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The 2012 Vote

Former Navy SEAL Team Six Commander Heads Anti-Obama PAC

August 18th 2012

Barack Obama in Thought

On Wednesday, a group, Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, Inc., began airing political advertisements criticizing President Barack Obama's service as Commander in Chief. Now a former commander of Navy SEAL Team Six is leading a political action committee (PAC) with a simple mission: Defeat Barack Obama and his leaking White House. according to a press statement released on Thursday.

Ryan Zinke, a former commander of Navy SEAL Team Six, started a super PAC, Special Operations for America, which is dedicated to supporting Mitt Romney and slamming President Obama on leaks and on politicizing Bin Laden’s death. According to Mr. Zinke, these two super PACs are just the first salvo in what will be a sustained assault on the president by high-level ex-soldiers. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

Romney's Latin America Policy: Where's the Beef?

August 18th 2012

Romney and Ryan--Virginia Announcement

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has amassed a collection of headlines impugning his foreign policy credentials since his speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) convention and overseas trip. This publicity he has received all too characteristically crops Latin America from forecasts about what a Romney White House would mean for hemispheric policy issues. Still, as his sparse commentary on the region suggests, Latin America would not only remain out of frame, but out of focus should Romney secure the presidency.

In his lone reference to the region during the VFW address, Romney focused exclusively on ties between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Hezbollah. Such emphasis on terrorism in Latin America allowed Romney to incorporate the region into his broad global narrative: the world is “dangerous, destructive, chaotic” and it is America’s moral duty – no, its “destiny” – to safeguard freedom for all humanity. Though the escalating link between the South American cocaine trade and Middle Eastern terrorists marks a valid security concern, Romney has neglected the region’s geopolitical importance with those lean remarks. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

America Ready for Paul Ryan's Adult Conversation

August 17th 2012

Star Parker, CURE

There's a line of thinking on the political left that Mitt Romney served up a great softball in picking Paul Ryan as his running mate. According to Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, "Ryan brings to the Romney campaign the Tea Party's style of magical thinking, a blissfully simplistic, ideologically driven world view that seems to think candidates can win votes by promising to reduce popular government services."

Republican candidates, they say, are ducking for cover to avoid being branded with budget reforms that Ryan, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has proposed, particularly for Medicare and Medicaid.Vice President Joe Biden, eloquent as always, told a mostly black audience in Virginia that Republicans want to put "y'all back in chains."

Although Biden has taken flak for this nauseating remark, he should get credit for summing up how Democrats really think: that government running your life makes you free and that anyone who proposes freedom and choice wants to put "y'all back in chains."

Earlier this year, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, sent a report on the nation's budget to House Budget Committee chairman Ryan.

Here's what he said: "The explosive path of the federal debt that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects under what many observers would view as current policies underscores the need for policy changes to put the nation on a sustainable course.

"The aging of the population and rising costs for health care will push spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health-care programs considerably higher as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)." Elmendorf concludes that without major increases in revenues and/or substantial cuts in spending, "the resulting budget deficits will increase federal debt to unsupportable levels." Read more ..


Battle for Syria

Is Hillary Clueless or Cavalier? Neither Helps

August 17th 2012

Hilary Clinton

Last week in this space I wrote about Secretary of State Clinton's cavalier call for the people of Aleppo to rise up against the Assad regime.  When they did -- as when President Bush (41) called on the Shi'ites and Kurds of Iraq to rise up against Saddam in 1991 -- the U.S. declined to support the rebels, and the results were bloody.  It seemed that neither was aware of the impact the words of the government of the United States can have on people in distress.

The problem, actually, is different, as seen on Page 2 of the Style Section of The Washington Post (15 August).  It was just a little blurb in the "Names & Faces" column, noting that back in April, Secretary Clinton, "indulging in a bit of wishful thinking ... about the plight of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng," said, "You know, this is such a long flight, maybe they'll have the problem all worked out by the time we land.  Maybe all the problems everywhere will be worked out by the time we land."

The real problem is twofold -- first that the secretary of state of the United States begrudged the long flight that carried her to her duties and wished that those duties would be obviated by other people "working things out."  (Helpful hint to Mrs. Clinton: don't go everywhere; you didn't need more frequent flier miles than Madeleine Albright.)

Remember that in April, human rights activist Chen Guangcheng had been released from prison but was under house arrest and severe mental stress until he made a daring and dangerous escape from his residential prison to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.  The Embassy escorted him to a government-run hospital and accepted its dictate that American officials leave him there alone.  He spent several days isolated.  And she was complaining about the job of talking to his jailors. That's a small, nasty problem. Read more ..


Religion's Edge

If God Lived on Earth, People Would Break his Windows

August 17th 2012

Hareidi Violence

As is has been throughout history, when economic times become bleak, fingers start pointing toward the Jewish people.  It will often begin anonymously, first with outbreaks of anti Jewish "noise" and messaging in hurting communities, then the public rants by so-called scholars and community figures gain broader audiences; and it eventually gets mainstreamed into protected remarks and satirical comics in media offered as “legitimate” commentary; and then it moves up to public protests with public leaders leading the fight for imaginary justice from the evil Jews.

This is not meant as a scare, as there is no looming menace here in the United States; not to say that there are no troubles brewing in European regions that have high and growing Moslem populations.  Yet, the other day in a Cedarhurst commuter station of the LIRR, on a billboard that read “Jump Start Your Economy”, was the word “Jew” scrawled in graffiti.  Once again, it’s not major, and it is not as bad as seeing swastikas etched into synagogue doors, but we should be aware that there is an element that would associate the hurting economy with some sort of Jewish involvement. Read more ..


The Cyber Edge

President Obama May Bypass Lawmakers with Cybersecurity Executive Order

August 16th 2012

Data center computer corridor

Senate Republicans recently blocked cybersecurity legislation, but the issue might be revived by the White House, a federal law enforcement official said earlier this week. The Obama administration officials haven’t forgotten the power of an executive order signed by their boss that could be used to address cybersecurity if the Senate and House of Representatives fail to pass the requested bill.

The wide-reaching legislation, if it had passed, would have given government law enforcement and security agencies power to make decisions regarding the digital defense of critical infrastructure companies against cyber attacks. The Republican senators claimed they were uneasy about giving Washington even more power over the private sector.

“Many corporate security directors believe their own businesses are better able to protect themselves from cyber attacks. If the government wishes to assist, the Obama administration can offer grant money to upgrade cybersecurity programs,” said Thomas Whelan, a former corporate security director now a business consultant during a telephone interview. Read more ..


Broken Banking

Geithner Giving U.S. Taxpayer Info to Foreign Nations

August 15th 2012

Geithner

In reaction to the worldwide economic turmoil with governments squeezing every penny possible out of taxpayers, Swiss bankers find themselves in the position of actually enticing clients from emerging markets or face a "slow death" as the pursuit of so-called tax evaders increases by U.S. and European authorities, according to The American Banker on Thursday. And U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is at the forefront of chasing tax dodgers.

Few Americans are aware that their personal and financial information is being given to foreign nations by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in the name of "getting Americans to pay their fair share." And the globalists in the U.S. government are happy to share Americans' confidential information, according to information from a political strategist and tax attorney. Read more ..


Faster and More Furious

In Wake of Fast and Furious, ATF Threatens Future Whistleblowers

August 15th 2012

Click to select Image

Fast and Furious is the scandal in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms encouraged the illegal sale of thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels.  The guns disappeared into Mexico. Two federal agents (here & here) were slain by these weapons. According to Mexican officials, as many as 200 Mexican citizens have been killed.This scandal has reached into the highest levels of the Obama Administration.  [Read the report on the investigation into 'Fast & Furious' here.] Eric Holder is the first attorney-general in history to have been issued a contempt citation for refusing to cooperate in the investigation. The Justice Department has refused to enforce the citation.

We now know Holder lied before Congress in sworn testimony (here, here, here, here & here).  There's even a White House cover-up. There's more. Recently, we helped break the story in which the ATF director threatened agents.  It was ATF whistleblowers -- acting in accordance with federal law -- who reported Fast & Furious when their own agency ridiculed their concerns that lives could be lost.

Read more ..

Broken Banking

Shocking Revelations of Standard Charter Bank conspiracy with Iran

August 15th 2012

Standard charter bank

Americans are jaded by the size and shape of the financial crisis that ripped through banking in 2008. Bernie Madoff, AIG, "too big to fail," Goldman Sachs, subprime lending, unfathomable derivatives, and underwater mortgages make it hard to work up much steam on yet another banking story. And you could be forgiven for thinking a tome entitled "NY State Department of Financial Services in the Matter of Standard Chartered Branch, NY, NY" would be dull. But Benjamin M. Lawsky, superintendent of the NY State Department of Financial Services, has written the banking equivalent of pornography. (Words you never thought you'd read together, right?)

It is the disgusting description of how a British bank and its U.S. subsidiary conspired over a decade to allow Iran to evade U.S. banking sanctions, and how a well-known American consulting firm covered it up in an "independent report." Read more ..


Healthcare on Edge

How the Affordable Care Act Reduces our Liberty

August 14th 2012

Obamacare Protest

With one to two weeks left before most schools begin their fall semester, there's still time left to squeeze in a bit more summer reading. So if health care policy is your idea of a beach read, grab a copy of "Why Obamacare is Wrong for America."

Authored by former OMB associate director Jim Capretta, American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Tom Miller, Heritage Foundation senior fellow Bob Moffit, and Galen Institute president Grace-Marie Turner, the book makes nuances of the debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) palatable to a lay audience by breaking down the law into eight pillars. This book nicely elaborates on the government takeover concerns I voiced in my earlier column.

The first two pillars are mandates on individuals (to obtain) and employers (to provide) health coverage. These are unprecedented. Most people can go without healthcare longer than they can make it without food. Yet, even for a necessity such as food, lawmakers do not impose any remotely equivalent restrictions on freedom of choice. Read more ..


Broken Government

GOP vs Tea Party on Dodging Doomsday

August 14th 2012

Juan Williams 02

Is there another Republican revolution taking place behind the scenes on Capitol Hill?

In the run up to the election, several Senate Republicans are openly talking about agreeing to tax hikes, or some revenue increases, to get a budget deal done. They see a political trap for the president. If he does not go along with the Republican plan—which uses formulas similar to the one set down by the independent Simpson-Bowles commission—the GOP senators envision voters blaming the Obama White House for failing to act in the national interest and reduce the federal deficit.

There is just one problem with this political strategy: The Senate Republicans first have to convince the Tea Party freshmen in the Republican-controlled House to approve of any deal that includes tax increases. Their best hope for persuading the House GOP to join the deal is the coming fiscal cliff of severe budget cuts that threatens to derail the nation’s fragile, slow-moving recovery. That day of doom is the year-end deadline for implementing the Budget Control Act (BCA) that Congress passed one year ago, and which is scheduled to make a merciless cut through federal spending at the end of the year.

But facing fiscal calamity has not helped to bring the House GOP to its senses in the past. Last year, House Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling without dramatic spending cuts to domestic social programs. Their refusal to perform this routine duty—to quite literally pay the nation’s bills—resulted in an unprecedented downgrade of America’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last month that said lenders charged the federal government an extra $1.3 billion last year because of the debt-ceiling debacle. Read more ..


The Clinton Edge

Why America Loves the Clintons

August 13th 2012

Bill & Hillary Clinton

As the campaign from hell continues to promise voters four more years of what they detest no matter who wins, and politics in America is now in almost universal disrepute outside the circles of those paid to continue the status quo, and banking scandals continue, and virtually every major American institution is widely distrusted, consider this:

In a recent Gallup poll, the favorable rating of Bill Clinton was a towering 66 percent. In another recent poll the favorable rating of Hillary Clinton was an equally towering 66 percent. By contrast:

Public confidence in Congress is at levels comparable to the favorable rating of Saddam Hussein. Congressional Republicans are as popular as defective dog food. Congressional Democrats fare slightly better. They are as popular as average dog food, which is fine for the dogs but not great for the people.

Meanwhile, Congress leaves Washington for another long recess while farmers endure agony from the drought, drivers are punished by soaring gas prices and families are pained by another jobs report while nobody in Washington appears to give a damn about anything except blaming each other and telling angry voters why they are so wonderful. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

Obama Bullied Automakers in Negotiations

August 13th 2012

Obama and Flag

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight released a biting report on Friday regarding the Obama Administration’s unusual and questionable practice of obtaining agreements from automakers for stricter mileage standards.

According to Rep. Issa, the Congressional report sheds new light on the extent to which the Obama Administration strong-armed auto manufacturers at the expense of consumer choice, safety and affordability. “In the wake of a massive taxpayer funded bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, the Obama Administration took aggressive action to force a rulemaking process that reflects ideology over science and politics over process and law,” Chairman Issa said in a statement.

“Pleas from career technical experts about passenger safety and consumer choice were ignored by the White House to appease overzealous environmental extremists as this process was forced through,” Chairman Issa noted. Read more ..


Venezuela on Edge

Chavez's Latest Tool for Voter Intimidation

August 12th 2012

Hugo Chavez red

With two months to go before Venezuela’s election on October 7, the regime of Hugo Chavez is exploring ways more foul than fair to secure a fourth term in office for the Comandante.

For the first time this year, the fingerprint scanners used in the past to verify voter ID will be connected to the electronic voting machines themselves. Because voters will have to press down a thumb in order to activate the ballot system, there are justified fears of an electronic record of every individual vote. For tyrants who occasionally allow the public a trip to the polling station, knowing who the dissidents are is both a nasty weapon and a powerful one; in the early 1980s, Chavez’s close friend Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, punished the rebellious voters of Matabeleland with a campaign of violence, public executions and enforced famine.

If the Chavistas are trying to sow fear in the hearts of Venezuelans tempted to vote for his arrival, the moderate leftist Henrique Capriles, they appear to be succeeding: “If the thumbprint makes the machine work, how do you know it doesn’t end up being recorded who you voted for?” asked Jacqueline Rivas, a 46-year-old housewife. Experts say there is no evidence the system has ever been used to reveal voters’ preferences, and most opposition leaders, who stand to suffer if supporters don’t vote, have been eager to assure that the system is safe. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

HHS Can’t Waive Workfare

August 12th 2012

Kathleen Sebelius

The welfare reform of 1996 stands as perhaps the most important entitlement reform in the nation’s history. Its successes stem from a core requirement that able-bodied parents must work, search for work, or train for work to be eligible for public assistance.

But now, under the guise of providing states greater “flexibility” in operating their welfare programs, the Obama administration claims unjustifiable authority to weaken or waive the work requirements at the heart of the reform law. There’s just one problem: The law is clear that those requirements can’t be waived.

The work requirement was no doubt the most controversial provision of the 1996 welfare reform. Even after President Clinton twice vetoed reform bills, Congress refused to budge on Section 407, which defines “Mandatory Work Requirements.” Clinton reluctantly signed the final “workfare” measure into law.

Fast forward to July 12, when the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an “information memorandum” to state welfare-plan administrators regarding “waiver and expenditure authority.” Essentially, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius contends that a separate provision gives HHS authority to waive the work requirement in Section 407 of the welfare-reform law.

Bear with us. We’ll try to keep the gobbledygook to a minimum. The HHS memorandum contained a single paragraph of convoluted legal analysis supporting this novel contention. It claims that because that other provision “authorizes waivers concerning Section 402,” and because Section 402 mentions Section 407, “HHS has authority to waive compliance with this 402 requirement and authorize a state to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in Section 407.” Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Rise Up and Die: Hillary Clinton on Aleppo in February

August 12th 2012

Hillary

With the rebels and the Syrian government both claiming the upper hand in Aleppo, the only truth on this side of the ocean is that the war is grinding up the city and its people. Ever wonder how Secretary of State Clinton feels about that?

Less than six months ago, Mrs. Clinton made the case for the United States not arming Syrian rebels about whom we know little. Speaking in Morocco, she said, “We really don't know who it is that would be armed,” noting that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had expressed support for the rebellion. “Are we supporting al-Qaeda in Syria?” she asked, not quite rhetorically. “Hamas is now supporting the opposition. Are we supporting Hamas in Syria?”

By itself, that is a good point. Its power is only slightly diminished by the recent revelation that the CIA has been on the ground trying to figure out precisely whom we would be funding if we were funding, and the further revelation that indeed we have been funding (with non-lethal aid) even before the CIA has gotten it figured out.

Mrs. Clinton went farther in the interview, however, than just stating policy that the U.S. was not going to arm rebels. Not at all rhetorically, she encouraged the civilian residents of Damascus and Aleppo to join an uprising she knew wouldn't have U.S. military support. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

Rep. Ryan’s Budget Plan is a “Path to the Poorhouse”

August 11th 2012

Romney and Ryan--Virginia Announcement

If Americans who are embracing Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity”—and that now includes Mitt Romney—spent a few minutes reviewing a few recent research reports, they just might conclude that the Wisconsin Republican’s plan to reduce the deficit might better be renamed the “Path to the Poorhouse” because of what it would mean to the Medicare program and many senior citizens.

Ryan’s proposal, which will get new scrutiny now that Romney has made him his running mate, would end the current Medicare program for everyone born after 1956. It would replace Medicare with a system in which beneficiaries would receive a set amount of money from the government every year to buy coverage from private insurers. That money would go straight into insurance companies’ bank accounts, which would make them far richer and grant them even more control of our health care system than they already are. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

Obama's Attack on 'Workfare'

August 11th 2012

Obama Campaign 2012

President Obama has created a firestorm by overturning the work requirements of the popular 1996 welfare-reform law. Now his White House is bristling because Mitt Romney dares to point out that fact on the stump and in a new campaign ad. Obama’s move is only the latest step in a long history of liberal opposition to work requirements. The Left blocked welfare-reform efforts under both Presidents Nixon and Reagan, for example.

In 1996, a Republican Congress drafted a welfare-reform law — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — that for the first time established meaningful work standards for welfare recipients. President Clinton reluctantly signed this legislation. Ever since, Democratic leaders have attempted — unsuccessfully — to repeal welfare’s work standards, blocking reauthorization of TANF and attempting to weaken the requirements. Unable to eliminate “workfare” legislatively, the Left now acts contrary to the law and employs a bureaucratic maneuver to gut the work requirements. The Obama administration claims authority to grant waivers that allow states to skirt these requirements. Read more ..


Education on Edge

It’s Time for an Education Breakthrough

August 11th 2012

African school kids

The stars of the global development galaxy infrequently align to provide the education sector with an opportunity to advance progress for girls and boys around the world. However, there is currently a unique opportunity to put forth a common vision to reinforce the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to chart a forward-looking agenda for the post-2015 development goals that builds upon collective progress and lessons learned.

Three global policy windows are available to advance a common agenda:

1.  Discussions and processes for establishing a new set of global development goals, following the expiration of the MDGs in 2015, are underway in the United Nations. Read more ..


The Olympic Edge

Why We Should Tax Olympic Medalists?

August 10th 2012

London Olympics

While the Olympics have injected much excitement into the dwindling days of our summers, many media outlets have given significant coverage to what some might see as the most unexciting aspect of these international games: taxes.

Politicians from both parties, including President Obama and Mitt Romney, leveled critiques at the United States' complicated "worldwide" tax system (which taxes money regardless of where an American earns it) because it will diminish the value of the prizes won by American Olympians.

The U.S. is one among a handful of nations that has this system; most other countries use a territorial system, meaning that income is taxed only one time, in the country where it is earned. Given that Britain agreed to exempt athletes who compete in the 2012 London games from paying taxes on their winnings, the majority of Olympic winners will take home their winnings tax-free. Read more ..


The Defense Edge

Firm Formerly Known as Blackwater Settles with Criminal Prosecutors

August 10th 2012

Blackwater employees in Iraq

The liberal-left’s least favorite company, security contractor Blackwater, under its new corporate identity of Academi LLC, agreed on August 7th to pay more than $7 million in fines in order to settle federal charges regarding alleged arms smuggling and other crimes.

The documents. which were unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, North Carolina, stated that the company’s executives agreed to pay the fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to settle all 17 violations of law.

The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a settlement of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, according to officials at the Justice Department (DOJ).

According to DOJ documents, the list of violations includes the possession automatic weapons in the United States without registration, deceptive statements made to government firearms officials about weapons tranferred to the Kingdom of Jordan, and passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark without U.S. government approval. A separate violation entailed illegally shipping body armor to nations overseas. Read more ..


Religion on Edge

Jewish People for the Suppression of Other Jewish People

August 10th 2012

Eruv Tied to Pole
An Eruv wire on an electric pole

There probably is no better known statement that reveals racism in America than the phrase that begins, “Some of my best friends are …,” with the blank filled in with “Jews,” “blacks,” or some other such qualifier. It reeks of a closet bigot’s desperate attempt to backpedal on a comment or position regarding the inserted group that exposes him for what he really is. It is so widely known an expression for what it is, that when author Tanner Colby released his new book last month, “Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America,” readers and reviewers had no problem understanding the main point – that America still struggles with racism, even with an African-American president. Those seven words have become almost iconic in the annals of closet racism, but there is another such lurking out in our language.

It is not a mere phrase, but the actual name of an organization – a nonprofit, no less, and through its name, its founders reveal their true intent as much as “some of my best friends” does. The subtly subversive name of the group: Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach. Read more ..


Tajikistan on Edge

Silly Dictator Story #14: No Donkeys At The Well

August 9th 2012

Donkeys at the Well

When Tajik President Emomali Rahmon ventures from Dushanbe, it’s always a big deal. The streets are cleaned, the poems and songs of praise are practiced, and now, at least in the city of Kulob, people’s water-toting donkeys will be kept at home.

In preparation for President Rahmon’s upcoming visit to the southern city of Kulob, officials there, anxious to portray a prosperous, functioning municipality, are “asking” the city’s residents to keep their equine helpers away from the city wells. Due to a combination of high consumption and shoddy infrastructure, the city’s 100,000 or so residents have had to rely more and more on the traditional city wells for water during the summer months.

Water can be quite heavy, so many use donkeys -- the prices of which have also risen -- to transport large plastic jugs to and from the wells. The city officials have canvassed the city street-by-street telling residents to keep their donkeys home while the president surveys the city. Read more ..


The Weapon's Edge

Are US Drone Strikes in South Asia, Middle East Ethical?

August 9th 2012

 The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper

For many Americans, the use of armed drones is a necessity of our times. According to survey data, most see them as an integral part of the war on terror launched more than a decade ago in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. On a global scale, however, Americans supportive of armed drone use, represent a minority viewpoint that is being increasingly challenged by those questioning both the ethics and the legality behind the use of such aircraft.

Officially defined as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones have many applications, including civilian, but are today primarily associated with their military purpose of targeting and killing those whom the U.S. government defines as terrorists or their supporters in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Armed drones were also in use in Iraq, but after American troops withdrew from the country late last year, the U.S. has reportedly limited the application of drones there to surveillance activities.

Unmanned aerial vehicle technology has been in the works for decades but became more refined in the 1990s. The first use of a drone in a targeted killing was recorded in Afghanistan in 2002. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

The Real Poll Numbers

August 8th 2012

Detroit voters

The media is trying to create a sense of momentum and inevitability about the Obama candidacy. One benighted Newsweek reporter even speculated about a possible Democratic landslide. On Friday, I saw the real numbers. These state-by-state polls, taken by an organization I trust (after 40 years of polling), show the real story. The tally is based on more than 600 likely-voter interviews in each swing state within the past eight days.

The trend line is distinctly pro-Romney. Of the 13 states studied, he improved or Obama slipped in nine, while the reverse happened in only four. To read the media, one would think that Romney had a terrible month. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Romney is currently leading in every state McCain carried plus: Indiana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Nevada, North Carolina and Colorado. If he carries these states, he’ll have 228 electoral votes of the 270 he needs to win. Read more ..


America and the Muslim Brotherhood

Inside the Muslim Brotherhood in the West

August 8th 2012

The so-called Arab Spring has seen the Muslim Brotherhood rise to power in the Middle East and North Africa. But those aren’t the only regions where the group is spreading its influence: the Brotherhood has also been active in the West for decades. CBN News recently traveled to Europe to discover how the Muslim Brotherhood got here and what it has planned.

It’s an issue that continues to heat up on Capitol Hill. When Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and four other GOP House members called for an investigation recently into Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government, they were widely criticized, even by some of their Republican colleagues.

Yet documents captured by the FBI show cleary that the Muslim Brotherhood is active in the United States. And Egypt’s new president, Mohammed Morsi, reportedly joined the group while he was a student at the University of Southern California in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Establishing a Toehold

The Brotherhood’s presence in the West, however, goes back much further than that. CBN News recently visited the Islamic Center of Munich, which many consider the birthplace of radical Islam in the West. It was there that the Muslim Brotherhood first established a presence in the West and spread its tentacles throughout Europe and the United States. “Initially, the mosque was an idea of the West Germans, who also wanted to harness Islam for its political purposes in the Cold War,” said Ian Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Mosque in Munich. “But the project was taken over by young students, mostly members or sympathizers with the Muslim Brotherhood.” Read more ..


The Obama Edge

Obama and 'Earning your Success'

August 7th 2012

Obama and Flag

Within the space of just two weeks, Americans have witnessed two radically different philosophies about the free enterprise system from President Obama. In his notorious Roanoke, Va., speech of July 13, he said "If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." That is, Americans have not fully earned their success.

Backpedaling after a public outcry, the president insisted he had been misinterpreted, and that he is fully committed to the values of competition, merit, and opportunity. In a speech to the National Urban League in New Orleans on July 25, he asserted that "America says we will give you opportunity, but you've got to earn your success." The sentiments expressed in these two speeches are inconsistent. To find the truth, we need to look at the administration's actions. As far as business is concerned, a great deal has been written about the myriad barriers the Obama administration has placed in the way of entrepreneurial success. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Obama Trying to Buy Allies in Syrian Revolution

August 7th 2012

Obama meditates

The news is out -- President Obama is not just watching the gory events unfold in Syria. The president signed an intelligence finding permitting the CIA to help the opposition with $25 million's worth of non-lethal assistance, possibly including communications, logistics, and intelligence. Public acknowledgement of the finding follows a New York Times story that the CIA was "helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive weapons to fight the government ... and to keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with al Qaeda".

The Times added that "by helping to vet rebel groups, American intelligence operatives in Turkey also hope to learn more ... and establish new ties to fighters who may be the country's leaders one day." Learning on the job, are they?
Read more ..


Europe on Edge

Is the Euro Worth the Price?

August 6th 2012

Spanish unemployed

Mario Draghi emphatically says that, “the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro,” but mounting strains on euro member states must force us to ask if the cost is worth the benefit.

Preserving the euro as a single currency with its 17 members comes at an extremely high price.  Economic, financial, political, and social burdens jeopardize the ideals held sacrosanct by Europeans.  Paradoxically, by preserving the unity offered by the euro, European leaders are forging the type of disunity the euro was designed to eradicate.

The founding of the European Union marked a watershed moment in European history wherein the countries of Europe consciously ceded a small portion of their sovereignty for the expressed purpose of preventing political conflict, promoting liberal democratic conceptions of human rights, and creating efficient markets.  As the euro project slogs onward, it undermines all three of these goals. Read more ..


The Defense Edge

South China Sea Tensions Reflect Danger of Defense Cuts

August 5th 2012

Chinese Aircraft Carrier

In recent months, tensions have risen in the South China Sea as the ongoing territorial disputes between various Southeast Asian states and the People’s Republic of China have begun to boil. An April speech by Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie stating that the South Sea Fleet would be the vanguard of major new missions makes recent developments even more ominous. This situation raises real stakes for the United States, especially in the context of ongoing and potentially accelerating cuts to the defense budget.

Increasing Chinese Pressure
China has been steadily increasing pressure on its neighbors in the ongoing South China Sea dispute, employing a variety of means. In March, Chinese and Philippine fishing vessels converged on the disputed Scarborough Shoal, reinforcing each side’s claim to the area. Thinking they had a bargain to de-escalate the conflict, the Philippines pulled out its ships. Although the Chinese did not deploy naval ships to the waters, Chinese fishing boats and civilian law enforcement vessels remained, despite an announced Chinese fishing ban on the area. Read more ..


The Edge of Human Trafficking

DOJ May Have Dismissed Suspicious Human Trafficking Case

August 5th 2012

Prostitute

The U.S. Justice Department once again failed to fulfill its mandate to prosecute criminal activity to the fullest extent of the law, a public-interest group dedicated to weeding out government corruption, fraud and waste noted on August 3. While the story received scant mention in the national news media, its shocking display of ineptitude by Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff should give pause to any clear-thinking American citizen, said political strategist and attorney Joseph Pankowsky.

"If this case -- which the DOJ dropped on July 21 -- and other similar cases are any indication of how the federal government plans to handle human trafficking prosecutions, the victims are in for horrors not seen since the days of slavery in the antebellum South," said Pankowsky.

According to the Inside-the-Beltway watchdog group Judicial Watch, "After spending millions of dollars to prosecute what it touted as the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has suspiciously dismissed [the case] claiming that it lacked evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt."
Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

Black Pastors Oppose Democrats on Same Sex Marriage

August 4th 2012

Star Parker

Support for same-sex marriage is now in the Democratic Party preliminary platform. Once approved by the full platform committee and voted on at the convention, same-sex marriage will have the party's formal support. But as Democrats institutionalize their support for same sex-marriage, their relationship with the party's most loyal constituency, black Americans, becomes increasingly uneasy. A new survey just released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows 65 percent of Democrats support same-sex marriage compared to just 40 percent of blacks.

A group of 3,700-plus black pastors, the Coalition of African-American Pastors, under the leadership of the Rev. William Owens, has moved to formally oppose the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama on this issue.

The group is spearheading a "Mandate for Marriage" campaign to gather 100,000 signatures on a petition declaring support for traditional marriage. The petition also calls for Obama "to repudiate his assertion that gay marriage is a civil right."

These black pastors are not in the business of politics, nor are they policy wonks. They are driven by commitment to biblical truths and the direct challenge to and rejection of these truths by social acceptance of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage.

They don't see biblical truths as academic points divorced from the practical realities of life. They see them as the rules that sustain life. And they see the crises spreading in their communities and in our nation as acceptance of these truths falling by the wayside. HIV/AIDS is devastating black America. Reading the grim statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes clear that this plague is driven, first and foremost, by homosexual behavior.

According to the CDC: "In 2009, African-Americans comprised 14 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections. ... Black men accounted for 70 percent of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. ... Black men who have sex with men represented an estimated 73 percent of new infections among black men. ..." Research abounds showing the importance of intact traditional family life in the academic success of children and of overall economic health. Read more ..


Turks see Red in Obama’s Dubious Photo Holding Bat

August 4th 2012

Obama with baseball bat

Holding a baseball bat in your hand while talking on the phone about a delicate international issue means you really like the person you are talking to. At least, so says the President of the United States. ­The White House scrambled to explain the meaning behind a photo it posted online of President Obama holding a wooden club associated with either a popular American sport or mob violence, depending on personal preferences. Obama held the bat as he chatted on the phone with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. The two were discussing the ongoing violence in Syria, in which both America and Turkey are backing the anti-regime opposition forces.

Reporters bombarded White House secretary Jay Carney on Monday with questions over possible hidden meanings in the photo of the bat-wielding Obama. Carney explained the photo by saying the president was a baseball fan and avid supporter of the Chicago White Sox. Turkish politicians were quick to seize on the picture and level harsh criticism at Turkey’s head of government. Read more ..


Africa on Edge

Priority Issues During Secretary Clinton’s Trip to Africa

August 3rd 2012

Hillary

On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embarked on an official visit to several African countries including Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda. The visit to South Sudan is particularly significant because Secretary Clinton will be the highest U.S. government official to make an official visit to this new country. This trip is likely to be Clinton’s last extended visit to Africa in her official capacity as secretary of state as she is expected to resign at the end of President Obama’s first term. The secretary’s visit comes at a time when the U.S. is increasingly seeking to deepen its engagement with Africa.

Given the extensive coverage of the secretary’s trip in terms of number of countries and regions visited, a wide range of issues of interest to U.S. and Africa will be part of the agenda. We highlight some of these issues that we consider a priority to both Africa and the U.S.
Commercial Engagement
This heightened interest in Africa by the U.S. is, in part, a result of recent dramatic changes on the continent, such as rapid economic growth and improved governance, which have made Africa a much better place to do business. Read more ..


Media on Edge

Free Speech is Still a Pipe Dream for British Writers

August 2nd 2012

Rachel Ehrenfeld

London, the host of the 2012 Olympics, has long since won the gold medal as the capital of “libel tourism”. I was made aware of this in 2004 when a libel suit was brought against me and my book Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed — and How to Stop It, in London’s High Court. The suit was brought by Khaled bin Mahfouz — the Saudi plutocrat and libel tourist nonpareil.

Before his death in 2009, Mahfouz had brought or threatened to bring more than 40 similar lawsuits before that plaintiff-friendly court, and he was totally successful in silencing the critics of his infelicitous career, which had, it was claimed, included terrorist financing.

Mahfouz had several things working for him in London: he was rich and he was the former banker of the Saudi royal family with the tacit support of powerful Saudis. He was, moreover, the beneficiary of a legal system that gives the plaintiff an inordinate advantage. He didn’t have to prove that the allegations against him were not true. British libel law puts the burden of proving allegations with the defendant, not the claimant. Filing a suit, or just threatening to sue, was enough for him to win. In my case, since I refused to acknowledge the British jurisdiction over me, he won by default.

I countersued him in New York, arguing that enforcing the UK default judgment would violate my constitutional right to freedom of expression. When I found out that New York lacked a law to protect me, I turned to the state legislators, who passed the Anti-Libel Terrorism Law (aka “Rachel’s Law”) in May 2008. I went on to campaign for a federal law, and in a bipartisan unanimous vote, the US Congress approved the Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Constitutional Heritage Act, which protects all Americans writers and publishers from the growing phenomenon of libel tourism, in 2010.

It was an important development. Mahfouz had used the libel-tourism tactic to bully more than 40 authors and a publisher into apologies for and retractions of similar exposés. While British libel laws were often used by the rich and famous to intimidate critics, the Saudi used them as a weapon against the American and Western media, and effectively prevented further exposés of Saudi and Gulf funders of terrorism. Read more ..


The 2012 Vote

Romney Is Right: Israel’s Economic Success is Due to Culture

August 2nd 2012

Romney in Jerusalem 7-31-12

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been assailed for saying at a fundraiser in Jerusalem that “culture” plays a large part in Israel’s superior “economic vitality” over the Palestinians, just as it does “between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.” For this commonsensical statement of the obvious, he has been pilloried, not least by the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Saeb Erekat, who described his remarks as “racist.”

There was, of course, no reference in Governor Romney’s comparison of Israel and the Palestinians to religion or ethnicity, let alone race. He referred to culture, which indeed makes a major difference, in this case and the others he cited. He was right to note that this has produced widely divergent results in economic performance between Israel and the PA. Read more ..


Israel and Palestine

The Palestinian Culture of Slapping Israel

August 1st 2012

Gaza aerial shot 2011

Mitt Romney is being castigated for praising the culture that has allowed a democratic, (mainly) free market Israel, operating under the rule of law, to thrive amid decades of threat and periodic open warfare and a heavy defense burden.  Actually, he's being castigated for what his praise of Israel implies or says outright about Israel's neighbors -- not only the Palestinians, but mainly them.  So it is instructive to note the latest broadside by a West Bank youth group called "Palestinians for Dignity" (PDF).

PFD, which was instrumental in the protests against Mahmoud Abbas and PA corruption earlier in the summer, is now protesting the European Union's decision to upgrade a variety of trade and other ties with Israel.  In its release, published by the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, the PDF announced: Barring meaningful action [to reverse the upgrade] the Palestinian youth movement will organize to protest the latest manifestation of EU complicity and to challenge its presence and operations in Palestine...This latest move by the EU is nothing less than outrageous... this duplicitous behavior epitomizes the reasons why the Palestinian people have no faith in the EU. Read more ..


Religious Tolerance

Precious Little Religious Freedom

August 1st 2012

Tibetan prayer flags

Here’s a pretty gruesome story from Pakistan that began circulating on July 30:
At least 11 nurses, including three Christians, were poisoned at Civil Hospital Karachi for eating during Ramadan. During their afternoon break yesterday, the 11 nurses went to the hostel cafeteria for some tea and food. Rita, a Catholic nurse, collapsed first after drinking her tea. Now all the nurses are in the hospital’s intensive care unit, some in very serious conditions.

It was an appropriate day, then, for the State Department to publish its 2011 report on religious freedom around the globe. And the bottom line is that, throughout the Islamic world, as well as in the unreconstructed communist and authoritarian states, there’s precious little of it.

What kind of ranking does religious freedom hold in the conduct of American foreign policy? As of this morning, the State Department’s website had on prominent display the following declaration from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “For the United States, religious freedom is a cherished constitutional value, a strategic national interest, and a foreign policy priority.” No room for misinterpretation there, then. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

Understanding Real Israeli Politics

August 1st 2012

Binyamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz

“Can’t anybody here play this game?” – Casey Stengel, great baseball coach

Stengel’s complaint is the precise description of Israeli politics nowadays. To a remarkable extent—and this has nothing to do with his views or policies—Bibi Netanyahu is the only functioning politician in Israel today. No wonder he is prime minister, will finish his current term, and will almost certainly be reelected in 2013.

Consider the alternatives. The number one such option is Shaul Mofaz who is head of Kadima. Mofaz was a competent general but is a dreadful politician. He may be the least charismatic man I’ve ever met. Tsippi Livni, his predecessor, was a disaster as leader of the self-described centrist party. Here is a list of her major failures:

• She did not take the opportunity to oust the smarmy party leader Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when the corruption charges against him piled up.

• She did a poor job in the dealing with the end-game in the Gaza war in January 2009.

• She mishandled the coalition negotiations when she did become acting prime minister, leading to the government’s fall. Read more ..


Healthcare on Edge

The Cost of Care for Colorado's Victims

July 31st 2012

Obamacare Protest

One of the reasons Americans seem so willing to tolerate the fact that 50 million of us are uninsured and almost 30 million more of us are underinsured is that most of us who have coverage assume we are OK. That nothing truly catastrophic will happen to us, and that, even if it did, our insurance policies will pay our bills and keep us whole.

Who would think that a decision to go see a movie on a Friday night could change our lives — and the lives of our families — forever? That we or a loved one, even with what we believed was decent coverage, might become a victim of violence that could leave us not only disabled for life but also potentially bankrupt and homeless?

That random act of violence in Aurora, Colo. earlier this month could have happened anywhere in America, of course — or in any other country, for that matter — but among the world’s developed nations, we live in the only one where the families of some of the injured would have to face begging for money to pay the doctors and hospitals and keep the sheriff and his foreclosure papers at bay. Talk about American exceptionalism. This is one area where, sadly, we truly are unique. Read more ..



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