mexico and other domestic deposits makes a huge difference. The annual trade deficit on petroleum is about $300 billion. Raising U.S. oil production to its sustainable potential of 10 million barrels a day would cut import costs in half, directly create 1.5 million jobs, and applying Administration economic models for stimulus spending, create another 1 million jobs indirectly.

Overall, attaining U.S. oil production potential would boost GDP about $250 billion. Not bad, because it could be accomplished by increasing federal revenues from royalties and reducing the federal deficit, instead of adding to it through additional stimulus spending and subsidies to questionable solar and wind projects.

Recently, the President ridiculed GOP presidential candidates for urging more domestic petroleum development stating, “Anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know they’re talking about—or just isn’t telling you the truth.”

That’s simply not so—drilling for more oil in the United States could make a big difference.

Under Mr. Obama’s stewardship, the U.S. economy is not recovering as it should. As per usual, the President distracts public attention from poor policy choices by blaming and ridiculing others.

After three years, the President, who promised Americans millions of clean energy jobs in place of a thriving petroleum industry and much lower unemployment, should own up to his mistakes. Most Americans are needlessly paying too much for gas and foreign oil, while federally subsidized solar and wind projects are filing for bankruptcy.

This November, poor judgment and weakness of character—such as the President’s repeated attacks on the petroleum industry and failure to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions—make the most compelling case for change.

Americans should not expect a perfect president but at least one who bases decisions on facts not whimsy, and learns from mistakes. Americans are simply not getting fact-based leadership and good judgment from President Obama.

Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland School, and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

1a)Carney: Republicans "Forced Us" To Deny Keystone Pipeline

"The reason why the Keystone XL required the review that it did is because it crossed, that pipeline crossed an international boundary. The State Department, by tradition and rule, reviews those requests for permits and was in the process of doing just that when the Republicans forced us to deny it because tried to compel the administration to grant a permit to a pipeline for which the route didn't even exist. Which was obviously was not the right thing to do," White House press secretary Jay Carney said at his Monday briefing.
2)Pettiness and Mud
By Thomas Sowell

The only good news for the Republicans coming out of the seemingly endless presidential candidate "debates" is that some Republican leaders are now belatedly thinking about how they can avoid a repetition of this debacle in future elections.

What could they possibly have been thinking about, in the first place, when they agreed to a format based on short sound bites for dealing with major complex issues, and with media journalists -- 90 percent of them Democrats -- picking the topics?

The conduct of the candidates made things worse. In a world with a record-breaking national debt and Iran moving toward creating nuclear weapons, they bickered over earmarks and condoms. I am against earmarks, but earmarks don't rank among the first hundred most serious problems facing this country.

Mud-slinging has replaced rational discussions of differences on serious issues -- not only during the debates themselves, where the moderators sic the candidates on each other, but even more so in the massive television character assassination ads in which Romney supporters seem to specialize.

Groups supporting Mitt Romney have turned character assassination almost into a science. You take something that most people, outside of politics, do not understand and twist it to sound terrible to those who are unaware of the facts.

Blanketing Florida with misleading ads attacking Newt Gingrich won that state for Romney, after Gingrich scored an upset victory in South Carolina. The ads made a big deal out of charges that the former Speaker broke tax laws -- charges that the Internal Revenue Service exonerated him of, after a long investigation.

When Rick Santorum suddenly surged after his upset victories in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado, the Romney character assassination machine attacked him for having voted in the Senate for various things that conservatives don't like.

But, when it comes to voting in Congress, seldom do you get a pure bill that you can agree with in all its parts. If you never voted for bills containing anything you didn't like, you might get very little voting done.

But, if it is a bill to provide American soldiers with the equipment they need to fight a war, and somebody has put into it an earmark for a federal boondoggle in his district, are you going to vote against that bill and let American soldiers go into battle without all the equipment and supplies they need?

Taking advantage of the public's lack of knowledge is something that Barack Obama already does very effectively in his political propaganda. But is that something the Republicans want to imitate?

It has worked during the primary season, when the media are perfectly happy to see Republicans destroying each other. But it will not work in the general election campaign, when even truthful criticisms of the president will have a hard time getting out through the media, which hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil when it comes to Obama.

The pettiness and mud-slinging during the Republican primary campaigns is especially irresponsible during a time when there are very serious problems, at home and abroad, that need to be addressed in a serious way.

Discussions of particular issues, one by one, often miss the larger point that goes beyond the issue at hand -- namely, this administration's steady movement toward arbitrary government that circumvents the restrictions of the Constitution.

Nothing demonstrates this more starkly than the president's arbitrary power to waive the requirement that employers have to provide ObamaCare coverage for their workers. That can be the difference between paying, or not paying, millions of dollars. What does that mean for anybody's other rights?

What does freedom of speech mean if criticizing the administration can mean you get no exemption, while your competitor who keeps quiet, or who praises the administration, gets a waiver? The Constitution requires "equal protection of the laws" for a reason.

And what about nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran, the world's leading sponsor of international terrorism? Is that not worth discussing in something other than sound bites?
3)Dershowitz Declares War on Soros-Financed Media Matters Site

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz says he’s declaring war on the left-wing, George Soros-financed website Media Matters for America over its depiction of Israel. And Dershowitz says he’s going to make it into a re-election issue for President Barack Obama.

The information comes amid recent news, according to WND, that White House staffers held regular meetings and even a weekly conference call with Media Matters on campaign strategy.

Dershowitz is particularly angry with Media Matters' coverage of Israel, especially rhetoric from Media Matters Action Network senior fellow M.J. Rosenberg, who is known for his extreme anti-Israel views.

The site uses the phrase “Israel Firster,” implying those who support the Jewish state put Israel’s needs before those of the United States.

“Not only will [the Media Matters controversy] be an election matter, I will personally make it an election matter,” said Dershowitz.

“I will speak to every Jewish group that invites me, and I think it’s fair to say I speak to more Jewish groups than probably any other person in the world. I spoke to over a million Jews over the years,” Dershowitz said. “You know, just last Thursday I spoke to 1,200; just in the next weeks alone I’ll be speaking — and in the past weeks — to thousands of American Jews. And believe me, I will not let them ignore this issue.”

Dershowitz spoke Sunday on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.

“I don’t know whether President Obama has any idea that Media Matters has turned the corner against Israel in this way,” Dershowitz said. “I can tell you this: He will know very shortly because I am beginning a serious campaign on this issue and I will not let it drop until and unless Rosenberg is fired from Media Matters, or Media Matters changes its policy or the White House disassociates itself from Media Matters.”

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 27, 2012

ALGAE Is The Answer To All Our Energy Problems and The Obama Trap!

As my friend and fellow memo reader reminds us, sometimes myths get in the way of facts.

This frequently happens because the press and media dolts are prone to believe whatever they are told by the Palestinians who won the propaganda war eons ago.

The media and press in the Middle East are so hungry for stories they, all too often, are told what they must report for fear of being denied access. (See 1 and 1a below.)
More responses from those who know and support Meg Heap and why!

Hope you will please attend the March 13, 5PM 'Meet Meg Event' and draw your own conclusions. (See 2 below.)
Do Iran's nuclear facilities remain vulnerable? Was one actually attacked and destroyed? I have been told it was. (See 3 below.)

The Economist weighs in on the subject. (See 3a below.)
More from The Heritage Foundation about 'Obama Foreign Flop!' (See 4 below.)
Nothing sacred about voting in Minnesota because winning is everything. (See 5 below.)
It is 'algae time' for the 'wine and cheese' intellects. (See 6 below.)
It is a dollars to donut bet Obama will continue to do everything in his power to thwart an attack on Iran by Israel. Our apologist president has no desire to see his election problems widen so he will continue to press forward with his limp efforts to appear tough with too late sanctions, more blusters and empty threats.

AI would venture to say all this will do is drive Israel into a corner and make Netanyahu more reluctant to fall into the 'Obama Doctrine' trap.(See 7 below.)
1)Political Rights in Palestine

"Neither customary international law nor the United Nations Charter acknowledges that every group of people [Palestinian Arabs included] claiming to be a nation has the right to a state of its own." [1]
By Eli E. Hertz

The Mandate for Palestine, a legally binding document under international law, clearly differentiates between political rights - referring to Jewish self-determination as an emerging polity - and civil and religious rights, referring to guarantees of equal personal freedoms to non-Jewish residents as individuals and within select communities. Not once are Arabs as a people mentioned in the Mandate for Palestine. At no point in the entire document is there any granting of political rights to non-Jewish entities (i.e., Arabs). Article 2 of the Mandate for Palestine explicitly states that the Mandatory should:

"Be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion."

Political rights to self-determination as a polity for Arabs were guaranteed by the League of Nations in four other mandates - in Lebanon and Syria [The French Mandate], Iraq and later Trans-Jordan [The British Mandate]. Political rights in Palestine were granted to Jews only.

International law expert Professor Eugene V. Rostow, examining the claim for Arab Palestinian self-determination on the basis of law, concluded:

"The mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self-determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit. There remains simply the theory that the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have an inherent 'natural law' claim to the area."

[1] See Eugene V. Rostow, The Future of Palestine, Institute for National Strategic Studies, November 1993. Professor Rostow was Sterling Professor of Law and Public Affairs Emeritus at Yale University and served as the Dean of Yale Law School (1955-66); Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Diplomacy, National Defense University; Adjunct Fellow, American Enterprise Institute. In 1967, as U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, he became a key draftee of UN Resolution 242. See also his article: "Are Israel's Settlements Legal?" The New Republic, October 21, 1991.

1a)Netanyahu Slams Abbas' 'Contemptible' Doha Speech
By Chana Ya'ar

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had fiery words for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Sunday evening after a day in which the Fatah and PLO leader delivered a speech that attempted to deny the ancient Jewish roots of Jerusalem. Abbas told Arab leaders in Doha that visiting "occupied Jerusalem" was the goal of every Muslim, Arab and Christian.

Speaking at the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem on Qatar, Abbas said “The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem.”

He accused Israel of surrounding Jerusalem with “an apartheid wall and a band of settlements in order to isolate the city from its surroundings in the West Bank.” Abbas added that Israel had made it “almost impossible to obtain” permits for PA Arabs to enter the city and said that visiting “occupied Jerusalem” was the goal of every Arab, Muslim and Christian.

"This is a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace,” Israel's prime minister responded. “The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality."

“For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People. Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, will continue to be open to believers of all faiths. There is freedom of worship for all and Israel will continue to carefully maintain the holy places of all religions.

“Abu Mazen [Abbas -- ed.] knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks, including his baseless and irresponsible claims regarding the al-Aqsa Mosque. The State of Israel expects that one who supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and coexistence and not disseminate lies and incitement. This is not how one makes peace."
2)Dear Richard, I agree with you as Meg Heap was the lawyer, as Assitant D.A., for the case of my sister. My sister is a Retired Col. USNC and retired after 33 years of having served as Chief Nurse of hospitals, and at Buzzards Bay. She was a victim of idenity theft by her care giver, big time. Meg was so thorough, considerate of my sisters health and brought in evidence that was truly professional, intelligent and has great integrity. She knew of resources that my family could not believe. She is honest, resourceful and we felt a great credit to the Justice Department of Savannah. We were sorry to see her leave the D.A.'s office and are hoping to campaign for her this year. She is a role model for all prosecutors. She was able to put the care giver for a minimum of five years in jail. I concur with your approval as do my sisters. Thanks for your note. Joan Carroll, Janet Hanley, Retd Col. Margaret Baskfield and John Baskfield

Subject: Why don't we have qualified candidates running for office
People frequently pose this question to me: "Why don't we have qualified candidates running for office"

I understand their frustration and tell them there is no one reason but many. They involve the high cost of a campaign, the sacrifice for their family and themselves and most of all the vulnerability these days of being in the public arena and the abuse and vitriol one takes.

Well, we do have a qualified candidate in Meg Heap and she deserves your consideration.
I met Meg because a long and dear mutual friend of my wife and Meg's urged me to meet her and give her my support if I deemed her candidacy worthy. I did and am.

The one drawback with Meg is she is extremely qualified and that is a rare and novel thing in Savannah politics these days.

I am happily hosting a "Meet Meg" event Tuesday, March 13, at the Ballroom of The Plantation Club at the Landings at 5PM. Please come and if you are not a Landings resident let me know and I will place your name on a list at the main gate.

The current serving DA has now been sued for sex bias. He is a lousy administrator and an incompetent. People have left his office in droves and Savannah has a serious crime problem.
For these and many more reasons, I am supporting Meg Heap who is running to succeed Larry Chisholm.

22 E. Bryan Street, Suite #143
Savannah, Georgia 31401

Born: September, 1964
Marital Status: Married - Children: 2 sons

Saint Vincent's Academy 1982 - Honor Graduate Savannah, Georgia
Georgia Southern College June 1986 Statesboro, Georgia Cum Laude - Honor Graduate
Mercer University May 1992 - Juris Doctorate Walter F. George School of Law,
Macon, Georgia


Solo Practitioner December 2011 to present
Attorney at Metts Law Firm August 2011 to December 2011
West Congress Street, Savannah, Georgia
Staff Attorney September 2010 to July 2011
Judge Penny Freesemann Superior Court of Chatham County Savannah, Georgia
Chief Assistant District Attorney January 2009 to August 2010
Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, Chatham County Savannah, Georgia
Assistant District Attorney July 1995 to December 2008
Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, Chatham County Savannah, Georgia
December 2005: Assigned to prosecute the abuse of the elderly and disabled adults.
The position was the first elder abuse prosecutor in the State. Duties also included education for the community and law enforcement.
Previously assigned to the Superior Court Division prosecuting felonies. From 1995 to 1997. Also assigned to the State Court Division prosecuting misdemeanors.
Assistant District Attorney 6/1/92 to 7/30/95
Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, Cherokee County Canton, Georgia
Prosecuted felonies in the Superior and Juvenile Courts and handled civil condemnations. Offenses ranged from murder, child molestation, to burglaries, thefts and any other offense where the overall needs of the office dictated.
Volunteer Coordinator July 1986 to August 1989

Victim Advocate:

Victim-Witness Assistance Program, Savannah, Georgia
Recruited and trained volunteers in Chatham County to work with victims of crime through our court system.

Volunteer coordinator of the year for Chatham County in 1988.
Worked with victims of crime in coordination with DA's Office.

Career Highlights:

• September of 2005: Presenter clergy training seminar called "Ministering to Vulnerable Populations: Child and Elder Abuse."
• December 2005: attended the National Triad Training Symposium in Tunica Mississippi.
• March 2006: Presenter at the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center Area Agency on Aging: Issue: Elder Abuse (Richmond Hill, G.)
• April 2006: Adult Protective Services Statewide Seminar - prosecuting elder abuse. Skilled to Build: Shaping and Enhancing Services to Protect Georgia's Vulnerable Adults
• April 2006: Presenter at the statewide Adult Protective Services Seminar
• April 2006: Presenter at First Baptist Church "Classics", group of seniors on the issue of elder abuse
• May 2006: Presenter at a training sponsored by the Greater Savannah Coalition on Aging for professionals who work with elder or disabled adults.
• May 2006: Presenter on elder abuse at Consumer College, a training symposium for elderly citizens.
• May 2006 - Greater Savannah Coalition on Aging: Adult abuse prosecution in Chatham County
• May to June 2006: Presented training for law enforcement officers of Port Wentworth, Tybee Island and Savannah Chatham Metro PDs highlighting elder abuse law
• June 2006: Training presenter for emergency room nurses for Memorial Medical Center- elder abuse warning signs, prevention and protection
• September 2006: Presenter Smart Seniors at Candler Hospital - the issues of elder abuse
• September 2006: Elder abuse to Georgia Recreation and Park Assoc.
• October 2006 - Presenter at Tara Nursing Home - training of staff
• October 2006: Presenter at Ga. Commission on Domestic Violence - best practices: redefining best practices through the survivor’s eyes
• June 2007 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - Brunswick for the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center
• August 2007: Statewide Ga. IAFN
• Year of 2008: Presented a 2 hour block of instruction bi-weekly to officers with the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department
• Spring 2008: Article on in Georgia Generations - Scams that target seniors
• March 2008: Ludowici Police Department - training on elder abuse
• April 2008: Elder Abuse Conference (Valdosta State University)
• April 2008: Consumer College (SALT) elder abuse and exploitation
• July 2008: Presenter for the Coalition on Aging
• August 2008: Presenter at the Utah Municipal Prosecutors on the issues of elder abuse
• August 2010: Collaborated with Department of Homeland Defense in drafting a curriculum for training law enforcement on Native American lands on the issue of domestic violence.
Member of:
• Greater Savannah Coalition of Aging
• Elder Abuse Multi-disciplinary Team
• Adult Services Advisory Council
• S.A.L.T. Council (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together)
• Senior Medicare Patrol Advisory Council
• Advisory Council for the State Long-term Care Ombudsmen Program
• Coastal Children's Advocacy Center, Board of Directors
3) Iran’s Gamble – The Proliferation Sprint
By Gavriel Queenann

Iran stands at the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability as the world watches in indecision.

Sanctions, covert action, and diplomacy have failed to alter Iran’s nuclear policy. Nor have they had a visible effect Iran's the enrichment program – including Tehran's growing stockpile of 19.75% low-enriched uranium (LEU).

Obtaining weapons-grade high-enriched uranium (HEU) is the most difficult and technically challenging obstacle to acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Assessing the “breakout” time – the time required to convert LEU to weapons-grade HEU – is therefore a critical component of determining progress toward a nuclear weapons capability.

Iran’s bank of rapidly spinning centrifuges has produced a growing stockpile of low-enriched uranium, able to fuel nuclear reactors, but able also to fuel nuclear weapons if further enriched. Enrichment raises the concentration of the uranium isotope U-235, which fissions in first-generation nuclear weapons.

As Iran increases its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and its stockpile of uranium is enriched to 20 percent U-235, it will consolidate its status as a "virtual" nuclear weapon state.

Iran's enrichment activities occur at its facilities in Natanz and Fordow. The Natanz facility is above ground and – despite Iran's attempts to protect it with anti-aircraft defenses and a fighter screen – remains vulnerable to attack.

As a result, Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment activities at the Fordow facility. The site – once covert and grossly mischaracterized by US officials as a façade – is buried in the side of a small mountain outside Qom.

Considered a "hard target" by military analysts, Fordow is the focus of intense scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the subject of the nuclear watchdog’s detailed analysis of Tehran's weaponization work.

According the IAEA, Fordow began producing uranium enriched to 20 percent earlier this year and has recently seen an expansion of its advanced centrifuges – the key and difficult-to-obtain component in enrichment activities.

These developments reduce the time Iran needs to produce fuel for a nuclear weapon and accelerate the stockpiling of weapons grade uranium. Should Iran choose to make a dash for a nuclear weapon, the world will be faced with a narrow window in which both to discover the move and take action to stop it.

The most recent IAEA report published earlier this month predicts Iran will possess enough 19.75% LEU for a 15 kiloton nuclear bomb – sufficiently large to be strategically useful – by 1 June 2012.

The worst case scenario is that Iran could reach the 90% HEU threshold for weapons grade uranium within one month of beginning its proliferation sprint. However, this scenario is considered highly unlikely and relies on contested technical assumptions about Iran's enrichment capabilities.

Proliferation experts say the most likely scenario would be Iran's reaching 90% HEU within 2.5 to 3 months of beginning its break-out.

A second concern is Iran's attempts to render its critical centrifuge operations both more diffuse and impenetrable, which would take Iran into Defense Minister Ehud Barak's "immunity zone."

At present the destruction of the Fordow and Natanz sites could set Tehran's enrichment program back years, giving sanctions time to have their desired effect. While the Natanz site is vulnerable to attack, US officials have recently said neither Washington nor Jerusalem have the ability to penetrate the Fordow facility.

Simply destroying the Natanz facility while Fordow remains operational would only extend the window for an Iranian nuclear break out – to perhaps one year – rather than stopping it. According to Air Force officials, its current 20.5 foot-long Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) carries over 5,300 pounds of explosive material and is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet underground before exploding.

The mountain above the Iranian enrichment site at Fordow is estimated to be at least 200 feet tall, which has raised doubts about the MOPs ability to effectively destroy Fordow. Those doubts have prompted Pentagon officials this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb's ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding.

The push to boost the power of the MOP is part of stepped-up contingency planning for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear program, say U.S. officials. US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said the current generation of MOPs could cause "a lot of damage" to the Fordow facility, but wouldn't necessarily destroy it outright.

"We're developing it. I think we're pretty close, let's put it that way. But we're still working at it because these things are not easy to be able to make sure that they will do what we want them to." he said. Panetta added: "But I'm confident, frankly, that we're going to have that capability and have it soon."

As a result, Tehran finds itself facing a ticking clock of its own and will have to time its nuclear sprint – should it choose to make one – to beat Washington's own rush for a bigger and better bunker-buster. The Air Force has so far contracted to buy 20 of the new bombs and more deliveries are expected in early 2013.

Israel has large bunker-buster bombs, but the US hasn't provided the MOP to Jerusalem. Nor is Washington likely to provide Israel with its replacement in 2013. Analysts believe it is highly unlikely repeated strikes with Israel's current bunker-busters would prove effective in destroying Fordow. Those doubts render an Israeli strike on Iran fraught with difficulty and potential failure.

This stark reality that Israel's leaders must confront is rendered even more complicated and dangerous by the Obama administration's diffident posture vis-a-vis taking direct military action against Iran. Washington has declared an Iranian nuclear bomb is "unacceptable," but refuses to commit to a strike on Natanz and Fordow should Iran choose to make a nuclear sprint.

That leaves leaders in all three capitals – Jerusalem, Tehran, and Washington – watching the clock and waiting for the starter's gun to fire.

3a)The probability of an attack on Iran’s nuclear programme has been increasing. But the chances of it ending the country’s nuclear ambitions are lo

THE crisis has been a long time coming. Iran started exploring paths to nuclear weaponry before the fall of the shah in 1979. Ten years ago the outside world learned of the plants it was building to provide “heavy” water (used in reactors that produce plutonium) and enriched uranium, which is necessary for some types of nuclear reactor, but also for nuclear weapons. The enrichment facilities have grown in capability, capacity and number; there has been work on detonators, triggers and missile technology, too.

Iran wants, at the very least, to put itself in a position where it has the expertise and materials with which to build deliverable nuclear weapons quickly. It may well want, at some point, to develop the bombs themselves. This is deeply worrying to Israel, which is threatened by Iran’s proxies in Lebanon and Gaza and disgusted by the anti-Semitic rants of Iran’s leaders. It also alarms Arab states, which fear Iranian power (and their own Shiite minorities). That alarm could lead some of them—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, perhaps Turkey—to seek nuclear weapons of their own. Many fear that this would make the region even less stable than it is. Even if it did not, it would make the possible consequences of instability much more terrible.

Outside powers, especially America, would give a great deal to avoid the prospect of an emboldened, nuclear-armed Iran. Hence ever-stronger sanctions designed to get Iran to cease enrichment and content itself with reactor fuel made elsewhere. Hence, also, a willingness by America and others to keep open the option of military strikes.

In Israel that willingness has hardened close to the point of commitment. Israel has nuclear weapons itself, including submarine-based weapons that could posthumously annihilate any aggressor who destroyed the country. But this deterrent is not enough to stop Israelis from seeing a nuclear Iran as the precursor to a second holocaust. The problem is that military action will not necessarily bring about what Israel wants—and could, in the medium to long term, make matters worse.

Short fuses
The possibility of an Iranian bomb comes closer with every revolution of the centrifuges in its underground enrichment plants (see article ). Israel’s director of military intelligence, Major-General Aviv Kochavi, says that Iran has obtained 4 tonnes of uranium enriched to 3.5% and another 100kg enriched to 20%, which the Iranians say is for a research reactor in Tehran. If further enriched to 90% (which is not that hard once you have got to 20%) the more enriched uranium would be enough for up to four nuclear weapons. General Kochavi says that from the moment Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave the order, it would take the Iranians a year to make a crude device and another year or two to put together a nuclear warhead that would fit on a ballistic missile. American analysts, who imagine a broader-based approach to developing a nuclear capability, rather than a crash programme, think it would take a bit longer.

Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, talks of the Iranian programme entering a “zone of immunity” well before any bombs are built. This year some of Iran’s centrifuges have been moved to a previously secret facility near the holy city of Qom. This site, Fordow, is buried deep within the bowels of a mountain; hence Mr Barak’s talk of Iran reaching a stage “which may render any physical strike as impractical”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Fordow has room for 3,000 centrifuges, compared with the 9,000 Iran claims at its first enrichment plant, Natanz. Mr Barak fears that once Fordow is fully equipped Iran will leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). That would bring the IAEA’s inspections to an end, as well as its safeguard procedures aimed at tracking nuclear material. North Korea left the NPT in 2003, two years before announcing that it had the bomb and three years before testing one.

Not all Israeli security officials agree with Mr Barak. Some think that the time may already have passed when Israel on its own could carry out such a strike; others reject the idea that Fordow is a uniquely difficult target. Many of their American peers see a focus on Fordow as too narrow. There are less well defended facilities that are also critical to Iranian nuclear ambitions: sites that make centrifuges and missiles, for example.

Iran’s decreasing vulnerability is not the only reason for thinking that, after talking about it for many years, Israel might actually be about to strike. It has been building up its in-air refuelling capacity, and thus its ability to get a lot of planes over targets well inside Iran. And the Arab spring has reduced Iran’s scope for retaliation. The plight of the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria removes Iran’s only significant Arab ally from the fray. A year ago both Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza might have been relied on to rain missiles on Israeli targets after a strike against Iran. Now Hamas is realigning itself away from Iran and towards Egypt, and the situation in Syria means that Hizbullah cannot be certain that, if it fires at Israel, its Iranian-supplied arsenal will be replenished.

Awkward allies
Then there is the American presidential election. Like the Bush administration before it, Barack Obama’s White House sees Iran’s nuclear ambitions as a huge concern. But it worries that the consequences of an attack on Iran, whether by Israel or America, are unpredictable and scary: oil prices would rocket—at least for a while—endangering the economic recovery; allies in the Gulf already shaken by the Arab spring could be further destabilised; jihadist terrorism could be re-energised; America could be deflected from its primary goal of balancing the power of a rising China in the western Pacific.

Leon Panetta, America’s secretary of defence, says an Israeli attack might delay the advent of an Iranian bomb by “maybe one, possibly two years”, which looks like too little reward for such risks. Mr Obama has insisted that the Israelis give more time for diplomacy, an ever-tightening sanctions regime and intelligence-led efforts to sabotage Iran’s progress. In the period between September last year and January this year Mr Panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, both warned Israeli leaders that if they attacked they would be on their own.

But the election may give Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, something to bargain with. In the face of a hawkish Republican rival and in front of an electorate that is in parts fiercely pro-Israel, Mr Obama may feel he has to welcome, or even build on, an Israeli fait accompli in a way he would not have done earlier and might not do after his re-election, should it come about. In March Mr Netanyahu is planning a trip to Washington. He is likely to remind a broadly sympathetic Congress where America’s duty lies in confronting the “existential threat” to Israel. Although Mr Netanyahu is a more cautious character than some suppose, it would be a mistake to think he is bluffing when he says privately that on his watch Iran will not be allowed to take an irreversible step towards the possession of nuclear weapons.

In early February Mr Panetta appeared to reflect the sense that an Israeli attack was becoming increasingly likely when sharing his thoughts with a journalist from the Washington Post. He said he now believed there was a “strong likelihood” that Israel would attack Iran between April and June this year. Other sources put the odds of an attack this year a bit over 50%.

Such an attack would be a far more complex undertaking than the Israeli strikes against Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 and Syria’s reactor near al-Kibar in 2007. The Iranian nuclear programme looks as if it has been set up with air strikes in mind. Its sites are spread across more than a dozen supposedly well-defended locations.

Israel would probably pay particular attention to the enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow; after them would come the facility at Isfahan that turns uranium into a gas that the centrifuges can work with and the heavy-water reactor under construction at Arak, both of which are above the ground. The larger Russian-built reactor at Bushehr would probably escape unscathed; it is less relevant to weapons work and damage to it could spread contamination across the Gulf.

Israel’s main attack force would consist of two dozen F-15Is and 100 F-16Is, variants of American fighter bombers that have been adapted for long-range missions, along with tankers for aerial refuelling, perhaps supplemented by armed drones and submarine-launched cruise missiles. The planes’ most likely route would be over Jordan and then Iraq, which has almost no air defences. Iran is defended, but mainly by Soviet-era surface-to-air missiles of a kind the Israelis have dealt with before. Iran has fighter aircraft, too, but the Israelis are not too concerned about them.

Plans of attack
Israel has at least 100 two-and-a-quarter tonne (5,000-pound) GBU-28s precision-guided bunker-busting bombs and even more of the smaller GBU-27s. Natanz would be vulnerable to these if they struck with sufficient accuracy and in sufficient numbers.

The biggest question is whether an Israeli strike would have any impact on the centrifuge chamber at Fordow, said to be buried 80 metres deep. According to Austin Long, an academic who used to work for the RAND Corporation, if every one of the F-15Is aimed the GBU-28 it was carrying, along with both its GBU-27s, at a single point, there would be a 35-90% chance of over half the weapons arriving at just the right place and at least one bomb would penetrate the facility. So if carried through with impeccable precision an attack on Fordow would have a reasonable chance of inflicting a bomb’s worth of damage.

But even if things went off without a hitch Iran would retain the capacity to repair and reconstitute its programme. Unless Israel was prepared to target the programme’s technical leadership in civilian research centres and universities the substantial nuclear know-how that Iran has gained over the past decades would remain largely intact. So would its network of hardware suppliers. Furthermore, if Iran is not already planning to leave the NPT such an attack would give it ample excuse to do so, taking its entire programme underground and focusing it on making bombs as soon as possible, rather than building up a threshold capability. Even a successful Israeli strike might thus delay Iran’s progress by only three or four years, while strengthening its resolve.

An American attack might gain five years or even ten; it could drop more bombs on more of the sites, and much bigger bombs—its B-2s carry GBU-57 “Massive Ordnance Penetrators”, weighing almost 14 tonnes. Mindful of its greater capability, in May 2008 Israel’s then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, asked George Bush whether America would, if needed, finish the job that Israel had started and stand by its friend no matter what the consequences. Mr Bush, preoccupied with Iraq, turned him down.

What are friends for?
Mr Obama, whose relations with Mr Netanyahu are much cooler than were Mr Bush’s with Mr Olmert, says he is “leaving all options on the table”. An American attack thus remains a possibility, and will continue to be one up to the day Iran fields weapons. But America is unlikely to rush into a strike following an Israeli mission. Administration officials suggest that America would aim to stay firmly on the sidelines, though they are resigned to the fact that, however strong its denials, its complicity would be widely assumed. America would, however, respond vigorously to any attack on its own forces, the oil installations of its allies, or shipping.

Despite a lot of huffing and puffing from Iranian commanders about closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 35% of the world’s seaborne oil passes, Iran lacks the ships and firepower with which to mount a conventional blockade. Mines, torpedo-carrying mini-submarines and anti-ship missiles would still allow the Iranians to damage poorly defended tankers. But a spate of such attacks would probably bring an overwhelming response from the carrier groups of America’s Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain. Iranian action that managed to be more than a nuisance while not provoking a decisive counter-attack by America would require finely judged and innovative tactics.

Wars at home
Nevertheless, to maintain its credibility the Iranian government would feel compelled to retaliate. As well as threatening shipping, it has also said that it will strike back at any Gulf state from which attacks on it are launched. America has bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates; those countries could become targets if Iran chooses to see America as directly implicated in any attack. Iranian strikes on the Gulf states could, in turn, lead America to retaliate against non-nuclear targets in Iran.

Then there are attacks on Israel proper. Although Hizbullah and Hamas may not launch attacks as fiercely as they might have done a year ago, they could still do damage. Iran may also try to hit Israel with its own ballistic missiles, though this would come up against the obstacle of Israel’s missile defences, and could also spur a forthright American response.

A regional conflagration cannot be ruled out. But the biggest downside of an attack on Iran may be the possibility of revived patriotic support for an unpopular and incompetent regime. Even the most virulently anti-regime Iranians today fear that an attack on the country’s nuclear installations could rekindle the revolutionary Islamic patriotism of the Iran-Iraq war, validating decades of paranoid regime propaganda and cementing the Revolutionary Guard’s increasingly firm hold on politics and the economy.

Although such fears may be overdone, so too may be the hopes of some outside Iran that an attack could have the opposite effect, with Iranians turning against the regime. It is true that Iran is embroiled in a power struggle (see article ). Parliamentarians have summoned the president for questioning for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Given the level of public disaffection with the regime following a post-election crackdown in 2009 and the economic downturn caused by sanctions (see article ), the government can expect only limited sympathy from the public. If retaliatory strikes against shipping, or Gulf oil terminals, or Israel, brought on a subsequent wave of American attacks it might lose even that. This is a reason to expect a relatively restrained reaction to any raid, or one expressed through terrorist attacks far away—such as those mounted last week on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi, Tbilisi and Bangkok.

But discontented though they may be, Iranians are for the most part quite proud of their nuclear programme, seeing no reason why so ancient and grand a nation should not have nuclear weapons. They point out that Pakistan is a far less stable and more dangerous member of the nuclear club than Iran would be, and that Western powers are hypocritical in their tacit acceptance of Israel’s nuclear weapons. Iran, they say, has not launched a war since the 19th century; Israel has never been completely at peace.

This adds to the case that, although bombing could delay Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it stands little chance of diminishing them; further entrenching them looks more likely. Perhaps, in the time gained by an attack, today’s regime might fall, its place taken by one less committed to nuclear development. But it is also possible that reinvigorated sanctions might convince even today’s regime that the cost of becoming a nuclear power was too high. Coupling sanctions with the threat of an attack may make them yet more convincing—even if, paradoxically, an actual attack would lessen their force.

The sanctions have become so tough, though, only because the world takes the risk of an Israeli attack seriously and it needs an alternative. Sword-rattling can sometimes have its place. But the swords are sharp—and double-edged.

Nearing a point of no return
4)Obama Doctrine Failure

Three years ago, President Barack Obama set forth to recast American foreign policy in an image of his own design. It was one in which the White House engaged with enemies and undercut allies, apologized for American exceptionalism, and favored the "soft power" of treaties and international organizations. This "Obama Doctrine" was tailor made to burnish America's supposedly flagging reputation on the world stage. Today we are seeing the disastrous results of a doctrine gone wrong.

The Middle East is a logical starting point of this Obama Doctrine retrospective, a region where the President's soaring aspirations have been mugged by the reality on the ground. Beginning in Iran, Obama sought to engage a regime led by a man who has openly called for the destruction of Israel. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not mollified by the President's charm offensive, and now, even in the face of escalating sanctions, Iran is ratcheting up its rhetoric, threatening to cut off a quarter of the world's energy supply, and marching toward a nuclear weapon. The Obama Administration's response? An admonishment of Israel for considering a strike against the murderous Iranian regime.

Syria, too, is yet another example of the Obama Doctrine failure. The President entered office hoping to engage the hostile regime of Bashar al-Assad and soft-pedaled its criticism of Assad's violent crackdown on anti-government protesters. The result? Syria ordered the attack on the U.S. embassy in Damascus, threatened the U.S. ambassador, and to date has killed more than 7,500 Syrians who are standing against the autocratic government.

The President's failure to discern friend from foe in foreign affairs left it flatfooted in the Arab Spring awakening last year, as well, and that too has put America at a loss. In Egypt, the President hesitated when the people called for Hosni Mubarak's ouster, but wound up supporting his overthrow in the end. Now, though, the Muslim Brotherhood is within inches of grasping power, the country's peace treaty with Israel is being questioned, and pro-democracy American workers there are facing criminal trial. In Libya, the President was forced into action by European allies, withdrew as quickly as possible, and the country is seeing increased instability as its militias are being accused of war crimes. None of the above is in America's interests.

In each instance, the Obama Administration was caught leading from behind, uncertain of the role the United States should play or how to react, instead of taking clear, assertive action to defend U.S. interests. Unfortunately, the one area where the President does display clarity is where his political interests come into play. That, too, has left American interests worse for wear.

In Afghanistan, the President has insisted on a speedy withdrawal of U.S. forces while pursuing negotiations with the Taliban -- a veritable enemy that has launched lethal attacks against American troops. Neither tactic is a strategy for victory or for preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists. In the middle of this tinderbox, anti-American protests are flaring after the apparent burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The President issued an apology, yet the Taliban is calling for retaliation against the United States -- and that is the same Taliban which Vice President Joe Biden said "is not our enemy."

Iraq, too, has devolved into violence following the President's decision to withdraw U.S. troops. It has been just over two months since the last U.S. forces left Iraq, and in that time the country has witnessed ongoing insurgent attacks, a mushrooming political crisis, and the threat of a civil war which will aid neighboring Iran.

As these international threats simmer to a boil, the President is undercutting America's ability to defend its interests at home and abroad. Under Obama's new budget, the military faces nearly half a trillion dollars in cuts, on top of $400 billion the President has already slashed. That does not include the half trillion in funding that will have to be cut under the debt limit agreement Congress reached last summer. Vital defense programs have been killed, next generation weapons will be delayed or eliminated, and troops will be reduced. And it's all being done in the name of freeing up funding to pay for the President's domestic agenda.

In the course of three years, President Obama has pursued a foreign policy that has left America less secure today and even more at risk tomorrow. A nuclear Iran, a failed Afghanistan and Iraq, an unfriendly Egypt, an Israel at risk, and an underfunded military are all serious concerns for the American people. Rather than continue pursuing the ill-advised Obama Doctrine, it is time for the President to put defending America first and appeasing our enemies last. That is a doctrine the American people can depend on.
Subject: Hidden camera in MN voting---This should make you furious!!

Absolutely Incredible!!!! Our votes today are worthless and they used to be the backbone of our American system! Who allowed this system to collapse? Why isn't proof of residency and photo ID's mandatory in order to a) register to vote and b) to actually cast a ballot, respectively??? What possible arguments can you raise to dispute this? Unless  you want to commit voter fraud!!!     

Hidden camera in MN voting

This sickens me...It needs to hit national TV somehow! "<> #!
6)More On Obama’s Algae ‘Energy’ Nonsense

Obama thinks pond scum is a good bio-fuel for our military jets.

Obama’s plan to use algae as an energy resource is more advanced than we knew last week.

In his speech at the University of Miami last week, Obama told his fawning audience: “If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing alright. Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America.”

He wants algae to fuel our jets.

The Department of Energy is spending $85 million on 30 different projects to “develop algal biofuels.”

The Department of Defense is investing $500 million to develop algae based biofuels for the Navy. The company developing the algae jet fuel is Solazyme, run by T.J. Glauthier, an Obama transition team member who was heavily involved in crafting the energy portion of the 2009 stimulus package. Isn’t that special?

An MIT study found that the price of algae as jet fuel would be twice as high as the cost of traditional jet fuel. And a study from the University of Virginia discovered that production of algae-fuel requires more water and more petroleum based energy than other biofuels.

In short, Obama’s latest nonsense is just designed to provide jobs for his green cronies and to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on more failed experiments with alternative energy resources.
7)US and Israel update Iran intelligence for Obama-Netanyahu summit

How real is this scenario?

The media duel over Iran between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government went up a notch Tuesday, Feb. 28 with an Associated Press report by Kimberly Dozier asserting that Israel had decided finally that if an attack on Iran was judged necessary, the US would be kept in the dark “so as not to be held responsible for failing to stop a potential Israeli attack.”

Referring to this claim, military and intelligence sources note Washington would hardly need a heads-up from Israel because it commands every possible resource for finding out for itself what Israel is up to and for determining if its actions are for real or red herrings.

Indeed, last Sunday, Feb. 19, Washington’s suspicions were aroused by an Israeli military spokesman’s bulletin on the stationing of an Iron Dome anti-missile battery in the Tel Aviv district. Israel was asked for clarifications. To avoid appearing to have buckled down under US pressure, Israel waited four days before announcing a change of plan and the deployment instead of three batteries in Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod, towns which are in line for missile attacks from Gaza rather than Iran.

US and Israeli sources stress that if the country were indeed headed for war, it would not be possible to conceal every sign of preparation, especially such civil defense measures as building up stocks of medicines, fuel and food, or orders to local authorities to make bomb shelters ready.
Whenever Israel is suspected of switching over to eve-of-war mode, the Obama administration sends high officials over to talk to Israelis and find out what is going on. Indeed Western intelligence sources have taken to using the frequency of those visits as a barometer for judging the seriousness of an approaching Israeli attack on Iran.

Last week, the US President’s National Security Adviser Tom Donilon spent time in Israel after Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. He left Tuesday, Feb. 21, followed two days later by National Intelligence Director James Clapper. Sunday, Feb. 26, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak flew to Washington. March 5, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrives at the White House for his date with President Barack Obama.

Most of these US-Israeli discussions have been devoted to laying the ground for this summit by a joint reevaluation of US and Israeli intelligence on Iran’s nuclear progress, whose conclusions will be put before the two leaders.

Both governments are meanwhile setting the scene for the event with tendentious media leaks, often drawing on outdated, long-refuted materials.

One of the least plausible items was run by AP Tuesday, claiming, “US intelligence and special operations officials have tried to keep a dialogue going with Israel, despite the high-level impasse, sharing with them options such as allowing Israel to use US bases in the region from which to launch such a strike as a way to make sure the Israelis give the Americans a heads-up.”
The basic facts emerging from the hot air surrounding the issue are that the Obama administration is dead set against any Israeli military action against Iran and that it remains an active option. The president and his advisers are working overtime to prevent it happening. The last thing on Washington’s mind therefore would be to support an attack by making US bases available merely for the sake of a heads-up. And another point: if Israel feels the need to absolve the US of responsibility, why would it use US bases?

The presence of US intelligence and special operations and intelligence officials at Israel military facilities is not news; this level of military cooperation goes back years.

Tehran draws its own conclusions from the pace of US official visits to Israel and the ding dong between the two governments over an attack on its nuclear sites. This week, Iranian Defense minister classified the dispute as “a war game” and a deliberate game of deception. Of late, whenever top White House officials touch down in Israel in unusual numbers, Tehran announces yet another “large-scale military maneuver.”