April 7, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 04/07/2009

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

Bill Whittle: A MESSAGE TO THE RICH - The Washington Post ran a column a few days ago, in which a Mr. Joel Berg applauds the Obama Administration for reducing the amount of charitable deduction that The Rich are allowed to take when they write a check to charity. Mr. Berg – who runs a charitable foundation that feeds the poor — explains things for us thusly: “…It is wrong to give them [the very rich] unilateral power to decide whether their taxpayer-subsidized donations should go to, say, well-heeled operas or lavish care of pets rather than to organizations that meet more pressing communal needs.” Mr. Berg lists two specific ways in which The Rich have been Letting Down the Team – again. “First,” he writes, “such tax deductions are a highly inefficient way to fund social programs.” Got that? He continues: “Second, voluntary private charity is a less equitable way to solve community problems.” See the problem here? “When the wealthiest Americans donate to charities,” writes Berg, “they are most likely to give to universities, hospitals and cultural institutions from which they and their families may benefit.” The filthy swine! (READ MORE)

Information Dissemination: Influence Squadrons - The Next Evolution - Fifth, we will increase the buy of littoral combat ships -- a key capability for presence, stability and counterinsurgency operations in coastal regions -- from two to three ships in FY '10. Our goal is eventually to acquire 55 of these ships. - Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, April 06, 2009: I have a question. Does Secretary of Defense Robert Gates really know anything about maritime presence, maritime stability, maritime counterinsurgency, or maritime irregular warfare for that matter? I think Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is really smart, but I don't think he has ever been challenged in a debate regarding naval issues. Honestly, I don't really think he has ever given it much thought. Gates talks a lot about the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I would begin with the question what are the characteristics of successful doctrine, tactics, and strategy in those irregular warfare spaces? My next question would be, what do those characteristics have in common with the Littoral Combat Ship? (READ MORE)

Wonder Woman: Cashing in on a crisis - When things go wrong, they always say "follow the money". Although when you do, you may be surprised where you end up... “Warren Buffett promoted the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), and lambasted the greed on Wall Street, yet he is one of the main benefactors of the TARP largesse according to a Sacramento Bee story. Buffett endorsed Barack Obama for President last year, and Obama tapped Buffett to be a member of the candidate’s economic team. Obama requently referred to Buffett’s endorsement during the campaign as proof that he had the capability to deal with the troubled US economy.” But I am not surprised. For a so-called "capitalist", every public statement he's ever made and all of his philanthropic endeavors, have always been in support of some socialist cause or other. (READ MORE)

Robert Stacy McCain: The 'logic' of gun control - Cenk Uygur at Huffington Post: "How many shootings do there have to be in the news before we wonder about the wisdom of allowing just about anyone to get a gun in America? Our gun culture is completely out of control." OK, let's be clear that he's talking about the Binghamton massacre (13 victims) and the nut who shot four cops (three fatally) in Pittsburgh. What do we know about these specific cases and the perpetrators? Here is a video about the Binghamton killer: So the Vietnamese immigrant was angry about losing his job and upset that his unemployment checks were too small, and therefore shot a receptionist and 12 fellow immigrants. This makes no sense, and how he got the gun, I don't know. Maybe the Vietnamese have got a "gun culture" problem we need to look into. Now, let's look at the Pittsburgh case, which Dave Neiwert blames on Glenn Beck, but which Cenk Uygur blames on an out-of-control "gun culture." Unfortunately for Niewert and Uygur, the key witness in the case blames . . . the family dog: (READ MORE)

AJStrata: The Obama Defense Budget Makes A Lot Of Sense - The outline of the new DoD budget priorities by the Obama administration is very, very good. The knee-jerk far right will find some marginal issues to moan about - because every large federal plan has marginal issues someone will moan about. But the fact is there is a lot of good stuff in this plan. First in taking care of the troops and funding their needs consistently: “With regard to the troops and their families, I will recommend that we: 1. Fully protect and properly fund the growth in military end strength in the base budget. This means completing the growth in the Army and Marines while halting reductions in the Air Force and the Navy. Accomplishing this will require a nearly $11 billion increase above the FY09 budget level. 2. Continue the steady growth in medical research and development by requesting $400 million more than last year. 3. Recognize the critical and permanent nature of wounded, ill and injured, traumatic brain injury, and psychological health programs. (READ MORE)

In From the Cold: The Nuclear Illusionist - A timely reading assignment from today's edition of The Wall Street Journal. It would be an understatement to say that the Journal's editorial writers hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head. “The truth is that Mr. Obama's nuclear vision has reality exactly backward. To the extent that the U.S. has maintained a large and credible nuclear arsenal, it has prevented war, defeated the Soviet Union, shored up our alliances and created an umbrella that persuaded other nations that they don't need a bomb to defend themselves.” Unfortunately, such distinctions are lost on Mr. Obama and his advisers. With the right amount of persuasion (and few economic carrots), they believe that anyone can be dissuaded from pursuing a nuclear weapons program and the required delivery platforms. And when rogue states break their promises (helloooo, North Korea), it's time to head back to the bargaining table. History teaches that many dictators like to talk, particularly when those discussions are a substitute for more concrete action. In the late 1930s, diplomatic overtures from British politicians like Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were hailed across Europe as the best way to deal with Adolf Hitler. (READ MORE)

Kings of War: Don’t mess with my narrative, dude - Hmmm…perhaps President Karzai needs better advisors. Or maybe he just needs to be reminded the precarious position he finds himself in. This doesn’t need to be a ‘New Jack City’ hanging-off-the-bridge shakedown, but rather a simple whisper into the ear of the ‘Mayor of Kabul’ that without outside help, his days—nay, hours–would be numbered. You see, Afghanistan is no longer a place, or even a conflict. It is a project. To Americans, perhaps, the fight there is about the World Trade Centre and all that, but to most of its Allies, it is very much about ’sending Afghan girls back to school’, ‘no more Burkhas’, and other such things. ‘We’ are in Afghanistan to save it and to turn it into a kinder, gentler, place. Taliban, and their neolithic approach to socio-sexual relations, bad. Karzai, and his post-Loya Jirga re-constructed modern Afghan state good. True or not, that is the ‘poster’ that has allowed Europeans, Brits and Canadians to supply, and have die, their sons and daughters. (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: The American Right to Be Rich - I don't know who first started the phrase 'there's two kinds of people ...', but it really gets on my nerves. It's oversimplifying things, and what's worse, it encourages people to generalize and broadbrush. And then these people are surprised when groups take such behavior further and begin acting like mobs, often racist and xenophobic in their mood. Imagine that. I start with that obnoxious twaddle, because it reflects a rather nasty sort of groupthink. And as happens all too often, that kind of mob mentality plays out in politics. It is the bane of democracy, when an emotional swell carries the people to a mad decision. And in the current climate, it's that recurring poison of class warfare and hatred of success in others. In recent weeks we have seen public attacks of a most unreasonable vituperance against executives of public corporations, banks, and a wide range of successful individuals. (READ MORE)

Orin Kerr: Holder's Obligations and the DC Voting Rights Bill - A lot of conservatives are criticizing AG Eric Holder for apparently taking the position that the DC voting rights law is constitutional when OLC thinks it is not. There's an angle to the story that I haven't seen addressed, though, at least on the right: Does Holder have an obligation to oppose the bill if he thinks its passage is the best step to a constitutional amendment to add DC voting rights? Here's my thinking. We know that AG Holder favors voting rights for DC as a matter of policy. Let's also assume that he knows that the bill is probably going to be struck down. If that's right, Holder may logically believe that the best way to get a constitutional amendment passed to secure DC voting rights would be to have this bill passed into law and then struck down. If the bill is passed, and the Supreme Court strikes it down, the publicity and focus of a Supreme Court case may go a long way towards gathering political support for a constitutional amendment. (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: Do We Restrict Peanuts Because 100 People a Year Die from Allergy? - Here is the nanny state at its most ridiculous. Healthies — people that obsess about health — are on the march in Madison, Wisconsin trying to get the state government to ban people from feeding peanuts to squirrels on the state Capitol grounds. It’s a state emergency, ya know? Why these casually discarded peanuts could just maybe affect a child that has an allergy. We MUST ban the evil peanut to SAVE THE CHILDREN! One would think that people are dropping dead every 5 seconds from peanut allergies with all this energy and focus directed against that monstrous Mr. Peanut. You would think that this important health effort would save uncounted lives, wouldn’t you? Maybe not. Sure, Americans do die yearly from complications of peanut allergies but at a rate of 100 or so a year, the absurd hyperbolic action being sought by the state government in Wisconsin is just plain silly. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Narcissism, Ideology, and Mass Murder - Whenever there is a mass murder outbreak in America, the amateur Psychologists look to find the causes in the ideology of the people they disagree with. When a failed human being in Pittsburgh, spewing anti-Semitism and virulent right wing ravings, murdered four police officers, the left jumped at the opportunity to attribute the murders to his politics. Note the inane comments of Oliver Willis in which he attacks those who have the temerity to suggest that conservatism does not necessarily equate to hate or facilitate mass murder: “The conservative blogs are enraged that people are pointing out that they have and are stoking the fires of an atmosphere of hate that leads to police officers getting killed. As I’ve written for years, this is part of their pattern of behavior in America and for too long we’ve accepted their verbal diarrhea and incitements to violence as honest political dialogue and not the insanity it is.” Apparently Oliver Willis believes that if there are some on the far right who propagate conspiracy theories, then all Conservatives are responsible when one disturbed individual commits mass murder. (READ MORE)

Political Pistachio: President of Political Correctness - Obama, in an attempt to avoid offending Germany, rejects Normandy trip - President Barack Obama rejected visiting Normandy because they didn't want to be seen as giving France special treatment. A White House spokesman was quoted as saying that "we wanted to maintain a balance between the British, Germany, and France." In other words, as the Liberals always try to do, they are trying to be fair to everyone. You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can never make all of the people happy all of the time. So, basically, keeping everyone happy was more important than visiting the site of an American Cemetery established in 1944 just after D-Day where 9,387 Americans are buried. Was this fair to America? Was Obama's decision fair to the memories of our fallen heroes? Since when is being politically correct in a situation where nobody would probably have cared anyway more important than giving your respect as President of the United States to the dead American Military that fought for the protection of freedom? (READ MORE)

Danger Girl: Ramblings of a Madman From The Fool On The Hill - On the day after North Korea test fires a nuclear missile, Pres Obama while holding court in Europe, responds to this action from a rogue Stalinist nation, by suggesting that the US & all it allies banish their nuclear weapons, with the understanding that this "will then give us a greater moral authority to say to Iran, don't develop a nuclear weapon; to say to North Korea, don't proliferate nuclear weapons," President Obama is naive, foolish, idealistic, & irresponsible at the least, dangerous at the worst. He is also a man who clearly does NOT stand by the very words he uttered a day earlier: "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." Unless of course, you're President Barack Hussein Obama, of the United States of America. The next time a celebrity is stalked or threatened in any way or their home is broken into, I would suggest they follow's Obama's nuclear illusion thinking and banish all their private security including bodyguards, and the electric gates, alarms, cameras that protect their property. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: FBI Lab Raises More Questions Than Answers About Nisoor Square Shooting - Frankly, it sounds like crap science geared towards a predetermined political verdict. I think both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration would consider a show trial that results in across-the-board convictions to be in their best diplomatic interests in dealing with the Iraqi government, who have rather foolishly (IMHO) decided to push the issue as a matter of national pride. It takes only a layman's understanding of ballistics and metallurgy to see the obvious questions that the FBI laboratory seems to have failed to adequately answer. I'm not giving Blackwater blanket immunity for their actions in Iraq by any stretch of the imagination, but there are certainly enough questions about the quality of the investigation and the forensic research thus far released: (READ MORE)


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