February 10, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 02/10/2009

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Big Dog: The World Is Upside Down - First we had Vladimir Putin warning the west against socialism basically saying that the former Soviet Union tried it and it did not work and now France is the country showing backbone. Putin’s words were those one would expect from the US only a decade or two ago. As America moves toward government takeover of private business and Socialistic plans, Putin urged that this approach would lead to disaster. It is beyond real that a leader from Russia would be warning the US about the evils of Socialism. Top this off with French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying that France would keep its nuclear arms in order to guarantee its safety at a time when Barack Obama is working to rid the US (and presumably the world) of nuclear weapons and we can see the world is backwards. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Shaken, not stirred - Maybe the real “canary in the coalmine” isn’t Israel, but the UK. Westhawk writes, “imagine a government that has lost such control over its country’s internal security that it is forced to invite in a foreign intelligence service to help prevent a disaster. That describes the situation in Great Britain, according to this report from the Telegraph.” “American spy chiefs have told the President that the CIA has launched a vast spying operation in the UK to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks being launched from Britain. … Intelligence briefings for Mr Obama have detailed a dramatic escalation in American espionage in Britain, where the CIA has recruited record numbers of informants in the Pakistani community to monitor the 2,000 terrorist suspects identified by MI5, the British security service.” America is — was — the security and financial guarantor of last resort for a Europe which has progressively pulled out its own teeth and multied its culture. (READ MORE)

Big Lizards: Yet Another Obama "Sovereignty" Test - A federal lawsuit filed by sixteen illegal immigrants, seeking damages from a rancher for the "tort" of keeping them off his land by making a citizen's arrest and handing them over to the Border Patrol, offers a determinative test for our new president: Will the Justice Department file a friend of the court brief? And if so, which side will President Barack H. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder support? “An Arizona man [rancher and former sheriff's deputy Roger Barnett] who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.” (Violating their civil rights? They must have meant violating their civil liberties. Either that, or sixteen illegal aliens are suing Barnett for preventing them from voting in the next Arizona election.) (READ MORE)

Uncle Jimbo: President Obama- Wars don't end, They are Won or Lost - My biggest fear about a President Obama was that he has a totally flawed view of what to do about our two ongoing wars. He was spectacularly clueless about what to do in Iraq and had we followed his bad advice we would have lost there. His continual demand that we "end" that war is symptomatic of his misunderstanding of the gravity of having US troops on a battlefield. It is just this simple Mr. Wannabe Commander in Chief, and I say wannabe because while you hold the title you haven't earned it or the trust of the troops yet. The first SF team room I walked into had a sign over the Captain's desk that said "Shut up sir, we'll throw you a pen when we need you to sign something". That sign stayed up for every new Captain assigned to a team of seasoned NCOs to serve as their Detachment Commander, and it only came down when he had gained the trust and became the Team Leader. Well so far Mr. Obama you can hang onto your pen for a while yet. (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: Seniors - Don't Get Sick If Stimulus Bill Passes! - I thought I had seen it all with the bank bailouts and the automobile bailout but THIS is just beyond the pale. The aptly called "Porkulus Bill" aka the Stimulus Bill is not only the biggest piece of pork ever stuffed down Americans' throats but it has provisions to start the process to proceed to socialized medicine. I don't know how or what socialized medicine will do to "create jobs" or stimulate the economy. The only thing I can think of is that it will reduce the number of sick and/or invalid elderly citizens which will cut down on Medicare and Social Security spending. I am not kidding - if you are a senior citizen you should be quaking in your boots about what is "hidden" in this pork legislation. Betsy McCaughey has a piece on Bloomberg News were she has broken down several disturbing aspects of the bill. I encourage everyone to read it and click her embedded links to see the actual bill. But here's a little taste to whet your appetite... (READ MORE)

Evan Kohlmann: NEFA Foundation: Army of Islam Issues Message to the Austrian Government - The NEFA Foundation has obtained a new communiqué from the Army of Islam in Gaza, in which the group urges the Austrian government to release Muhammad Shawqi Mahmoud from jail. In March 2008, Mahmoud was sentenced to four years in prison for belonging to a terrorist organization. Mahmoud, a central figure in the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), was involved in producing a March 2007 GIMF video that threatened Austria and Germany if the countries did not withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. That same month, BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza; the Army of Islam subsequently issued a videotaped claim of responsibility for the operation. During the February 2009 Canadian trial of Mahmoud’s GIMF co-conspirator, Said Namouh, prosecutors revealed that Mahmoud and Namouh “played a major role for the GIMF in the editing” of that Army of Islam video. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: As King Pyrrhus Crows - The Multi-Generational Financial Rape Act of 2009, AKA the "stimulus, bill," has passed in the U.S. Senate. Congratulations, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid. You deserve all the credit for this bill passing, and I mean that will all sincerity. You own this bill, lock, stock and barrel. All the blame that will thunder down upon you in years to come. All the anger, distrust, and blind hatred that will result from your short-sightness and political greed. You've earned it all. To their credit, not a single Republican voted for the House version of this toxic pork-laden spending bill, the stench of which was so bad than even 11 conscientious House Democrats could not vote for it. In the Senate, the opportunistic partisanship was equally strong, without a single Democratic Senator having the moral courage to vote against a bill destined to cause long-term economic harm. (READ MORE)

Freedom Eden: Obama: Hope and Sex and Dreams - Judith Warner has written a piece that has been the topic of some discussion for the past few days. I find it at once very disturbing and extremely entertaining. If I take it seriously, I am completely creeped out. If I take it as a joke, it's hilarious. Then again, if I take it seriously, I think it's hilarious; and if I take it as a joke, I'm also creeped out. I don't know how to react -- laugh out loud or cringe. Either way, Warner's piece is bizarre. Warner writes about a dream she had starring Barack Obama. It's weird, as dreams so often are. So what? It's not odd to have a public figure show up in a dream. (I bet Chris Matthews could fill a book with his dreams and fantasies featuring Obama. Maybe he's working on one, if not for public consumption than for his own personal pleasure.) (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: It’s All About Opinions - “Discord, division, contempt, hostility, intolerance, are not criminal concepts. The use of such political concepts to justify judgments against political opponents is only common in countries such as Iran.” The full absurdity of the Amsterdam court’s case against Geert Wilders is made evident by the context concerning the Dutch penal code and the manner in which the laws have been enforced (or not enforced) since they appeared on the books. Our Flemish correspondent VH referred earlier to various articles and writings in the Dutch media about the case. Now he has taken the time to compile an in-depth report based on translations from several Dutch-language sources. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: AP: About Obama’s “no pork” assertion… - Barack Obama made the claim at least twice yesterday that the stimulus bill had no pork in it. In his prime-time press conference, Obama almost angrily rejected the notion that the Generational Theft Act contained pork. And earlier in the day, during his Elkhart town-hall meeting. In a literal sense, that’s true — but only because the stimulus bill is essentially an Omnibus Earmark Package. It consists entirely of local and state projects that would normally only get funded as earmarks on other appropriations. Even the Associated Press calls shenanigans on this claim:”...the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other ‘priority procurements’ by the Coast Guard.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: About Iran - Leaving the economic chatter for others, Obama’s presser became suddenly fascinating when he was caught like a deer in the headlights by an Iran question, and haltingly managed to spit out that while the people of Iran are great, its government has a long history of being “unhelpful.” My initial reaction, of course, was revulsion. Let’s see. There are the 241 unhelpfully dead Marines in Lebanon, and years of unhelpful instability and thuggishness there, with ongoing interference by Iranian-backed terrorists who have brought war and destruction down on the Lebanese people. There are several hundred unhelpfully dead American soldiers in Iraq and God knows how many unhelpfully dead Iraqis. There is the unhelpful nuclear program. The unhelpful training and arming of Hamas. There was the unhelpful taking of an American embassy, and 444 unhelpful days of humiliation. (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: Obama Takes His Case to the People - Barack Obama gave a press conference tonight; the key topic, of course, was the Democrats' trillion-dollar pork bill. My guess is that the widely-televised event helped the Democrats' cause some. Those who weren't paying close attention probably thought Obama made a decent case. Substantively, though, it was a weak effort. Obama repeatedly characterized his opponents (the Republicans) as people who want to do nothing about the current economic crisis: “As I said, the one concern I've got on the stimulus package, in terms of the debate and listening to some of what's been said in Congress, is that there seems to be a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing.” This is not just disingenuous; frankly, it's an outright lie. (READ MORE)

Cassandra: A Question for the Villainry - It's easy to be angry when obvious abuses of taxpayer money are cited, and I don't quibble with Vet66's point about not having the fruit of his productive labor confiscated in order to support people who don't work as hard as he does. However, I think things like Piss Christ are bugs rather than features of the system. Let's step through this systematically, because the issue raises some interesting philosophical questions for fiscal conservatives and libertarians. First of all, I think both fiscal conservatives and libertarians need to take a giant step back from specific incidents which may annoy them and ask, "What kind of society do we wish to live in?" We need to separate broad public policy goals from the oft imperfect ends that result when flawed human beings seek to implement them. Do we automatically throw the policy out if it is not implemented well, or do we examine it to see whether there is some merit in the overarching goal? (READ MORE)

The Virtuous Republic: Welcome to the Soviet Republic of the United States - I find it rather chilling that a Democratic elected official would want to sponsor a “Truth Commission.” Whose truth? The Democrat’s truth? The left’s truth? It sounds much to much like the Soviet Union, where there was only one truth, and that was what the Communist Party said it was. My question, is, Congressman Leahy, would this Truth Commission look into the truth of this stimulus? Would it look into the true cause of this recession (the CRA)? Or would this Truth Commission only investigate policy that the left disagrees with? Men like this need to run out of Washington on a rail. Tar and feathering optional, but highly suggested. “Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the primary goal of the commission would be to learn the truth rather than prosecute former officials, but said the inquiry should reach far beyond looking for misdeeds at the Justice Department under Bush to include matters of Iraq prewar intelligence and the Defense Department.” (READ MORE)

William McGurn: Pelosi's Indefensible Bill For Barack Obama, a cautionary tale of audacity - Historians tell us it was Roman custom to place a slave in the chariot behind a conquering hero, there to whisper warnings about the fleeting nature of fame amid the accolades of adoring crowds. Barack Obama is no stranger to the cheers of roaring crowds. If his prime-time press conference last night is any clue, moreover, he intends to use this personal popularity to help Congress get a stimulus bill to his desk quickly. As he does, those who wish his presidency success might do well to whisper in his ear two words of tempering wisdom: "Nancy Pelosi." In the public eye as well as on Capitol Hill, the California Democrat has become the mother of all stimulus packages. Whatever issues Mrs. Pelosi may claim with the Senate version, her leadership has defined the direction. Her intransigence has set the tone. (READ MORE)

Gary S. Becker & Kevin Murphy: There's No Stimulus Free Lunch - How much will the stimulus package moving in Congress really stimulate the economy? The evaluations to date have been incomplete, so we looked at the likely stimulative effect from the spending parts of the House and Senate bills -- over $500 billion -- and assessed the quantitative effects of four basic factors. How much increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be expected from the stimulus package? In a full-employment situation, increased government spending would largely replace private spending, so the net stimulus to GDP would likely be quite small. In the present environment, however, with growing unemployment of both labor and capital, the net stimulus would be larger since the additional government spending would put some unemployed resources to work. (READ MORE)

John Fund: Why Obama Wants Control of the Census - President Obama said in his inaugural address that he planned to "restore science to its rightful place" in government. That's a worthy goal. But statisticians at the Commerce Department didn't think it would mean having the director of next year's Census report directly to the White House rather than to the Commerce secretary, as is customary. "There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement," a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. "And it's called politics, not science." The decision was made last week after California Rep. Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Hispanic groups complained to the White House that Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire slated to head Commerce, couldn't be trusted to conduct a complete Census. The National Association of Latino Officials said it had "serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 Census produces the most accurate possible count." (READ MORE)

Have an interesting post or know of a "must read?" Then send a trackback here and let us all know about it. Or you can send me an email with a link to the post and I'll update the Recon.

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