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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Daily News: January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Exclusive: Sarah Palin on 'Hannity'

Former Alaska governor gives her first interview since Arizona shooting

Debt Ceiling Misconceptions

There's still time for debate and negotiation

Imam Shakeup at the Ground Zero Mosque

There has been a shakeup at the Cordoba Initiative/Park 51, the group behind the projected Islamic supremacist mega-mosque at Ground Zero. The deceitful pro-sharia Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan are out, and an imam from Washington, D.C., Abdullah Adhami, is in.

What does this mean? First, it means that we won. We are declaring victory. It seems clear that Rauf had to go because he had become a liability to the taqiyya project of the Ground Zero mosque. And that is because of the light we shed on his true beliefs and allegiances. Rauf snagged more than $2 million in public financing to renovate low-income apartments he owns in New Jersey. He took the money and never made the repairs, forcing good people to live with vermin and dilapidation. Slumlord Rauf is also a prominent member of the  Perdana organization, a leading funder of the flotilla launched against Israel by the genocidal Islamic terror group, IHH. He has made extreme statements like "the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims."

The Daily News: January 17, 2011

Starbucks super-sizes iced beverages with ‘Trenta’ cup

Yes!! - Reggie

Coffee addicts have a new reason to celebrate—Starbucks announced Sunday it will begin offering a new menu item: the 31-ounce Trenta cup.

The new size is seven ounces larger than the current Venti and will be used exclusively for iced coffee, iced tea and lemonade beverages, the company said in a press release.

For a lucky few, Tuesday is the day to supersize your favorite coffee treat.

Arizona, Texas, Florida and 14 other states will roll out the new size on January 18, followed by California on Feb. 1.

The rest of the country will have to wait until May 3, when all of the coffee shops in the US will begin serving the Trenta.

Starbucks Corp has unveiled a variety of changes over the past several months as they step up competition with their newest rival, McDonald’s McCafe.

Facebook Apps Allowing Access to Numbers, Addresses

This is one of the reasons I do not, and will not ever, have a Facebook page. If you put your life on display for the world to see, there is nothing the world won't be able to see, eventually. - Reggie

Facebook recently announced that it is making user phone numbers and addresses available to developers, a move that a security expert said "could herald a new level of danger" for Facebook members.

Facebook isn't just releasing this information into the wild; it's adding it to the company's "User Graph object," or the permissions required to install an app.

"Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions," Facebook wrote in a blog post. "These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs."

Facebook said the permissions only provide access to a user's address and mobile phone number, not their friend's addresses or mobile phone numbers.

Media Myth Busted: 'Americans View Palin as More Sincere and Believable After Watching Speech'

Media outlet after media outlet panned Sarah Palin's video response to last Saturday's Tucson shootings with some going so far as claiming it ended any chance she might have of becoming president assuming that's even her goal.

Destroying this myth was a new poll published by Media Curves that actually found Americans seeing the former Alaska governor as more likeable, sincere, and believable after watching her speech:

Respondents were asked to rate Sarah Palin on a scale from 1-7 regarding likeability, believability and sincerity, with 1 representing “not at all strong in this attribute” and 7 representing “extremely strong in this attribute.”

With the exception of likeability among Democrats, Palin’s attribute ratings increased among all parties after viewing her speech. The most notable increase was her sincerity ratings, which increased from 2.62 to 2.69 among Democrats, from 5.25 to 5.45 among Republicans and from 3.68 to 3.85 among Independents.

Peters, Stelter Offer Dishonest Attempt to Deflect Blame from NY Times, Other Major Media

You knew it was coming ever since Wednesday when the left-wing narrative began falling apart. Sure enough, yesterday Jeremy Peters and Brian Stelter offered a defense of the media in general and their own employers in particular. They begin by breaking out a few choice weasel words to set the stage:
While there was plenty of debate in newspapers, and on radio and television about the effects of a toxic politic environment, most of the direct accusations against conservative talk radio and pundits were leveled by people online, not members of the mainstream media.
The authors have just made their job much easier with the inclusion of one adjective, direct. Because, as conservatives have been noting since last Saturday, most of the damage was done by insinuation and repetition, not by direct accusation. That said, the authors recitation of facts leaves a lot to be desired:
Keith Olbermann…used the opportunity to recall his own use of a violent image when describing the candidacy of then-Senator Hillary Clinton: “It sounded as if it was a call to physical violence. It was wrong then. It is even more wrong tonight. I apologize for it again, and I urge politicians and commentators and citizens of every political conviction to use my comment as a means to recognize the insidiousness of violent imagery.”
Remember, they’ve just claimed that the media did not accuse Republicans, but if you follow the link they’ll provide, you’ll see that Olbermann also said this in the same “special comment”:

Frances Fox Piven: The Tea Party Is All About Sex

This poor woman is desperate to make Americans believe she and her Progressive friends have all the answers. She is delusional. Please, take a minute and read the post on Hot Air about this by Ed Morrissey. - Reggie

The Long, Withdrawing Roar

Christianity on the retreat in the Middle East.

A few years ago I was in the West Bank with a Christian missionary who worked among Jews and Muslims. The Jewish converts came to his home for Sunday services that were held in both English and Hebrew. But to gather with Arab converts he had to meet them secretly on the outskirts of their town lest his mere presence put their lives in jeopardy.

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“My brother became a Christian at the same time as I did,” one Palestinian told me. “But neither of us knew of the other’s conversion for many years. It would have been too dangerous, until the missionary was certain of our conviction.”

We were sitting in a clearing in the brush that was one of the converts’ meeting places. I imagined that Jesus and his disciples must have prayed in places like this, maybe even here. An Israeli Defense Forces patrol passing on the nearby road stopped to see what was going on. The missionary explained to the officer in charge, who nodded and went on his way.

“My brother and I converted because we knew we needed love in our lives,” the Palestinian continued. “I think that Jesus is going to bless the Palestinian people by spreading his gospel of love here.”

Perhaps someday, but for now the Christians of the Middle East are facing danger. Both recent converts and ancient congregations—the Assyrians in Iraq, the Copts in Egypt, Lebanon’s Maronite Catholics, and more, long antedating Islam—are under fire. The land where Christianity began is being cleansed of Jesus’ followers. It is possible that we will soon see an event without precedent: the end of a living Christian witness in this region after more than 2,000 years.

So why now? And how did Christians manage to thrive here in the past?

“We survived, but not the way we wanted to,” says Habib Efram, president of the Syriac League of Lebanon, which represents some 60,000 Syriac Christians. Efram often visits the much larger Syriac Christian community in Iraq, which is under siege. “Some were forced to leave the country, and there have been massacres,” Efram tells me on the phone from Beirut.

“The Christians have always been under attack,” explains Lebanese political analyst Elie Fawaz. “Our numbers used to be much higher throughout the Middle East. We were here centuries before the Muslims, so there used to be many more Christians, until the raids and conversions to Islam.”

In Mt. Lebanon, the country’s Christian heartland, there’s a valley called Wadi Qadisha where the Maronites held off the Mamluk sultans in the 13th century. It was partly geography that ensured the survival of Lebanon’s Christian community. The Mediterranean coast provided access to European powers—the Vatican and France—that have long seen themselves as the protectors of Lebanon’s Christians; and the high mountain passes afforded a vantage point that turned hostile incursions into suicide missions as the Christians picked off intruders one by one. It is no coincidence that Hezbollah has bought and expropriated property in Lebanon’s mountains. There the party can survey not only its Israeli enemy, but its local Christian foes as well, whom Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies have targeted in a series of assassinations over the last six years.

“The Maronites are politicized,” says Fawaz. “You cannot compare them to Iraqi Christians.” That is, Lebanon’s Christians are under attack from rivals who wish to take their power, while Iraq’s and Egypt’s besieged Christian sects are powerless to defend themselves against superior numbers, and no one is willing or able to protect them.

Even rhetorical defenses of the Christians are cautious. Pope Benedict, like popes before him, chooses his words carefully when addressing the situation of Middle Eastern Christians, lest they be made to pay for perceived slights. Arab nationalists and Sunni Islamists assume that any discussion of regional minorities—whether Christians, Jews, or even Shia—by outsiders is coded language for a project to colonize the Middle East on behalf of the great powers. To be sure, the French did come to the aid of the Maronites in Lebanon in 1860 to end the war between them, the Druze, and their Ottoman overlords. And after the First World War, France held the mandate for Lebanon and rewarded what was then a Christian majority with a constitution that gave most of the power to the Maronites.

America is Closer to the Dream

On the day Martin Luther King, Jr. gave this speech America was far, far away from fulfilling his dream. We have made huge strides since that day and are almost there. Today we celebrate his life and legacy. - Reggie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Congress that reasserts its power

Sunday, January 16, 2011 

Unlike most of the 111 that preceded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the national regime and civic culture the Founders bequeathed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism.

Many congressional Republicans, and surely some Democrats with institutional pride, think Congress is being derogated and marginalized by two developments. One is the apotheosis of the presidency as the mainspring of the government and the custodian of the nation's soul. The second is the growing autonomy of the regulatory state, an apparatus responsive to presidents.

The eclipse of Congress by the executive branch and other agencies is Congress's fault. It is the result of lazy legislating and lax oversight. Too many "laws" actually are little more than pious sentiments endorsing social goals - environmental, educational, etc. - the meanings of which are later defined by executive-branch rule-making. In creating faux laws, the national legislature often creates legislators in the executive branch, making a mockery of the separation of powers. And Congress makes a mockery of itself when the Federal Register, a compilation of the regulatory state's activities, is a more important guide to governance than the Congressional Record.

Unfortunately, courts long ago made clear that they will not seriously inhibit Congress's scandalous delegation of its lawmaking function to others. So Congress should stop whining about the actions of the EPA (emissions controls), the FCC ("net neutrality"), the Interior Department (reclassifications of public lands) and other agencies and should start rereading Shakespeare: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Read the full article

New Ron Reagan book: My dad had Alzheimer’s while in office

Reagan’s doctors and Alzheimer’s specialists have been debunking this myth for years, but no matter how many times they try to explain that occasional memory lapses in an elderly person do not an Alzheimer’s diagnosis make, the narrative rolls on. And it’ll keep rolling, thanks to Ron Jr and the explosive never-before-revealed details in his new book which, per Paul Bedard of U.S. News, … seem not to add up.
Besides playing amateur doctor, Ron Reagan reveals, if true, brain surgery on his dad never before reported. He accurately reports that Reagan, after leaving the presidency, was bucked from a horse on July 4, 1989, while in Mexico. Ron tells of how his dad, after initially refusing medical help, was transported to a San Diego hospital. “Surgeons opening his skull to relieve pressure on the brain emerged from the operating room with the news that they had detected what they took to be probable signs of Alzheimer’s disease.” Several Reagan associates, however, say there was no surgery in San Diego.
What’s more there is no reporting about any San Diego operation on Reagan. News reports at the time of his fall say Reagan was flown to a hospital in Arizona, where he was treated for scrapes and bruises and released after five hours…
Ron Reagan doesn’t mention this, but says that Reagan visited the Mayo Clinic in 1990 for tests that “confirmed the initial suspicion of Alzheimer’s.” Reagan’s post-presidency history, documented in several archives like University of Texas, reveal no such visit. And Dr. John E. Hutton Jr. his doctor from 1984 through Reagan’s retirement, told the New York Times that Reagan didn’t show the tell-tale symptoms until 1993.

House panel wants Homeland Security documents

WASHINGTON – A House committee has asked the Homeland Security Department to provide documents about an agency policy that required political appointees to review many Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a letter obtained Sunday by The Associated Press.

The letter to Homeland Security was sent late Friday by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It represents an early move by House Republicans who have vowed to launch numerous probes of President Barack Obama's administration, ranging from its implementation of the new health care law to rules curbing air pollution to spending in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Associated Press reported in July that for at least a year, Homeland Security had sidetracked hundreds of requests for federal records to top political advisers to the department's secretary, Janet Napolitano. The political appointees wanted information about those requesting the materials, and in some cases the release of documents considered politically sensitive was delayed, according to numerous e-mails that were obtained by the AP.

Chinese President Questions the Future of the Dollar

BEIJING—Chinese President Hu Jintao emphasized the need for cooperation with the U.S. in areas from new energy to space ahead of his visit to Washington this week, but he called the present U.S. dollar-dominated currency system a "product of the past" and highlighted moves to turn the yuan into a global currency.

"We both stand to gain from a sound China-U.S. relationship, and lose from confrontation," Mr. Hu said in written answers to questions from The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Mr. Hu acknowledged "some differences and sensitive issues between us," but his tone was generally compromising, and he avoided specific mention of some of the controversial issues that have dogged relations with the U.S. over the past year or so—including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan that led to a freeze in military relations between the world's sole superpower and its rising Asian rival.

On the economic front, Mr. Hu played down one of the main U.S. arguments for why China should appreciate its currency—that it will help China tame inflation. That is likely to disappoint Washington, which accuses China of unfairly boosting its exports by undervaluing the yuan, making its products cheaper overseas. The topic is expected to be high on U.S. President Barack Obama's agenda when he meets Mr. Hu at the White House on Wednesday.

Movie Review: ‘The King’s Speech’

I do not recall ever posting a movie review on this blog before but after reading this one I decided it is worth posting. The King's Speech is about King George VI, the father of the current British Queen, Elizabeth II. It is not only the story of the King of England but is also a tale of recent history. - Reggie

Robert Frost defined poetry as “a lump in the throat; a homesickness or a love-sickness . . . where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words.”

Just as a poem can express an emotion or describe a relationship through a single snapshot, sometimes a person’s character can be summed up in a single experience. For King George VI (“Bertie,” as he was called by his family) that experience occurred in his determined effort to overcome a pronounced lifelong stammer. The King’s Speech is a wonderfully witty, brilliantly acted, and emotionally satisfying film that tells of the singular moment when an unorthodox speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) helped the king (Colin Firth) find his voice, at a time when England — and the free world — desperately needed it.

One of the unexpected pleasures of this film is the opportunity to see members of the royal family in their living rooms, so to speak, when they were young and not expecting to become kings or queens. A rumble of recognition is heard in the theater, for example, as viewers realize with a start that Helena Bonham Carter’s character is the young Queen Mum, already demonstrating her twinkling smile and munching on the marshmallows that would eventually lead to her familiar round torso. “That’s Queen Elizabeth!” at least one viewer gasped as the young princess, Elizabeth (Freya Wilson) is seen romping in pink pajamas with her little sister Margaret (Ramona Marquez) as they listen eagerly to a bedtime story told by their father, the man who did not expect to be king.

It is also unexpectedly intimate to see the debonair playboy Prince of Wales cum King Edward VIII cum Duke of Windsor (Guy Pearce) bursting into tears and sobbing on the shoulder of his mother, Queen Mary (Claire Bloom), at the death of his father George V (Michael Gambon) — sobbing not because his father has died but because of what it will mean to his relationship with the twice (and still) married Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). He would remain king for less than a year, not even enough time for his official coronation, induced to abdicate because of the relationship with Mrs. Simpson and because of his general incompetence.

As the film opens, Bertie, the timid younger son of a domineering father, attempts to stammer his way through a radio speech under the disapproving eye of King George V, whose Christmas radio speeches were as important to his people’s sense of good will as Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats became in America. The film suggests that George V’s raging disapproval and faultfinding may have contributed to Bertie’s stammer.

Sitting behind him and stoically willing him to succeed, his wife Elizabeth (Bonham Carter) exudes tender disappointment when he fails. She is not embarrassed by him; she hurts for him. Several royal doctors try to cure Bertie of his awkward and unregal stammer, but to no avail. In one particularly ironic scene, a doctor urges him to smoke cigarettes frequently because it will “relax” his vocal cords. (Sadly, George VI would die of lung cancer and arteriosclerosis at the age of 56.) Eventually Elizabeth finds an unconventional therapist, Lionel Logue (Rush), who changes Bertie’s life by restoring his voice, and by becoming his lifelong friend.

The film is a delightful mixture of royal protocol and unexpected earthiness. Logue refuses to treat the Duke of York any differently from the way in which he treats his other clients, even insisting that they use first names. Their banter is droll and often hilarious. When Myrtle Logue (Jennifer Ehle), who is unaware of her husband’s famous client, comes home a bit early to find the king and queen of England standing in her parlor, she asks querulously, “Will their Majesties be staying for dinner?” Elizabeth, knowing it would be inappropriate for them to stay, responds charmingly, “We would love to. Such a treat! But alas . . . a previous engagement. What a pity.” No wonder everyone loved the Queen Mum!

Why the Left Lost It

The accusation that the tea parties were linked to the Tucson murders is the product of calculation and genuine belief.

There has been a great effort this week to come to grips with the American left's reaction to the Tucson shooting. Paul Krugman of the New York Times and its editorial page, George Packer of the New Yorker, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek and others, in varying degrees, have linked the murders to the intensity of opposition to the policies and presidency of Barack Obama. As Mr. Krugman asked in his Monday commentary: "Were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?"

The "you" would be his audience, and the answer is yes, they thought that in these times "something like this" could happen in the United States. Other media commentators, without a microbe of conservatism in their bloodstreams, have rejected this suggestion.

So what was the point? Why attempt the gymnastic logic of asserting that the act of a deranged personality was linked to the tea parties and the American right? Two reasons: Political calculation and personal belief.

The calculation flows from the shock of the midterm elections of November 2010. That was no ordinary election. What voters did has the potential to change the content and direction of the U.S. political system, possibly for a generation.

Only 24 months after Barack Obama's own historic election and a rising Democratic tide, the country flipped. Not just control of the U.S. House, but deep in the body politic. Republicans now control more state legislative seats than any time since 1928.

Tucson Tea Party Leader Threatened At ABC Taping, Audience Member Screams: ‘Trent Humphries You’re Dead!’

Tucson tea party leader Trent Humphries was threatened today during an interview with ABC.

While Trent was speaking at the event, an audience member screamed, “Trent Humphries, you’re dead!

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Tucson Tea Party leader Trent Humphries. (New Leader)

ABC News held a town hall event today in Tucson, Arizona. Local officials, friends and heroes were at the event. News anchor Christiane Amanpour was the host. The segment will air tomorrow. ABC gathered members from the Tucson community to discuss the tragic shooting last Saturday that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and left 6 people dead.

State Representative Terri Proud was at the event sitting between Trent and the violent audience member. Terri was there to speak about the local gun laws. She described the scene to me just minutes ago:
Trent Humphries, the Pima County tea party leader, stood up to speak during the event. He was being very respectful. Trent told the audience that before we start placing blame on individuals we need to get all the facts. Trent then told everyone that one of those killed during the shooting was his neighbor and that he was affected like everyone else by the tragedy… While Trent was speaking- And it was planned that he would speak- One member in the audience and reportedly one of the victims of the tragedy started screaming, “Trent Humphries you’re dead!” The police immediately escorted him out. On his way out he screamed, “You’re all whores.”
The ABC producer said he was not sure if they will show incident tomorrow, or not.

A Comparison of Memorial Services

I have hesitated to comment on the recent Tucson Memorial Service and will not do so now. Instead of giving my thoughts or opinions I am posting videos of three memorial services.

First up is President Ronald Reagan at the Challenger Memorial Service from January 31st, 1986. Next is President George W. Bush speaking at the Virginia Tech Memorial Service on April 17th, 2007. Third is the video of President Barack Obama at the Tucson Memorial Service on January 12th, 2011.

Is there a difference? Like FOX News, I report. You decide.

To see President Reagan's most famous remarks concerning the Challenger disaster, click here. - Reggie

Clarice's Pieces: Another Memo from Leni Riefenstahl

To: Barack Obama und Frau Obama

Subject: Politische Kundgebung getarnt als eine Gedenkfeier (Political rally masquerading as a memorial service)

It's been two years since I last wrote. Then it was about the Invesco Field Rally in Denver. Now it's about that rally in Tucson. If you don't mind a few harsh words from someone seasoned in such things, no matter that you tried hard, the tragic incident in Tucson was no Reichstag Fire, and while you made as much of it as you could, you need to hone your shtick a bit better in future. I keep writing to you out of admiration for your political inclinations and skills, of course.

I want only for you to succeed, and I hope you take my words to heart.

Here is what was good and what was not so good about this -- in short form because I know how busy you are with golf and vacations and wrecking the American economy for decades to come.

1. You did need a distraction

Every leader has to know how to distract public attention from shortcomings, and on this you succeeded nicely. Your party got (excuse the expression) slaughtered at the polls in November; you lost the House, and your control of the Senate is shaky. Oil is reaching $100 a barrel, jobless claims are jumping, consumer confidence is down, foreclosures are increasing, wholesale food prices are soaring, the USA's AAA credit rating is in jeopardy, the public is catching on that the taxpayers are unlikely to recoup on the GM bailout, and one half of the states are suing to have ObamaCare, your signature legislation, declared unconstitutional.

And I'm not even getting into the international mess like the fall of the Lebanese government at the hands of the Iranian and Syrian-led Hezb'allah.

Yes, you needed a distraction. And yes, the TV producers and press were dying for stuff that they didn't have to work at to fill space, so you were right to look for a distraction. And boy, did they fall in line, filling the airwaves and papers with almost nothing else for days.

2. You overplayed your hand, though

The murder of six people, including a photogenic child and a well-regarded judge, and the serious wounding of an attractive and popular congresswoman of your party, among others, certainly deserved your attention. But that attention should have been more low-key. It should have been like what Reagan did for the Challenger accident (a beautifully crafted TV message) or what Bush did at Virginia Tech (a sober six-minute speech one day after the incident).

But what did you do? You played this as if it were a major national tragedy, which it was definitely not. It could not have been a day after the shootings that your staff got to work, obviously thinking this was going to be the kickoff for what promises to be a rough reelection fight. Borrowing a slogan which appeared on your 2008 campaign website, Organizing for America, you had 10,000 tee shirts printed with the slogan and logo "Together we Thrive" on them. I have to admit I like the subtle codewords for "shut up, opponents," but tee shirts at what you billed as a memorial rally? You really have to pay more attention to propriety when you are making an appeal to  the Republic of Nice, that part of the American population that wallows in maudlin sentiment and prattles on about "letting the healing begin," "closure," and "dialogue."

3. You dithered too long before speaking

Why Chinese-controlled Hong Kong beats the United States on economic freedom

Earlier this week the Heritage Foundation, along with the Wall Street Journal, released its 17th annual economic freedom index. Hong Kong, once again, ranked number one. The United States, however, slid down to number nine. So what’s Hong Kong doing right?

According to Anthony Kim, a policy analyst at the Center for International Trade and Economics at Heritage, the difference between the U.S. and Hong Kong lies in tax rates, spending, free trade, and regulatory burdens.

The late economist Milton Friedman supposedly once described Hong Kong as the world’s greatest experiment in laissez-faire capitalism. The city state, technically a special administration region of China, has the sixth-largest stock exchange in the world, has almost no public debt, and has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that grows just about every year.

That’s a far cry from the U.S. economy today.

US defence cuts are not about saving money – they are about changing America’s strategic role

The US spends more on its military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined (Data sources: SIPRI and IISS)
US military spending compared with other nations (Data sources: SIPRI and IISS)

President Barack Obama has made it very clear that he is not in the least interested in getting American government spending under control. A month ago he urged Congress to pass a $1.2 trillion spending bill larded with tens of billions of dollars for projects for Democratic Party core constituencies. Luckily, Senate Republicans found enough backbone to stop Obama’s latest binge spending programme as Mr Obama criticized the Republicans for their rare exercise of spending discipline.

Now we have a new budget proposal by the President. He wants $78 billion in cuts in US military spending, with large cuts to current troop strength – 27,000 men for the Army and as many as 20,000 for the US Marine Corps. These cuts, along with the cuts Mr Obama has already made to the US Navy and Air Force – cuts in aircraft and ship strength – mean significantly less military capability for the United States and the Western world.

Mr Obama is framing the argument for cutting defence capability as part of the overall need to control US government spending. Given his insatiable appetite for social welfare spending and his recent attempt to throw billions to the Democratic Party’s loyalists, his new-found concern for fiscal discipline comes across as blatantly dishonest.

The Election of 1800

Yes, America, it is time to return to the civility of our Founding Fathers and the peaceful political rhetoric that always existed until our generation. It must be done or the Republic is lost! - Reggie

Israel Tests on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay

This article is by William J. Broad, John Markoff and David E. Sanger.

The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where neat rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal.

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.

In recent days, the retiring chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton separately announced that they believed Iran’s efforts had been set back by several years. Mrs. Clinton cited American-led sanctions, which have hurt Iran’s ability to buy components and do business around the world.

The gruff Mr. Dagan, whose organization has been accused by Iran of being behind the deaths of several Iranian scientists, told the Israeli Knesset in recent days that Iran had run into technological difficulties that could delay a bomb until 2015. That represented a sharp reversal from Israel’s long-held argument that Iran was on the cusp of success.

The biggest single factor in putting time on the nuclear clock appears to be Stuxnet, the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever deployed.

In interviews over the past three months in the United States and Europe, experts who have picked apart the computer worm describe it as far more complex — and ingenious — than anything they had imagined when it began circulating around the world, unexplained, in mid-2009.

Many mysteries remain, chief among them, exactly who constructed a computer worm that appears to have several authors on several continents. But the digital trail is littered with intriguing bits of evidence.

In early 2008 the German company Siemens cooperated with one of the United States’ premier national laboratories, in Idaho, to identify the vulnerabilities of computer controllers that the company sells to operate industrial machinery around the world — and that American intelligence agencies have identified as key equipment in Iran’s enrichment facilities.

Seimens says that program was part of routine efforts to secure its products against cyberattacks. Nonetheless, it gave the Idaho National Laboratory — which is part of the Energy Department, responsible for America’s nuclear arms — the chance to identify well-hidden holes in the Siemens systems that were exploited the next year by Stuxnet.

The worm itself now appears to have included two major components. One was designed to send Iran’s nuclear centrifuges spinning wildly out of control. Another seems right out of the movies: The computer program also secretly recorded what normal operations at the nuclear plant looked like, then played those readings back to plant operators, like a pre-recorded security tape in a bank heist, so that it would appear that everything was operating normally while the centrifuges were actually tearing themselves apart.

The attacks were not fully successful: Some parts of Iran’s operations ground to a halt, while others survived, according to the reports of international nuclear inspectors. Nor is it clear the attacks are over: Some experts who have examined the code believe it contains the seeds for yet more versions and assaults.

“It’s like a playbook,” said Ralph Langner, an independent computer security expert in Hamburg, Germany, who was among the first to decode Stuxnet. “Anyone who looks at it carefully can build something like it.” Mr. Langner is among the experts who expressed fear that the attack had legitimized a new form of industrial warfare, one to which the United States is also highly vulnerable.

Officially, neither American nor Israeli officials will even utter the name of the malicious computer program, much less describe any role in designing it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Democrat Diversion Strategy Succeeds Again

The Democrats and the left have once again succeeded in their most well-worn, time-tested, and effective tactic: diversion. For the past six days, the country has been watching the spectacle of the Republicans and those on the right defending themselves from absurd and trumped up accusations.

This strategy has been so successful over the years that the left and their allies in the media are now greatly emboldened. They will literally create any accusation out of whole cloth in the assumption that the Republicans in Congress and on the national stage, as they have in the past, will cower in a corner and pledge their undying fealty to "civility." Once the Republicans have done so, the Democrats and their allies have the upper hand.

While this circus has been on the front pages, the need for this diversion is self-evident. The news and future prospects for the country and the world economy continue to worsen.

Global food prices have reached a nominal all-time high, surpassing the previous peak seen in 2007-08, when food riots rocked the poorer countries of the world. The consensus is that due to weather, demand, and smaller inventories, the prices of the basic food commodities will surge even further. The cost of a barrel of Brent crude oil is approaching $100.00, and some estimates indicate that it may hit as much as $120.00. All the future prices of metals and other commodities vital to manufacturing are also nearing or exceeding all-time highs.

Weekly Republican Address

Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

FOX Shoots Man

After reading the following story I am sure you will all agree that this shooting was somehow the fault of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and all conservatives. It can't possibly be a coincidence that this horrible deed was carried out by a FOX.

- Michael

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday.

The unnamed hunter, who had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance, was in hospital with a leg wound, while the fox made its escape, media said, citing prosecutors from the Grodno region.

"The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw," one prosecutor was quoted as saying.

Fox-hunting is popular in the picturesque farming region of northwestern Belarus which borders Poland.

(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Matthew Jones)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blame Righty: A condensed history

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 14, 2011 08:54 AM 

Image via Zazzle

On Monday, as the progressive smear machine worked overtime to pin the horrific Tucson massacre on conservatives and to squelch political opposition by targeting Tea Party/limited-government rhetoric, I published “The progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated primer, 2000-2010.”

Today’s column provides another primer for the amnesia-wracked blamestream media on just how widespread the Blame Righty meme has been over the past two years. Regular readers of this blog are well aware of this expanding litany outlined below. You are also well aware of the cunning ability of the Left to hinder exposure of this sordid history by accusing its chroniclers and whistle-blowers of “playing the victim.” Sarah Palin is the most prominent conservative to encounter this tactic, but she is by no means the first conservative public figure to experience it. Kabuki outrage over her use of the term “blood libel” is an intended distraction from the history outlined below that undergirds her message. The political speech suppressors have honed their craft long and well.

The solution isn’t to “tone it down” and turn the other cheek, but to confront them forcefully with the facts — and to fight back unapologetically against insidious efforts to diminish the law-abiding, constitutionally-protected, peaceful, vigorous political speech and activism of the Right in the name of repressive “civility.”


Blame Righty: A condensed history
by Michelle Malkin
Copyright 2010

Comprehensive List of Tax Hikes in Obamacare

Health care law contains over twenty new or higher taxes

WASHINGTON, DC— Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on an historic repeal of the Obamacare law. While there are many reasons to oppose this flawed government health insurance law, it is important to remember that Obamacare is also one of the largest tax increases in American history. Below is a comprehensive list of the two dozen new or higher taxes that pay for Obamcare’s expansion of government spending and interference between doctors and patients.

Individual Mandate Excise Tax (Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following:

                                1 Adult                       2 Adults                         3+ Adults
         2014           1% AGI/$95             1% AGI/$190               1% AGI/$285
         2015           2% AGI/$325          2% AGI/$650               2% AGI/$975
         2016 +       2.5% AGI/$695       2.5% AGI/$1390        2.5% AGI/$2085

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS)

Employer Mandate Tax (Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. This provision applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

The Daily News: January 14, 2011

Sarah Palin Is Right About 'Blood Libel'

by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

The term "blood libel"—which Sarah Palin invoked this week to describe the suggestions by journalists and politicians that conservative figures like herself are responsible for last weekend's shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz.—is fraught with perilous meaning in Jewish history.

The term connotes the earliest accusations that Jews killed Jesus and enthusiastically embraced responsibility for his murder, telling Pontius Pilate, "His blood be upon us and our children" (Matthew 27:25). Thus was born the legend of Jewish bloodlust and of Hebrew ritual use of Christian blood for sacramental purposes. The term was later used more specifically to describe accusations against Jews—primarily in Europe—of sacrificing kidnapped Christian children to use their blood in the baking of Passover matzos.

The Benedictine monk Thomas of Monmouth is generally credited with having popularized the blood libel in his "Life of the Martyr William from Norwich," written in 1173 about a young boy who was found stabbed to death. Thomas quoted a servant woman who said she witnessed Jews lacerating the boy's head with thorns, crucifying him, and piercing his side. While William was canonized, the Jews of Norwich fared less well. On Feb. 6, 1190, they were all found slaughtered in their homes, save those who escaped to the local tower and committed mass suicide.

Despite the strong association of the term with collective Jewish guilt and concomitant slaughter, Sarah Palin has every right to use it. The expression may be used whenever an amorphous mass is collectively accused of being murderers or accessories to murder.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Speaker Boehner's Remarks on Resolution Condemning the Attack in Tucson, AZ

Massacre, Followed by Libel

Charles Krauthammer
The charge: The Tucson massacre is a consequence of the “climate of hate” created by Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Obamacare opponents, and sundry other liberal bĂȘtes noires.

The verdict: Rarely in American political discourse has there been a charge so reckless, so scurrilous, and so unsupported by evidence.

As killers go, Jared Loughner is not reticent. Yet among all his writings, postings, videos, and other ravings — and in all the testimony from people who knew him — there is not a single reference to any of these supposed accessories to murder.

New Jersey's Comeback

The Daily News: January 12, 2010

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength"

Sarah Palin releases a statement concerning the shootings in Arizona and the leftists blaming her for the carnage. - Reggie

And then there's this...

Death Threats Against Sarah Palin at 'Unprecedented Level,' Aides Say

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated primer, 2000-2010

The research and detail in this article are fantastic! However, consider this a content warning. Some of the things you will see the leftists do and say are graphic. This is not for children. - Reggie

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 10, 2011 03:19 AM

The Tucson massacre ghouls who are now trying to criminalize conservatism have forced our hand.

They need to be reminded. You need to be reminded.

Confront them. Don’t be cowed into silence.

And don’t let the media whitewash the sins of the hypocritical Left in their naked attempt to suppress the law-abiding, constitutionally-protected, peaceful, vigorous political speech of the Right.

They want to play tu quo que in the middle of a national tragedy? They asked for it. They got it.


The progressive climate of hate: A comprehensive illustrated primer in 8 parts:

V. LEFT-WING MOB HATE — campus, anti-war radicals, ACORN, eco-extremists, & unions
VIII. HATE: CRIMES — the ever-growing Unhinged Mugshot Collection

The Daily News: January 11, 2011

Rush Offers More Analysis of the Arizona Shootings

This video has been added by Republic Heritage YouTube Channel.