"Fascism and communism both promise "social welfare," "social justice," and "fairness" to justify authoritarian means and extensive arbitrary and discretionary governmental powers." - F. A. Hayek"

"Life is a Bungling process and in no way educational." in James M. Cain

Jean Giraudoux who first said, “Only the mediocre are always at their best.”

If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law. Sir Winston Churchill

"summum ius summa iniuria" ("More laws, more injustice.") Cicero

As Christopher Hitchens once put it, “The essence of tyranny is not iron law; it is capricious law.”

"Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." Ronald Reagan

"Law is where you buy it." Raymond Chandler

"Why did God make so many damn fools and Democrats?" Clarence Day

"If I feel like feeding squirrels to the nuts, this is the place for it." - Cluny Brown

"Oh, pshaw! When yu' can't have what you choose, yu' just choose what you have." Owen Wister "The Virginian"

Oscar Wilde said about the death scene in Little Nell, you would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

Thomas More's definition of government as "a conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of a commonwealth.” ~ Winston S. Churchill, A History of the English Speaking Peoples

“Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.” ~ Jonathon Swift

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dumbest Person of the Month, possibly on earth, Cindy Sheehan, Truther

This dunce feels (because she does not think) that Dick Cheney is responsible for the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a pasture in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

Cindy Sheehan, Truther - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

28 SEP 2010 07:03 PM

Dave Weigel posts a video of Sheehan hitting a new low by calling 9/11 "an inside job." He asks conservatives to pay attention:

There really was a political/cultural moment when Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq, was an un-touchable, credible activist. Conservatives who attacked her at the time, like Glenn Beck and Mike Gallagher, were criticized for being so gauche. But Sheehan was adopted into other left-wing causes and the broader left really dumped when she ran a quixotic third party campaign against Nancy Pelosi in 2008. I am not, not, not making a one-to-one comparison here, but there is a lesson for tea party activists who are currently and unquestioningly the toast of the conservative elite and the GOP.

A Splendid, Precarious Victory that didn't go far enough- How can 4 Justices fail to comprehend the individual's right to bear arms plainly stated!

There is a long standing myth about the Wild West. The myth is that the West was Wild. Then as today, there were fewer killings in western towns than there were in the eastern big cities. One main reason was that most people in the west were armed.

Gun laws, such as the Sullivan Act in New York City, were not enacted for general crime prevention. They were more typically enacted as race measures to keep guns out of the hands of 'undesirables' meaning Blacks, Jews, Latins.
The irony of it all in the last third of the twentieth century, there was a hidden support for gun control laws as a misguided means of saving blacks from whites. During that period black on black murders increased exponentially. Gun free school zones were enacted enabling mass killings to happen on campuses because it was 'like shooting fish in an 'unarmed' barrel."
The Long Island RR was supposed to be gun free, by law. That made it safe and easy for the black man Colin Ferguson to single out white commuters on the train for killing and reloading for more killing.


John Stossel Links Gun Control to Higher Crime Rates

The best known example of a country which was democratic prior to becoming totalitarian, the Weimar Republic, had restrictive gun laws, which the Nazis actually liberalized with the Reichswaffengesetz in 1938, though they prohibited possession of weapons by Jews shortly thereafter. [26] The gun laws of the Weimar Republic were, however, very ineffective and the constant battles waged between heavily armed radical groups are often given as one factor contributing to the NSDAP's rise to power. [27]

Other countries that were briefly democratic before becoming totalitarian are: countries of the former USSR (e.g., Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, etc.) and many African countries (e.g.Zimbabwe, Angola). All have (and had) restrictive gun laws. In such countries as South Africa and Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), the black majority was prevented from legally owning guns by the white minority, aiding in the establishment of white rule.

The American Spectator : A Splendid, Precarious Victory
By from the September 2010 issue

There is now a class of people in this country who at every turn seek to increase the power of government at the expense of the people's freedom, who in practice have largely inverted the meaning of the Constitution, who hold in contempt the beliefs on which this country was founded and prospered, and who aim to break and retrain American civil society, with themselves in the saddle.

They have rampaged nearly unchecked since the 2008 elections.

It is a thing of beauty, then, when these forces are thrashed and an emphatic victory is won for constitutionalism and the rights of a free and independent people. The case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, decided by the Supreme Court at the end of June, is such a victory.

In McDonald, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms not only against usurpations by the federal government, but also against infringement by states and localities. Disarming the American people is, of course, a central goal of the party of boundless government power. An armed people, determined to retain their guns in private hands, is a forbidding obstacle to oppressive government. Although this court decision will make it harder for them to disarm us, opponents of our constitutional freedoms will relentlessly continue their efforts to choke off, ban, and criminalize gun ownership.

Throughout most of the history of the republic, the Second Amendment's guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms was considered clear and uncontroversial. We were free American citizens; of course we had the right to own rifles, pistols, and shotguns; and the Constitution confirmed that right.

Then an odd thing happened. Principally in the latter third of the 20th century, Congress and many states and cities began imposing increasingly stringent regulation on firearms ownership and use. Confronted by such restrictions, and even by outright gun bans, the courts proved to be of surprisingly little use in protecting the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

A LITTLE LEGAL BACKGROUND is necessary to understand the arguments in that case. As originally ratified, the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, limited only the powers of the federal government. After the Civil War, however, the 14th Amendment was adopted. Among other things, that amendment prohibited the states from abridging the "privileges or immunities" of citizens of the United States. In a separate clause, it also denied to states the power to deprive any person of "life, liberty or property without due process of law."

But what rights, exactly, did these two clauses in the 14th Amendment protect against state invasion? In a series of cases called The Slaughter-House Cases, decided in 1873, the Supreme Court essentially turned the privileges or immunities clause into a dead letter. Beginning in the late 19th century, however, the Court began to examine whether certain provisions of the Bill of Rights should be considered to be "incorporated" into the 14th Amendment's due process clause, and thus become enforceable against states and localities. By the 1960s, the Court had held that nearly all of the provisions of the Bill of Rights were incorporated by the due process clause.

But there was one conspicuous exception: the Second Amendment's protection of the right to keep and bear arms.

McDonald challenged the almost complete ban on handgun ownership and possession that was imposed by the city of Chicago in 1982. Actually, three lawsuits were filed: one by plaintiff Otis McDonald, the Second Amendment Foundation, and several other plaintiffs against the City of Chicago; and two suits by the National Rifle Association and several private individuals against the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park. The trial court entered judgment against the plaintiffs in all cases on grounds that the Second Amendment was not incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, and thus did not apply to the municipal defendants. The federal court of appeals consolidated the cases, and upheld the trial court's action on similar grounds.

The Supreme Court initially granted review only in the McDonald case, but the NRA parties also appeared and filed briefs on the merits as respondents in support of petitioners. Oral argument time for the pro-gun parties was divided between the two groups. The McDonald parties' main argument was certainly audacious: that the Slaughter-House Cases ought to be overruled, and that the Second Amendment should be applied to states and cities under the long-defunct privileges or immunities clause. The NRA parties, by contrast, concentrated on urging the Court to extend incorporation to the Second Amendment under its well-established due process jurisprudence.

During oral argument, counsel for the McDonald parties ran into immediate trouble. About a minute into his presentation, he was interrupted by Chief Justice Roberts, who noted that the privileges or immunities argument was "contrary to the Slaughter-House Cases, which have been the law for 140 years...." Three other justices chimed in right away, with Justice Scalia asking the attorney why he would rely on the privileges or immunities clause "unless you're bucking for [a] place on some law school faculty—."

In short, the privileges or immunities theory was a dead duck from the outset, and though the lawyer for the McDonald parties kept flapping its wings, he couldn't get it to fly. The attorney for the NRA parties had an easier time contending that the Court ought to follow its existing due process doctrines, and incorporate the Second Amendment on that basis.

In the end that's what the plurality of the Court did, in a 5-4 decision. Justice Thomas, in a separate concurrence, based his agreement with the Court's result on the privileges or immunities clause. The four dissenting justices argued that the Second Amendment should not be incorporated at all.

THE CASE DECIDED OR CONFIRMED two crucial points. First, it held that the right to keep and bear arms is incorporated through the 14th Amendment, and restrains the ability of state and local governments to infringe upon firearms rights. Second, the decision made it clear that the right to keep and bear arms is a "fundamental" constitutional right, which invokes the highest level of scrutiny by courts in determining whether restrictions on the right can stand.

McDonald did not directly strike down the Chicago ordinance, but it was obvious that Chicago's handgun ban could not survive under Heller and McDonald. So, four days after the Supreme Court's decision the Chicago city council passed a new ordinance that does not technically ban handguns, but instead piles on restrictions designed to limit the utility of guns for legitimate self-defense, while making firearms ownership extraordinarily difficult, expensive, and fraught with legal peril...

The 14th Amendment was passed in the aftermath of the Civil War primarily to ensure that state and local governments in the South could not deprive blacks of their constitutional and civil rights, including the right to own and use firearms for protection against unlawful violence. The Supreme Court has at long last given teeth to that right. It is surely an irony that Mayor Daley and the city council are now engaged in "massive resistance" to the Court's decision protecting the civil rights of Chicago's residents.

Chicago must be insisting on these draconian restrictions because the handgun ban had been so effective in reducing crime, right? Well, not exactly. Data presented to the Supreme Court compared Chicago's violent crime rate (murder, robbery, and assault) to the average of the other 24 of the 25 largest cities in America. None of the other cities had a handgun ban.

The data showed that when Chicago's handgun ban was enacted in 1982, its violent crime rate was about equal to that of the other 24 cities. After the ban, Chicago's violent crime rate spiked immediately and dramatically compared to the other cities. From 1982 to the present, Chicago's violent crime rate has averaged more than 50 percent higher than the other large cities. The percentage of murders committed with handguns in Chicago varied between roughly 40 percent and 55 percent each year during the pre-ban period of 1965-1981. In recent years, while the handgun ban was in place, the percentage committed with handguns has consistently been 70 percent or more.

So why do the proponents of government power bitterly cling to "no guns and no religion"?

Because their opposition to firearms ownership has nothing to do with reducing crime. The reason they want to ban guns is not that they all happen to be empirically mistaken about how to combat crime. Instead, disarming law-abiding citizens is part of a continuing power grab by an elite who want to subdue the private domain and control our lives.

THE DISSENTING OPINIONS in McDonald provide insights into this mindset. The four dissenting justices made it clear that they would gut the Second Amendment if they only had one more vote on their side.

Justice Stevens in his dissenting opinion posited that "it is a foundational premise of modern government that the State holds a monopoly on legitimate violence." (He sought to attribute that view to Chief Justice Roberts, which was a patent distortion.) But what Justice Stevens considers "a foundational premise of modern government" is diametrically opposed to the views of the Founding Fathers, who believed that every man should be armed, and that free men could legitimately use those arms to defend themselves and to resist tyranny.

According to Justice Breyer's dissent, there is no need for the American people to possess arms to resist tyranny, because the federal government would never tyrannize. Numerous laws, institutions, and the courts forestall "any serious threat of federal tyranny," he assures us. Since the four dissenting justices in Heller and McDonald wished to eviscerate a basic safeguard of the Bill of Rights, we may perhaps be excused in finding cold comfort in the protections offered by the courts against federal oppression.

Justice Stevens sneers at any test for incorporation that examines whether a right is "rooted in our history, tradition, and practice...." Instead, he avers, "liberty" under the 14th Amendment is a "dynamic concept" (citing a law review article written by himself). That "dynamic" liberty just doesn't happen to include the most fundamental right of all. Justice Breyer agrees: "[T]he Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense....Moreover, nothing in 18th-, 19th-, 20th-, or 21st-century history shows a consensus that the right to private armed self-defense, as described in Heller, is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation's history or tradition' or is otherwise ‘fundamental.'"

So there you have it. According to these dissenters, there's nothing fundamental about the right to protect yourself or your family from being killed, and throughout our history not many people have believed in such a right.

In fact, if you are lethally attacked, Justice Stevens is doubtful that you have much of a right to save your life at all. Whatever dubious right you might have is outside the purview of the Constitution and can certainly be taken away by government: "Just because there may be a natural or common-law right to some measure of self defense, it hardly follows that States may not place substantial restrictions on its exercise or that this Court should recognize a constitutional right to the same."

THE GOOD NEWS is that a lawsuit backed by the NRA was filed against the Chicago ordinance on the first business day after this oppressive legislation was enacted. The bad news is that some governmental entities will stop at nothing in their attempts to disarm ordinary citizens.

The Founders of this republic envisioned an independent, responsible, strong, informed, courageous, God-fearing, armed citizenry as the bedrock of freedom. In the Constitution, they delegated only limited, carefully enumerated powers to the federal government, and for good measure provided a list of rights of the people that could never be infringed.

But there are powerful people whose vision is exactly the opposite of the Founders. By their every action, they encourage dependence, irresponsibility, weakness, ignorance, political timidity, and irreligion. And they want to disarm us. The McDonald case is a magnificent victory, but the fight will be a long one, against determined, relentless opponents. 

Dan Peterson is an attorney who practices firearms law in Northern Virginia.

The Egghead - Dems’ Disastrous Model

Since the 1930's 'Brain Trust' whose formation of central planning socialism style for the New Deal, the Democrats have been trying to characterize themselves, with cheer leading from the 90% Dem voting press, as the party of "Intellectuals."
It was emphasised with the 1952 Presidential Campaign of Adlai Stevenson. He was advertised as the "egghead" intellectual by the press. He was called the "egghead" in Time and LIFE articles. The term pervaded the 1950's and early 1960's (now it's nerd).

also see

The Adlai Issue

Is Barack Obama the second coming of that other "elitist" Democratic presidential candidate from Illinios, Adlai Stevenson?

The Dems’ Disastrous Model - National Review Online
The Dems’ Disastrous Model
Calling voters stupid is a losing strategy.

The bookish, twice-unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson once sighed that if most thinking people supported him, it still wouldn’t be enough to get elected in America because “I need a majority.”

For some reason, Democrats have chosen to follow the disastrous model of Stevenson and not that of the feisty, man-of-the-people Missourian Harry Truman — though the former nearly wrecked the party and the latter got elected.

Former president Jimmy Carter likewise seems to feel that he’s still too smart for us. Carter, who turns 86 on Friday, is hitting the news shows to explain why he remains America’s “superior” ex-president — and why more than 30 years ago he was so successful yet so underappreciated as our chief executive.

Most Americans instead remember a very different President Carter, who finished his single term with 18 percent inflation, 18 percent interest rates, 11 percent unemployment, long gas lines, and a world in chaos, from hostage-taking in Teheran to Soviet Communist aggression in Afghanistan and Central America.

Now, John Kerry — who failed to win the presidency in 2004 and recently tried to avoid state sales taxes on his new $7 million yacht — is voicing similar frustrations about Americans’ inability to fathom what their betters are trying to do for them. He is furious that an unsophisticated electorate might not return congressional Democratic majorities in 2010. Kerry laments that “we have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on.” Instead, it falls for “a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.”

In 2006, Kerry warned students that if they did poorly in school, they could “get stuck in Iraq.” He apparently had forgotten that soldiers volunteer for military service and are overwhelmingly high-school graduates.

In the 2008 campaign, Michelle Obama at one point said of her husband’s burden, “Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics.”

That sense of intellectual superiority was channeled by Barack Obama himself when he later tried to explain why his message was not resonating with less astute rural Pennsylvanians: “And it’s not surprising, then, that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

During the recent Ground Zero mosque controversy, Obama returned to that Carter-Kerry sort of condescension. When asked about the overwhelming opposition to the mosque, the president felt again that the unthinking hoi polloi had given into their unfounded fears: “I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society.”

The president often clears his throat with “Let me be perfectly clear” and “Make no mistake about it” — as if we, his schoolchildren, have to be warned to pay attention to the all-knowing teacher at the front of the class.

Disappointed progressive pundits also feel this angst over having to deal with childlike Americans. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently psychoanalyzed the falling support for the president by claiming that “the American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”

Thomas Frank’s best-selling 2004 book What’s the Matter With Kansas? lamented that uninformed voters were easily tricked into voting against their “real” economic interests.

When America votes for a liberal candidate, it is praised by the Left as intelligent — and derided as dense when it does not. We were told not to worry that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner did not pay all his income taxes, since we were lucky to have someone so well educated and experienced in high finance.

Note that few Democratic candidates are running on the health-care bill they passed, promising at the time that it would be appreciated by a suspicious American public. More federal borrowing and amnesty are still pushed under the euphemisms “stimulus” and “comprehensive immigration reform.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the Tea Party was merely a synthetic, Astroturf movement. Professors and preachers may like such sermonizing. But for politicians, it’s a lousy way to get elected. Again, compare the relative fates of the patronizing Adlai Stevenson and the plain-speaking Harry Truman.

For many of today’s liberals, the fact that the president hasto deal with so many Neanderthal know-nothings explains why he can’t, as promised, close Guantanamo, end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or do away with Bush-era renditions, tribunals, and wiretaps, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But current polls suggest that these clueless and unappreciative Americans apparently believe that an elite education does not ensure their officials can balance a budget, pay their own taxes, or speak candidly.

What an outrageous “How-dare-they!” thought.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

No One Wants to Take Los Angeles Rip Off

Public Transportation is not part of LA. It was over half a century ago with the Pacific Electric Red Car System. After WWII it served riders who used it mostly for specific excursions in the days before the City decided to eliminate all LA Metro Rail Systems and expand the Freeways. The City turned to more flexible buses that worked better and then actually enabled the nearly one car per adult ratio in LA. LA grew around the car; its work, services and shopping linkages are designed and built around the car. The City Government wanted to expand freeway access for cars then, as it was facilitated by the Fed for the Interstate Highway system. In the 1970s, with the control on gas prices, thus gas lines, the Federal Government changed its incentives away from cars, back to public transport. Add environmental zealotry and cars became the enemy, especially when Federal funds were involved. Power, control and government contracts are driving policy to stop people from driving. The problem is in Civic Center, Sacramento and Washington, not in the LA drivers. [Mooserider]

Los Angeles Rip Off » The Antiplanner
posted in News commentary, Transportation |

In 2008, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promised voters that extending the city’s Red Line subway would relieve congestion. Voters believed him and supported a sales tax increase to build the line. Now the environmental impact report finds that the subway line will increase rush-hour traffic speeds on parallel streets by, at most, 0.3 mph (p. 3-34). Not surprisingly, some voters — or at least writers at the LA Weekly — feel ripped off.

LA Metro’s response quibbles about the cost of the project. LA Weekly says “Metro plans to use up to $9 billion in sales taxes” on the project, while Metro says the construction cost will be only $4.0 to $4.4 billion. Metro is being disingenuous as both statements can be correct if (as is likely) Metro borrows enough money to incur $4.5 billion or so in interest and finance charges. (Half of the overall payments on a 30-year loan at 5.3 percent turn out to be interest.)

Meanwhile, Metro says nothing about the impacts on traffic. LA Weekly urges that the $9 billion be spent on “county road-capacity projects put off for decades, extensive bus lines to bring the region into the 21st century, and scores of less glitzy projects.” These would be far more cost-effective at reducing congestion.

Still, rail nuts are still claiming that the project is “key to solving traffic problems.” The new EIR proves this wrong. New rail transit lines never relieve congestion because they simply do not attract enough people out of their cars to make a difference. Yet voters often support them because they foolishly believe politicians who lie to them about the benefits of rail. Los Angeles voters should demand that their money be spent more effectively than on a 9.3-mile train tunnel.

Obama's Backyard Visits, Government is the Real Foe

In Obama's Backyard Visits, GOP Is the Absent Foe - US News and World Report
September 29, 2010 AP

DES MOINES, Iowa — A priest expressed concern to President Barack Obama about an unemployed parishioner. A businessman criticized Obama's tax policy. A woman said her son and his friends, once inspired by Obama, "are losing their hope."

Click here to find out more!

Over two days and in four states this week, the president met with people in their backyards to listen to their complaints and hear their fears. He also drew raucous cheers at a college rally.

So Obama does the 'unexpected', He Blames Republicans, What Else!

With his party facing potentially mammoth losses on Nov. 2, Obama is pouring more time into campaigning. In the backyard visits, he used almost every voter comment or question to pivot into a criticism of the GOP's record on taxes, student aid, even home weatherization.

With time running short, Obama also showed a plaintive side. He poked fun at himself and practically begged those who voted for him in 2008 to turn out this fall for congressional and gubernatorial Democratic candidates.

"I know times are tough," he told thousands of students at the University of Wisconsin on Tuesday. In 2008, he said, "the feeling was, well, this is just exciting. You got those nice 'Hope' posters."

"Sometimes it feels a long way from the hope and excitement that we felt on Election Day," he said, but young voters' involvement "can't end with the vote that you cast in 2008."

At a backyard gathering Wednesday in Des Moines, a woman said her college-graduate son and his friends "are losing their hope."

Obama cited his administration's steps to expand student loans, spur private job growth and promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

A man who described himself as a small-business owner manufacturing promotional items such as T-shirts and lawn signs criticized Obama's plans for allowing tax cuts on income over $250,000 a year to expire.

"As the government gets more and more involved in business and more and more involved in taxes, what you're finding is you're strangling those job creation vehicles," he said.

The president disputed that, saying he's already signed eight pieces of legislation providing small business tax cuts.

Showing some frustration, Obama said: "Your taxes haven't gone up in this administration. Your taxes have gone down in this administration. There's a notion that, well, he's a Democrat so your taxes must have gone up. That's just not true."

The only thing that is not true is WHAT OBAMA SAID! The taxes on business have gone up in hidden fees, added taxes hidden in Obamacare and the the most insidious of all, the stolen time in new regulations, forms and complying with added bureaucracy!

Obama was claiming that he implemented eight new small business TX cuts, but these were only given for complying with new regulations or making specific purchase. They were added burdens in paper work, not reductions, but credits only for specific compliance to new regulations and more government bureaucrats.

It is obvious that, either out of sinister design or ignorance, Obama is lying.

A priest told Obama of a parishioner who lost his job in manufacturing and can't find a new one. The president said that some manufacturing jobs won't come back and the parishioner might need to develop new skills to work in growth sectors like clean energy.

Even in an election season, the president said, he can't always tell people what they want to hear. Moving forward will take "some tough but necessary adjustments," he said.

In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., essentially called the president's efforts a sham. For the past 18 months, he said in the Senate, Americans have watched "a governing party that was more or less completely uninterested in what the governed had to say about the direction of our country."

Dogs Know-This says it all!

Warning Signs: Dogs Know
from Alan Caruba
Dogs Know
Have you ever heard that a dog 'knows' when an earthquake is about to hit?

Have you ever heard that a dog can 'sense' when a tornado is stirring up, even 20 miles away?

Do you remember hearing that before the December tsunami struck Southeast

Asia , dogs started running frantically away from the seashore, at breakneck speed?

Do you know that dogs can detect cancer and other serious illnesses and danger of fire?

Somehow they always know when they can 'go for a ride' before you even ask. How do those dogs and cats get home from hundreds of miles away?

I'm a firm believer that animals - and especially cats anddogs - have keen insights into the Truth.

And you can't tell me that dogs can't sense a potentially terrible disaster well in advance.

Simply said, a dog just KNOWS when something isn't right... when impending doom is upon us.

They'll always try to warn us!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

President's latest utterance about FOX News in 'Rolling Stone'

The American Spectator : Close Chavez
We live in a surreal time. The Presidency we are experiencing does not merely bend the rules of civility, it alters the outlines of reality. The danger posed by someone filling the vessels of our national institutions with bad content is limited. The next custodian of the vessels can refill them more healthily. The greatest danger occurs when the vessels are smashed or vitiated by misuse. There is no guarantee that a successor will be able to effectuate repair.

I want to say that I am shocked by the President's latest utterance about FOX News, but I fear that we have moved past shock into numbness. Mister Obama, in a chatty colloquy with the publisher of Rolling Stone, while being treated with deference befitting a royal, thought it sporting to hound FOX. That network is destructive to America, he said, hawking a clearly discernible viewpoint like the Hearst papers of yore. It has been a successful strategy in fiscal terms, he noted: "wildly successful as an economic enterprise." Good for Rupert Murdoch, bad for America. (Well, shiver me timbers, our fearless President has managed to unmask yet another profiteer!)

The idea that the journalism at FOX is unique by species is specious. The news is presented fairly and a rightward tilt often peeks through, no more prominently than the leftward tilt at CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN et al. Yet even if it were somehow more egregiously skewed, how is this destructive when so many viewing options are available? Remember, this fox came to the table last, long after the wolves had been seated. Who can reasonably argue that having one strident right-wing voice amid a gaggle of left-wing voices, or even amid neutral voices, is to inject a moral havoc into the culture?

Furthermore, everyone is aware that 89-91 percent of journalists covering Washington admit to voting Democrat. This is not seen to pose any threat to balance. Why would anyone accuse them of coloring the news to suit their views? (Not to get sidetracked here by citing the recent Journolist scandal, where many of the nation's top reporters admitted -- to each other, at any rate -- that they were fighting for liberal objectives under the pose of objectivity.)

Interesting, also, that Obama detects no incongruity in saying that this model for news delivery is wildly successful while being so destructive. What is the secret of this success? Why are large quantities of people drawn to this approach? The implication here is that there is some pandering to the demons within people, that Murdoch is an urbane upscale pornographer. He is giving his audience permission to be selfish, greedy, grasping, bigoted, xenophobic, as Rosalynn Carter once said of Reagan. They are coming to Murdoch to buy indulgences, as Martin Luther once said of the Catholic hierarchy.

So upon examination, the vehicle is not intrinsically destructive. Because if you had a Hearst-style liberal network (of which Obama can locate none), and if it were to attract a lot of viewers, that would not be pandering. That would be edifying. The people who signed up as viewers would not be patting themselves on the back. No, they would be volunteering to hear of new responsibilities and duties they might otherwise have shirked. They would be bettering themselves and the world.

Obama should admit that he does not really find the Hearst style destructive. He just does not like the particular viewpoint that FOX advances. And now -- hold on to your hats -- he does admit that! In the very same interview, he turns around and says that it is promoting a destructive viewpoint. Get it? He could not keep up the fa├žade of being outraged by one-sided reporting either way. He can live with one-sided when it is his side.

Back to our larger point. To use the Presidential bully pulpit as a blunt instrument against a news organization, to label its approach destructive, to label its content destructive, that is -- to coin a phrase -- destructive. Think back to our first clue that Hugo Chavez was an autocrat, bent on subverting those national institutions which did not refract his glory. It was when he came out against various newspapers and television stations, saying much the same things as our own El Presidente.

This President has again set a bad precedent. When I meet him next, in the polling booth in 2012, I hope it will not be too late to tell him what I think: "Hugo!"

Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator. He also writes for Human Events. Here he performs his original composition, "Buy You (Bayou) a Drink".

Threat of New Terrorist Attack - CIA Steps Up Missile Strikes in Pakistan

CIA Steps Up Missile Strikes in Pakistan - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010

Drones Target Terror Plot

CIA Strikes Intensify in Pakistan Amid Heightened Threats in Europe

WASHINGTON—In an effort to foil a suspected terrorist plot against European targets, the Central Intelligence Agency has ramped up missile strikes against militants in Pakistan's tribal regions, current and former officials say.

The strikes, launched from unmanned drone aircraft, represent a rare use of the CIA's drone campaign to preempt a possible attack on the West.

The terror plot, which officials have been tracking for weeks, is believed to target multiple countries, including the U.K., France, and Germany, these officials said.

The exact nature of the plot or plots couldn't be learned immediately, and counterterrorism officials in the U.S., Pakistan and Europe are continuing to investigate. There have, however, been multiple terror warnings in recent days in France, Germany and the U.K.

"There are some pretty notable threat streams," said one U.S. military official, who added that the significance of these threats is still being discussed among counterterrorism officials but that threats of this height are unusual.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano plans to discuss the current European terrorism intelligence with her European counterparts at a U.N. aviation security meeting this week in Montreal. "We are in constant contact with our colleagues abroad," she told a Senate panel last week. "We are all seeing increased activity by a more diverse set of groups and a more diverse set of threats. That activity, much of which is Islamist in nature, is directed at the West generally."

The CIA has launched at least 20 drone strikes so far this month in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, a lawless region neighboring Afghanistan. That is the highest monthly total in the past six years, according to a tally by the New America Foundation think tank. The previous monthly high was 12 strikes in January, following the December suicide attack that killed seven CIA agents on an agency base in eastern Afghanistan.

The latest known drone strike occurred Monday, hitting a house in Northwestern Pakistan. Four people were killed in that attack, the Associated Press reported.

Separately, Pakistan on Monday protested NATO helicopter strikes that killed more than 70 militants, saying the attacks breached its air space. NATO said it attacked in self defense. Unlike the CIA drone strikes, manned attacks are rare in the region.

Not all of the drone strikes in the latest wave are connected to the suspected European plot. But many have targeted militants who are part of the Haqqani network, a militant group connected to al Qaeda. The group controls a key region abutting Afghanistan, where U.S. defense and intelligence officials believe Osama bin Laden could be hiding.

Since al Qaeda has been under pressure from the drone campaign and other counterterrorism operations, it has come to rely increasingly on affiliates in the region as well as in countries like Yemen and Somalia. The failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound Northwest flight, for example, was hatched in Yemen, authorities believe.

Last week, France stepped up its level of vigilance over what was thought could be an imminent al Qaeda threat. Authorities said that they had uncovered a suicide bombing plot to attack the Paris subway linked to al Qaeda's North African affiliate. They said the threat might be connected to France's recent vote to ban the wearing of burqas, the head-to-toe garb worn by the most conservative Muslim women.

Earlier this month, the Eiffel Tower was evacuated due to a bomb scare, but that was determined to be a false alarm.

In recent weeks, intelligence officials in the U.K. have issued warnings that the al Qaeda threat remains high.

While it couldn't be learned who is believed to be behind the plot against European targets, the targeting of the Haqqani network suggests it could be involved.

"There have been some actionable targets, including Haqqani targets, that have presented themselves," said one U.S. military official.

If the Haqqani network were involved in a European terror plot, it would be the first known instance where it sought to launch attacks outside of South Asia, said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University who has written extensively on terrorism. The Haqqani group's involvement would be particularly worrisome, he said, because "you're talking about one of the more skilled and competent groups spreading its wings." The Haqqani network is also believed to have been involved in the December attack on the CIA base.

A U.S. official declined to speak about the strikes this month or a connection to the suspected European plot. The official vowed to continue to keep the pressure on al Qaeda and affiliated militant groups in Pakistan.

"Our operational tempo has been up for a while now, we have good information driving it, and—given the stakes involved—we hope to keep the pressure on as long as we can," the official said. "The mix of threats isn't new. Sometimes it's groups like the Haqqanis, and sometimes it's al Qaeda or the Afghan or Pakistani Taliban."

U.S. officials believe that conducting attacks in an area where militants are present can disrupt planned attacks, even if they do not hit the precise cells plotting the attack.

In advance of the Afghan elections, the military increased both targeted special operations attacks against Taliban leaders, and increased more general operations in areas considered insurgent strongholds, in hopes of making it more difficult for militants to attack polling centers on the day of the election.

While targeting militants involved in planning an attack is the most effective way to disrupt a plot, stepped up operations forces other militants to communicate less and act more carefully, making it more difficult for them to carry out plans.

"The strikes are a product of precise intelligence and precise weapons," the official said. "We've been hitting targets that pose a threat to our troops in Afghanistan and terrorists plotting attacks in South Asia and beyond."

The drone campaign has come under increasing legal pressure in recent months, with civil-liberties and human-rights groups filing suit to press for more transparency about the campaign.

—Julian E. Barnes contributed to this article.

Write to Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com