Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How's the Arab Spring Working Out, President Obama?

Lot’s of people, mostly liberals, credited President Obama’s Cairo speech on June 4, 2009 (the highlight of his apology tour) as the spark that set off the Arab Spring.

However, the Arab Spring that the Obama Administration supported so strongly is blowing up in all our faces, as many, including John Bolton, strongly warned would happen. We now have an Egyptian leader who wants to break the Camp David peace with Israel, strengthen ties with Iran, support violent jihad, and subject all Egyptian citizens to the barbaric Sharia law.

Meanwhile, after several years of peace, rocket attacks from Egypt into Israel have resumed, and natural gas shipments to Israel are being sabotaged. With Mubarak’s protection lost, Coptic Christians are being murdered, and other non-Muslims throughout Egypt are in grave danger.

How’s Your Support for the Arab Spring working out, President Obama?

By the way, other than Fox News, you will not hear of the rants against Israel and the call to Jihad by Egypt’s new president on any mainstream news outlet. Why is that?

Morsi To Re-Think Israel, Build Ties With Iran

From the Agence France-Presse

Egypt’s Morsi ‘to rethink Israel pact, build Iran ties’

June 24, 2012

Egypt’s Islamist president-elect, Mohamed Morsi, wants to "reconsider" the peace deal with Israel and build ties with Iran to "create a strategic balance" in the Middle East, according to an interview published by Iran’s Fars news agency on Monday.

The stated goals are certain to alarm Israel and its ally the United States as they adapt to the new direction Egypt will chart with Morsi at the helm.

These goals might alarm the people of the US, but maybe not its current administration.

They could also boost Iran’s influence in the Middle East at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and the West.

"We will reconsider the Camp David Accord" that, in 1979, forged a peace between Egypt and Israel that has held for more than three decades, Morsi was quoted as telling a Fars reporter in Cairo on Sunday, just before his election triumph was announced.

He said the issue of Palestinian refugees returning to homes their families abandoned in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the 1967 Six-Day War "is very important"…

Only professional journalists could be should be surprised at this.

Morsi also said he was ready to improve ties with Iran. The Islamic republic broke off diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1980, a year after Cairo signed the peace deal with the Jewish state.

"Part of my agenda is the development of ties between Iran and Egypt that will create a strategic balance in the region," Morsi was quoted as saying…

Iran’s foreign ministry on Sunday welcomed Morsi’s triumph. Its message made no mention, however, of Iran and Egypt resuming diplomatic ties.

That they are running articles about it in their news outlets should be enough.

Iran’s clerical leadership contends that the Arab Spring that toppled veteran Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak and other longtime US allies in the Arab world last year was inspired by its own 1979 Islamic revolution…

But you can be sure that Mr. Morsi’s statements are only the beginning.

He has much bigger plans for the people of Egypt, which were reported in an article from Russia Today, back in May 13, 2012:

Egypt presidential candidate seeks Constitution based on Sharia Law

May 13, 2012

Egypt’s Constitution should be based on the Koran and Sharia law, presidential candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement Mohamed Morsi said.

“The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal,” Morsi said in his election speech before Cairo University students on Saturday night.

Today Egypt is close as never before to the triumph of Islam at all the state levels, he said.

“Today we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals,” he said…

So nobody can pretend that they weren’t told by the man himself what he wanted to do.

Ironically, lest we forget, it was to the students of Cairo University that Obama gave his world famous ‘Cairo Speech,’ back on June 4, 2009, which some claim inspired the Arab Spring.

Though, as the AFP article above notes, the Iranians say that their ‘revolution’ has been the real inspiration for ‘Arab Spring.’ And when you look at the results in Tunisia, and Libya and now Egypt it is hard not to agree with the Iranians.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

We're Not Stupid; Stop Blaming Bush

That Democrats are trying to blame Bush for the horrendous scandal known as “Fast and Furious” is not surprising – and nothing new. Obama has been blaming Bush for the collapse of the housing bubble and the resulting disintegration of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO’s) and Credit Default Swaps (CDS’s). This led to the collapse of the financial sector of our economy and a terrible recession. Blaming Bush for this makes about as much sense as blaming Bush for “Fast and Furious”. Blaming Bush for this makes about as much sense as blaming Rudy Giuliani for 9/11.

We survived the Clinton recession and had prosperity and high employment during the Bush years; unemployment averaged under 5%. Remember?

It wasn’t Bush or Bush Republicans who forced banks and other mortgage lenders to loan home-mortgage money to deadbeats. It was Democrat politicians.

It wasn’t George Bush who was the top recipient of campaign contributions from highly-paid executives of Fannie May and Freddie Mac. It was Barack Obama.

The only case that can be made against Bush for this disaster concerns the oversight of financial markets that was the responsibility of the Republican Administration. It could have and should have been better, but what people are conveniently forgetting is that home mortgages have always been considered like gold – second only in quality to US Treasury Bonds. CDO’s are collections of portions of home mortgages; what could be safer?

It wasn’t Republicans who 17 times denied Bush the tools to rein in Fannie May and Freddie Mac. It was Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, both recipients of huge contributions from executives of these agencies.

People are also forgetting that the Democrats won both houses of Congress in 2006 – and were basically running the country after January, 2007, the year the bubble exploded.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Don’t let Dems Confuse Fast and Furious with Wide Receiver

Aside from the philosophic reasons why I am a Republican, it also made me proud to be one when Republican leaders marched into President Nixon’s office and said, “You have to go”. Democrats are so different. When one of their own is caught red-handed in some scandal, they close ranks, they spin, and they lie. This is what they did with Bill Clinton; this is what they did with Jim Wright; this is what they did with Charles Rangel; Barney Frank, Tim Geithner, etc., etc., etc., and this is what they are trying to do with “Fast and Furious”.

What they are trying to do is conflate “Fast and Furious” with a similar, but very different program under President Bush called, “Wide Receiver” “Wide Receiver” was a program that closely followed a small number of guns that went to Mexico; it was done in cooperation with the Mexican government; few guns were unaccounted for; lots of bad guys were arrested; and no lives were lost. Under “Fast and Furious”, thousands of guns were sold to Mexican outlaws; it was not done as a cooperative effort with Mexico; the guns were not followed and were lost; and then two guns turned up linked to the murder of two US Border Patrol agents.

The motivation of “Wide Receiver” was to identify and arrest some bad guys; the motivation of “Fast and Furious” seems to be to cause such mayhem as to jolt Americans into supporting gun control.

If you ask Yahoo what the difference was, this is the answer you get:

Why are people comparing Bushes operation to fast and furious?

Fast and Furious was an extension of the 'Wide Receiver' operation that Bush's AG started - Nope!!

That program was done in cooperation with the Mexican government with agents on both sides intent on making arrests AND stopping the guns from getting across the border. They lost a total of TWELVE guns, and closed down the operation. F&F lost THOUSANDS of guns, the Mexican government was never told of the operation, and no attempts were made to either make arrests OR stop the guns from going over the border. HUNDREDS of deaths are directly related to F&F, with guns being left at the scene of the murders or captured.

On Fast & Furious, "Blame Bush" is a Lie

By Guy Benson 6/20/2012  (Excerpt)

"Throughout today's House Oversight Committee hearings on possible contempt charges for Attorney General Eric Holder, Democrat members repeatedly asserted and imtimated that the deadly gun-running program had originated under the previous administration. Their clear aim was to muddy the waters on who is ultimately culpable for this blood-stained travesty, to suggest that Republicans are engaged in a shameless partisan witch hunt, and to feed the pliant mainstream media a handy alternate narrative as they begin to cover the controversy. Katie documented why this variant of "Blame Bush!" isn't remotely applicable to Fast & Furious in her book, and former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy exposed and distilled the Left's deliberate obtuseness on this subject last November:

The key to [Democrats'] strategy is conflating two very different programs: Operation Fast & Furious and a Bush era ATF initiative known as “Operation Wide Receiver.” In the questions from Judiciary Committee Democrats (principally, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer — there may have been others but, again, I didn’t see the entire hearing), it emerged that Wide Receiver began in 2006, when Alberto Gonzales was the Bush administration attorney general...Wide Receiver actually involved not gun-walking but controlled delivery. Unlike gun-walking, which seems (for good reason) to have been unheard of until Fast & Furious, controlled delivery is a very common law enforcement tactic. Basically, the agents know the bad guys have negotiated a deal to acquire some commodity that is either illegal itself (e.g., heroin, child porn) or illegal for them to have/use (e.g., guns, corporate secrets). The agents allow the transfer to happen under circumstances where they are in control — i.e., they are on the scene conducting surveillance of the transfer, and sometimes even participating undercover in the transfer. As soon as the transfer takes place, they can descend on the suspects, make arrests, and seize the commodity in question — all of which makes for powerful evidence of guilt. Senator Schumer’s drawing of an equivalence between “tracing” in a controlled-delivery situation and “tracing” in Fast & Furious is laughable. In a controlled delivery firearms case, guns are traced in the sense that agents closely and physically follow them — they don’t just note the serial numbers or other identifying markers. The agents are thus able to trace the precise path of the guns from, say, American dealers to straw purchasers to Mexican buyers.

To the contrary, Fast & Furious involved uncontrolled deliveries — of thousands of weapons. It was an utterly heedless program in which the feds allowed these guns to be sold to straw purchasers — often leaning on reluctant gun dealers to make the sales. The straw purchasers were not followed by close physical surveillance; they were freely permitted to bulk transfer the guns to, among others, Mexican drug gangs and other violent criminals — with no agents on hand to swoop in, make arrests, and grab the firearms. The inevitable result of this was that the guns have been used (and will continue to be used) in many crimes, including the murder of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent. In sum, the Fast & Furious idea of “trace” is that, after violent crimes occur in Mexico, we can trace any guns the Mexican police are lucky enough to seize back to the sales to U.S. straw purchasers … who should never have been allowed to transfer them (or even buy them) in the first place. That is not law enforcement; that is abetting a criminal rampage."

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Stake in the Heart of Gun Control

There are so many of life’s issues where there is a disconnect between the actual data and most liberals’ beliefs that it’s always a source of amusement and amazement to me. Gun control is one of them. Over the past thirty years, state after state has authorized gun carry permits for law-abiding citizens who qualify. After every state has taken this step, the violent crime rate has decreased substantially, while gun crimes by permit holders are practically non-existent. Here is an overall report:

Gun ownership up, crime down

FBI violent-crime rates show safer nation with more gun owners

By Emily Miller June 19, 2012 The Washington Times

Gun-control advocates are noticeably silent when crime rates decline. Their multimillion-dollar lobbying efforts are designed to manufacture mass anxiety that every gun owner is a potential killer. The statistics show otherwise.

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that violent crime decreased 4 percent in 2011. The number of murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults all went down, continuing a pattern.

"This is not a one-year anomaly, but a steady decline in the FBI's violent-crime rates," said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association. "It would be disingenuous for anyone to not credit increased self-defense laws to account for this decline."

Mr. Arulanandam pointed out that only a handful of states had concealed-carry programs 25 years ago, when the violent-crime rate peaked. Today, 41 states either allow carrying without a permit or have "shall issue" laws that make it easy for just about any noncriminal to get a permit. Illinois and Washington, D.C., are the only places that refuse to recognize the right to bear arms. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence did not respond to requests for comment.

If the gun grabbers were right, we'd be in the middle of a crime wave, considering how many guns are on the streets. "Firearms sales have increased substantially since right after the 2008 election," said Bill Brassard, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents the $4 billion firearms and ammunition industry. "There was a leveling off in 2010, but now we're seeing a surge again."

The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) serves as one of the best indicators of gun sales because it counts each time someone buys a gun. Checks hit an all-time high of 16.5 million last year. In the first five months of this year, the numbers have gone up 10 percent over the same period last year as Americans rush to the gun store in case President Obama decides to exercise "more flexibility" in restricting guns in a second term.

Gun manufacturing is the one private-sector industry "doing fine" on Mr. Obama's watch. Sturm, Ruger & Co. sold 1 million firearms in the first quarter of 2012 - an amazing 50 percent increase from the first quarter of 2011. The jump was so steep that the company stopped accepting orders from March to May to catch up with demand for its products.

Last month, Smith & Wesson announced a firearm-order backlog of approximately $439 million by the end of April, up 135 percent from the same quarter in 2011. Sales in that period were up 28 percent from 2011 and 14 percent over its own predictions to investors. NSSF estimates the industry is responsible for approximately 180,000 jobs and has an annual impact on the U.S. economy of $28 billion.

Mr. Obama could honestly take credit for this jobs program, economic boost and the reduction in violent crime that has followed the spike in gun ownership on his watch. Instead, he's silent about his greatest positive accomplishment.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Making Sense of the Birth Certificate

I’m one of those only slightly-touched people who has come to believe that Obama was born in Hawaii (therefore I’m not a Birther), but that he is hiding something, and the birth certificate he submitted to the American people is a fake. Here is an article that tries to make some sense out of all this, but shows that we have not yet gotten to the heart of the matter.  To see the evidence, follow the link to the original article, and then follow the links it contains:
      Piercing the Cone of Silence

By Nick Chase June 12, 2012 American Thinker

Barack Obama was undoubtedly born in Hawaii in 1961 - verified not just by his own word (for whatever that's worth), but by the automatic triggering of the registration of his birth in the public State of Hawaii birth index, and by the contemporaneous printing of his birth announcement in the local newspaper, and by eyewitnesses, and by his father's student-visa INS records.

But 13 months ago I found myself among the skeptics who felt that the president was hiding something because of the two years of stonewalling before he released to the public an image of what he claimed was his long-form birth certificate, under pressure because the issue was turning into a political liability for him.

Like most folks, when this document was released, showing a hospital birth with family and medical information, I assumed that the question was settled. I was satisfied.

And I wasn't the only person satisfied at the time. Most all of the public, and everybody in the mainstream media, accepted the image as genuine. There was a brief flurry of interest when Adobe Photoshop aficionados revealed that the PDF had "layers," but the White House said the computer scan of the "birth certificate" was with optical-character-recognition logic turned on, and that created the layers. Sloppy -- but believable (if you didn't pursue the issue further).

At that point, most everybody stopped looking. The mainstream media categorized anybody who thought the PDF might be fake as a "crazy birther." The internet sources that we rely on for facts, and, also stopped looking.

Let's be honest -- given the charged political atmosphere, with Donald Trump revealing his long-form birth certificate for political advantage and with a biased press eager to torpedo Trump's pubescent presidential campaign, in the process instantly marginalizing anybody who might have agreed with Trump -- it would be very natural for everybody to stop looking at this point.

The only people who persisted were those who felt that the president is a fraud (on many levels, not just with the "birth certificate") and were determined to prove it. Now, while I felt that the issue had been settled, I always remain curious and receptive to new information -- and what I discovered was that while you might not like the messengers, the research they were performing was valid, because it was based on the document (the digital PDF forgery) itself, not on the biased opinions of people commenting on it without first examining the evidence contained within the document.

I must admit to having had a mental reluctance at that point to accept the possibility of a forged birth certificate. After all, the president was clearly born in Hawaii, so there would be no need to release a fake -- just release the real thing and let the speculation die down. Furthermore, I thought, the president wouldn't have the balls to release a document that could be proven fake. If he did, and the forgery was discovered, and that information became widely known, it would put his presidency at risk. He wouldn't take that chance.

So I began to study the PDF image myself, specifically looking for flaws that didn't require computer expertise or software to understand. By late July 2011 I had developed my "pitch test" which proves forgery (Figure F in "Oblivious to the Obvious," published by American Thinker on April 10, 2012, and the subsequently published Figure FD in "Birth Certificate Whac-A-Mole").

I thought other people might be interested in what I had uncovered. But I had a problem: there was nowhere to publish my findings. The cone of silence that had descended on this story was so enveloping -- so overpowering -- that the subject was taboo even in conservative circles. No publisher would be able to even mention the possibility of forgery, much less research it, for fear of irreparably tarnishing the publication's reputation.

This cone of silence began to crack this spring -- first on March 22, when Lord Christopher Monckton (a Britisher very knowledgeable about climate change and a former policy adviser for Margaret Thatcher's government) said on the Dennis Miller radio show, "And the birth certificate -- I do know that birth certificate isn't genuine -- It appears in layers on the screen in such a way you can remove quite separately each of the individual dates. You use Adobe Illustrator and each of the individual dates is in its own separate layer. This thing has been fabricated -- But the point is, is what he [Obama] has done on the White House website is he has put up a document which is plainly a forgery and I would regard that as a very serious matter." Lord Monckton has the advantage of being beyond the reach of an IRS audit, so he could say what he really thought.

Next, on March 23, was syndicated columnist Diana West's must-read "Silence of the Lapdogs," which took to task the mainstream media for ignoring Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio's "cold case posse" report on the forgery. Most of her syndicated outlets declined to publish this column; it appeared in a few smaller newspapers across the country.

Her comments, as well as Lord Moncton's, were echoed by Thomas Lifson, editor of American Thinker, on March 23, when he concluded: "One does not have to believe that Obama was born in Kenya to be disturbed by the evidence of a digitally-constructed birth certificate being passed off as authentic by a president. Those who are more worried about their public image and about being attacked by the media and political establishment than about getting at the truth will in the end be judged by their actions. Facts are facts, and Sheriff Joe's cold case posse has come up with facts that will not be silenced or controverted by social pressure. History will render its verdict on Obama, his critics, and his defenders."

Then, on March 24, respected author and writer Roger Kimball, in discussing Diana West's column, wrote: "The most effective form of censorship is also the quietest. It operates not by actively proscribing speech but by rendering certain topics hors de combat, literally undiscussable. It does this by propagating an atmosphere of revulsion and taboo. Ordinary censorship prohibits the dissemination of particular opinions or bits of information. The more subtle engine of silence I have in mind goes further. It stanches not only the flow of speech but also the flow of thought. Ordinary censorship occupies itself with the results of human curiosity. What I am talking about attacks human curiosity itself."

On March, 25 in his American Thinker article "Calling out self-censorship on the right," Lifson wrote: "An insidious form of self-censorship has gripped not only the mainstream media but most of the conservative media as well. All Americans who believe in the quest for the truth should be concerned that a rigid taboo is being enforced to prevent the discussion of serious evidence that the President of the United States has presented documents that were constructed on a computer as his genuine birth certificate." With this story, plus stories on presidential eligibility by Monte Kuligowski that were published in American Thinker, I felt that at last there was a conservative publisher (not tarnished with the "kooky birther" moniker) willing to pierce the cone of silence.

So I then wrote and submitted my first article, "Oblivious to the Obvious," which was published on April 10, and which has led me to author a series of articles on the Obama "birth certificate" forgery, of which this is the fifth.

Have we reached the point where the forgery can be discussed by conservative commentators, and where it can be researched, while the authors and researchers retain their respectability? I think so -- marginally. I would be happier if more of this information were syndicated and if it appeared in print, not just electronically on the internet -- but it's a beginning. Have we reached the point where the liberal media are willing to review the research rather than shut down discussion by labeling its proponents kooks and racists? No way.

If you have been reading my articles, along with the articles by Thomas Lifson and Monte Kuligowski and others, you know by now that the Obama long-form "birth certificate" is forged.

You also know that you put your own reputation for credibility at risk if you try to show others the evidence you've seen. The cone of silence suppressing the truth has been so powerful that you will automatically be guilty by association with the "lunatic fringe" should you even dare to bring up the topic. It is impossible to open the mind of somebody trapped by this cone of silence; that person's mind is made up -- facts and evidence are irrelevant, case closed. But you know the truth -- if others won't listen, that's their problem. Don't make it yours, and you will sleep well at night.

My wife says I've become obsessed with the topic. She's right. I am obsessed partly because there have been very, very few instances in my life where I know I'm right on a subject (because it's within my area of expertise) and most of the rest of the world is wrong -- but this is one of those times. My sense of self-worth compels me to prove it, even in the face of nasty appellations being hurled at me.

I am also obsessed because we have here a real-life mystery -- a bold scam, but also a scam that is tenuous because it relies on the silence of the media for its perpetuation (and the media can be fickle). What is it, exactly, on the genuine long-form birth certificate that is so politically inconvenient that the public is not allowed to see it? We do not yet know -- and because we don't know the motive for releasing the forgery, it's that much harder to convince others to take a look for themselves, even when the physical evidence overwhelmingly supports our view.

Nick Chase is a retired but still very active technical writer, technical editor, computer programmer, and stock market newsletter writer. During his career he has produced documentation on computers, typewriters, typesetters, headline-makers, and other pieces of equipment most people never heard of, and he has programmed typesetting equipment. You can read more of his work at

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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Another Day, Another Outrage

I am really burned out hearing about and often writing about the outrages that continue to flow, on a daily basis, from the Obama White House. If it’s not Eric Holder lying about the “Fast and Furious” scandal, it’s the activities of Valerie Jarrett and the other communist, departed Val Jones. If it’s not the $500 billion taken from Medicare to finance Obamacare, it’s the unconstitutional swindling of the Chrysler and GM bondholders and also the edict to religious institutions on contraception and abortion.

Now, today, we learn of the hanging-out-to-die treatment of the Pakistani doctor and the leaking of the computer-virus scheme against the Iranian nuclear-weapons program. All done to enhance Obama’s reputation. Even Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein has had it.

We need an independent Special Prosecutor, not two hired stooges from Holder's Justice Department to investigate and prosecute.


Lee Smith June 18, 2012 The Weekly Standard

The Justice Department has launched an investigation into the White House’s handling of classified information. The spur seems to have been the June 1 New York Times article by David Sanger, sourced to current and former U.S. officials, revealing sensitive details about the Stuxnet and Flame computer worms and other parts of the Obama administration’s cyber campaign to disrupt and spy on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. By the way, none of the officials, according to Sanger, “would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.”

Last week, legislators on both sides of the aisle deplored the administration’s inability, or unwillingness, to keep national security secrets. Leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees—Senators Saxby Chambliss and Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Mike Rogers and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger—released a statement noting, “We have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities, including specific details of sources and methods.”

In his June 8 press conference Obama tried to push back against the gathering storm. “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive,” he said. “It’s wrong.”

The president and the New York Times can’t both be right. If the president is correct, then the paper of record, which has so far seemed to be a willing receptacle for the administration’s leaks, must be printing fabrications. Last month the same newspaper detailed how the president directs U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen based on a classified “kill list” of terror suspects, a story based on information from “three dozen” of the president’s “current and former advisers.” So the latest Times article on Iran, revealing what the administration has now tacitly acknowledged as a joint U.S.-Israeli program, looks to be merely the most recent installment in a campaign of intentional leaks damaging to our national security.

The administration, needless to say, sees things differently. From the perspective of Obama’s handlers, and perhaps of their friends in the press, these leaks are spellbinding episodes in a Hollywood-worthy narrative of the president as ever-vigilant superhero, with his finger on the button, ready at a moment’s notice to bring the full weight of American power to bear on our adversaries, so that we may all sleep safely at night. It’s epic, all right. But it’s spin.

All White Houses engage in political stagecraft, but this is something else. The Obama administration can rightly claim the crown of laurels for killing Osama bin Laden—even if the program and personnel that brought down the al Qaeda chief were in place long before Obama came to office. But due credit was not enough for the Obama team. To craft a story about a heroic president and his leading part in American history, the administration rolled out the red carpet for moviemakers like Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow, and gorged the working press with details. It was this information that disclosed the role of a local doctor whose efforts on behalf of an American clandestine operation earned him a 33-year sentence in a Pakistani prison.

That physician is not the only casualty of the White House’s vanity. The administration boasted of a mole who had infiltrated Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and helped thwart an attack against the United States. The man was working for British and Saudi intelligence and details of his role not only damaged the ongoing operations of allied intelligence services, but also put the lives of the agent and others at risk.

Who knows how the information disclosed in the Times’s recent Stuxnet story may come back to harm our citizens and interests, or our ally Israel’s? But the message broadcast to friends, and potential friends, is clear enough. If you fail in your dangerous mission, you may die. If you succeed, you may earn a supporting role in the Obama reelection campaign.

“Why else would they want to do this, except to enhance the image of the president six months before the election?” Sen. John McCain said in an interview with The Weekly Standard last week. “Why else reveal the name of this Pakistani doctor? You can only draw one conclusion. The purpose of all these leaks is to tell a story about a brave, lonely warrior with all this awesome responsibility.”

McCain, who has called for a special prosecutor, has been the administration’s most vocal critic. The White House, says McCain, “got mad when I said these leaks were all meant to make the president look good.” But that’s the simplest explanation for the leaks: The White House has run an information operation that has put us and our allies at risk with no obvious benefit except to the prospects of Obama’s reelection.

McCain says he is cheered by the “widespread bipartisan anger at the leaks,” but Feinstein and other Democrats, such as John Kerry, say that the leaks are just a function of lax discipline and the administration’s poor housekeeping. However, there is evidence that the White House knows quite well what it’s doing.

In an excerpt from his just published book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, from which the cyber war story was adapted for the Times, Sanger recounts how Pentagon officials “fumed” when White House counterterrorism czar John Brennan apparently gave away “operational secrets never shared outside the tribe.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates confronted the senior administration official he perhaps believed in the best position to enact, or at least forward, his recommendation for a “new strategic communications approach.” And what was that strategic approach? asked White House national security adviser Thomas Donilon. “Shut the f— up,” said Gates.

In other words, Defense Secretary Robert Gates thought President Obama’s national security adviser was responsible, directly or indirectly, for the leaks. And if Donilon is responsible, the buck stops with President Obama.

To paraphrase the president, that his White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. And it’s wrong.

—Lee Smith

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Friday, June 08, 2012

Wisconsin Redux

Living most of my life in the state of Rhode Island has given me a certain perspective. The state exists in an unholy alliance of public service unions who put politicians in office with their dues money and their organizing efforts – and then show up to claim more goodies from these same politicians who owe them their own jobs.

As a result Rhode Island is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, one city is in bankruptcy, and the capitol city and at least two others are about a year away. Rhode Island’s infrastructure is crumbling, young people are fleeing the state, and the official unemployment rate is 11.1% (the unofficial rate is closer to 20%).

Teachers are forbidden to strike in RI, but they do almost every year with no discernable consequences except that they win new and better contracts. I have never understood why any public service worker should have the right to strike without serious consequences. They have job security and pensions that are unknown in the private sector, and going on strike against their taxpayer employer seems obscene.

Of course, the major aspect of the victory that Governor Walker won is in stopping the forced collection of union dues by the government.  Once that happened, union membership in the largest state workers' union fell by 50%.   It was predictable. In Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) instituted by executive order a similar reform seven years ago, government-worker unions have since lost 91 percent of their dues-paying membership. 

I hope and pray that the courageous work that Governor Walker has done in Wisconsin will encourage enough other governors to bite the bullet and get a movement rolling that will save us all from bankrupting the system everywhere.

What's Changed After Wisconsin

The Obama administration suddenly looks like a house of cards.

By PEGGY NOONAN June 7, 2012 Wall St Journal

Wisconsin signals a shift in political mood and assumption. Public employee unions were beaten back and defeated in a state with a long progressive tradition. The unions and their allies put everything they had into "one of their most aggressive grass-roots campaigns ever," as the Washington Post's Paul Whoriskey and Dan Balz reported in a day-after piece. Fifty thousand volunteers made phone calls and knocked on 1.4 million doors to get out the vote against Gov. Scott Walker. Mr. Walker's supporters, less deeply organized on the ground, had a considerable advantage in money.

But organization and money aren't the headline. The shift in mood and assumption is. The vote was a blow to the power and prestige not only of the unions but of the blue-state budgetary model, which for two generations has been: Public-employee unions with their manpower, money and clout, get what they want. If you move against them, you will be crushed.

Mr. Walker was not crushed. He was buoyed, winning by a solid seven points in a high-turnout race.

Governors and local leaders will now have help in controlling budgets. Down the road there will be fewer contracts in which you work for, say, 23 years for a city, then retire with full salary and free health care for the rest of your life—paid for by taxpayers who cannot afford such plans for themselves, and who sometimes have no pension at all. The big meaning of Wisconsin is that a public injustice is in the process of being righted because a public mood is changing.

Political professionals now lay down lines even before a story happens. They used to wait to do the honest, desperate, last-minute spin of yesteryear. Now it's strategized in advance, which makes things tidier but less raggedly fun. The line laid down by the Democrats weeks before the vote was that it's all about money: The Walker forces outspent the unions so they won, end of story.

Money is important, as all but children know. But the line wasn't very flattering to Wisconsin's voters, implying that they were automatons drooling in front of the TV waiting to be told who to back. It was also demonstrably incorrect. Most voters, according to surveys, had made up their minds well before the heavy spending of the closing weeks.

Mr. Walker didn't win because of his charm—he's not charming. It wasn't because he is compelling on the campaign trail—he's not, especially. Even his victory speech on that epic night was, except for its opening sentence—"First of all, I want to thank God for his abundant grace," which, amazingly enough, seemed to be wholly sincere—meandering, unable to name and put forward what had really happened.

But on the big question—getting control of the budget by taking actions resisted by public unions—he was essentially right, and he won.

By the way, the single most interesting number in the whole race was 28,785. That is how many dues-paying members of the American Federation of State, County and Municiple Employees were left in Wisconsin after Mr. Walker allowed them to choose whether union dues would be taken from their paychecks each week. Before that, Afscme had 62,218 dues-paying members in Wisconsin. There is a degree to which public union involvement is, simply, coerced.

People wonder about the implications for the presidential election. They'll wonder for five months, and then they'll know.

President Obama's problem now isn't what Wisconsin did, it's how he looks each day—careening around, always in flight, a superfluous figure. No one even looks to him for leadership now. He doesn't go to Wisconsin, where the fight is. He goes to Sarah Jessica Parker's place, where the money is.

There is, now, a house-of-cards feel about this administration.

It became apparent some weeks ago when the president talked on the stump—where else?—about an essay by a fellow who said spending growth is actually lower than that of previous presidents. This was startling to a lot of people, who looked into it and found the man had left out most spending from 2009, the first year of Mr. Obama's presidency. People sneered: The president was deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture! But you know, why would he go out there waving an article that could immediately be debunked? Maybe because he thought it was true. That's more alarming, isn't it, the idea that he knows so little about the effects of his own economic program that he thinks he really is a low spender.

For more than a month, his people have been laying down the line that America was just about to enter full economic recovery when the European meltdown stopped it. (I guess the slowdown in China didn't poll well.) You'll be hearing more of this—we almost had it, and then Spain, or Italy, messed everything up. What's bothersome is not that it's just a line, but that the White House sees its central economic contribution now as the making up of lines.

Any president will, in a presidential election year, be political. But there is a startling sense with Mr. Obama that that's all he is now, that he and his people are all politics, all the time, undeviatingly, on every issue. He isn't even trying to lead, he's just trying to win.

Most ominously, there are the national-security leaks that are becoming a national scandal—the "avalanche of leaks," according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, that are somehow and for some reason coming out of the administration. A terrorist "kill list," reports of U.S. spies infiltrating Al Qaeda in Yemen, stories about Osama bin Laden's DNA and how America got it, and U.S. involvement in the Stuxnet computer virus, used against Iranian nuclear facilities. These leaks, say the California Democrat, put "American lives in jeopardy," put "our nation's security in jeopardy."

This isn't the usual—this is something different. A special counsel may be appointed.

And where is the president in all this? On his way to Anna Wintour's house. He's busy. He's running for president.

But why? He could be president now if he wanted to be.

It just all increasingly looks like a house of cards. Bill Clinton—that ol' hound dog, that gifted pol who truly loves politics, who always loved figuring out exactly where the people were and then going to exactly that spot and claiming it—Bill Clinton is showing all the signs of someone who is, let us say, essentially unimpressed by the incumbent. He defended Mitt Romney as a businessman—"a sterling record"—said he doesn't like personal attacks in politics, then fulsomely supported the president, and then said that the Bush tax cuts should be extended.

His friends say he can't help himself, that he's getting old and a little more compulsively loquacious. Maybe. But maybe Bubba's looking at the president and seeing what far more than half of Washington sees: a man who is limited, who thinks himself clever, and who doesn't know that clever right now won't cut it.

Because Bill Clinton loves politics, he hates losers. Maybe he just can't resist sticking it to them a little, when he gets a chance.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wisconsin Speaks

I don’t know of anything that could have made me more upbeat about the political landscape than Scott Walker’s resounding win in Wisconsin yesterday. For once, the old saying that “no good deed goes unpunished” did not come true. This victory for common sense is a great harbinger for the future – a future where Republicans win the Presidency and both houses of Congress – and they do not screw it and our country up by becoming big spenders again.

Wisconsin speaks. Again

June 6, 2012

By endorsing Walker's cost cuts, taxpayers make public spending nationwide an issue for Nov. 6 and beyond

With their ballots Tuesday, a majority of Wisconsin voters endorsed dramatic changes Gov. Scott Walker has delivered: Taxpayers see the $1 billion in taxpayer money that Walker's ideas have empowered state and local officials to save. They see that property taxes have fallen on his watch. They see that, rather than decimating government workforces, the cost-cutting has averted layoffs of many teachers and other public employees.

Through his signature Act 10, which became law not quite a year ago, Walker and his legislative allies have restructured how state and local governments work — the scope of their activities and the compensation they pay. This is the fourth election, beginning with the general election of 2010, in which Wisconsinites essentially have said they support that aggressive restructuring.

Many of those voters also expect that, going forward, the dividends for Wisconsin residents, their school districts and other governments will continue to grow. As old labor contracts expire, public officials will write into the new contracts the other Walker-inspired personnel provisions — such as higher (but still relatively inexpensive) employees' contributions to their pension and health plans — that have lowered government expenses. New labor pacts, that is, should keep reducing government costs across Wisconsin.

On Tuesday evening, CBS News issued early exit polling results that attest to how sophisticated the voters immersed in this passionate Wisconsin debate over taxes and spending have become. And how sharply divided they are. The Wisconsin electorate spends its time bivouacked in battle-ready encampments.

Some 54 percent of voters told pollsters they have a favorable view of government employees unions; 43 percent do not. That said, some 50 percent of voters approve of Walker's restrictions to collective bargaining; 48 percent do not. More generally, CBS reported, 54 percent of voters think government should have a more limited role in solving problems; 42 percent say government should do more.

But the rancor preceding Tuesday's election, the strong voter turnout and the urgency for both sides to explain What This Means will influence the five months between now and Nov. 6. Democratic and Republican pols coast to coast see taxpayers in traditionally liberal-leaning, high-taxes, high-services Wisconsin saying they want to cut government costs, debts and compensation. The American Enterprise Institute calculates that even after Act 10, the source of so many accusations of oppression, the average state worker receives wages and benefits of $81,637, versus $67,068 for a similarly skilled private sector worker. X minus Y equals (gulp) $14,569.

On Tuesday, a majority of the voters who for a year and a half have spent the most time weighing those sorts of numbers reaffirmed that they think their Wisconsin governments had grown too elephantine, too expensive.

There's another elephant in the room: Act 10 ended the compulsory collection of union dues by government employers. It turns out that when workers have a free choice of whether to keep paying, many decide that it isn't worth the money. We were surprised last week by a Wall Street Journal report that Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees plummeted from 62,818 in March 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012. At the American Federation of Teachers, 6,000 of 17,000 Wisconsin members have walked away.

Drop-offs that stark have implications not only for the unions, but also for politicians who rely on union donations to fund their campaigns.

After Walker's victory, the implication of which we're surest is this: Government spending and taxpayer debt, the issues that spectacularly animated the politics of the 2010 election cycle, will be potent in 2012. Wisconsin is but one reason. Turmoil in European nations that spent and borrowed themselves into disaster will focus Americans on what can happen when public officials spend money they don't have.

Wisconsin voters again have affirmed their decision:

Spending discipline is the order of the day.


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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Obama's Walesa Moment

Americans who care and who also understand the external threats that face us were thunderstruck three years ago when the missile defense system to be stationed in Poland and in the Czech Republic was cancelled. It had taken much convincing to assuage their fears of Russian retaliation to get them to accept the missile batteries, which were mainly aimed at countering the threat of Iranian (possibly) nuclear armed rockets.

Now we see that a series of double-crosses and insults directed at Poland by the Obama Administration has occurred, just as there has been a similar behavior pattern directed at Great Britain and Israel, all strong American allies. What’s going on? The behavior toward Poland is explained in the following article:

Obama's Walesa Moment

By Paul Kengor on 6.4.12 American Spectator

A snub heard round the world.

Last week, President Barack Obama rejected the world's most powerful living symbol of anti-communism, anti-Sovietism, and victory in the Cold War. The White House declined to have Lech Walesa stand in for the late Jan Karski, who posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Our president spurned Walesa, first president of free Poland, who had once risked everything to courageously join Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II in keeping Solidarity alive in Poland. Like Reagan and John Paul II, Walesa knew that Solidarity could be the wedge to split the Communist Bloc from top to bottom, as it indeed did, thereby making possible elections in Poland in June 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the execution of Ceausescu on Christmas Day 1989, the liberation of Eastern Europe en masse, and peaceful victory in the Cold War.

Obama's snubbing of Walesa follows several peculiar actions that upset the people of Poland. On September 17, 2009, he canceled plans for a joint missile defense system between the United States and Poland, one of our most dependable post-Cold War NATO allies. Obama did so for pro-Russian reasons. His action on that particular date was stunning: It was precisely 70 years to the day, September 17, 1939, when Russia invaded Poland, in compliance with the sinister Hitler-Stalin Pact. Poles certainly noticed the irony.

Obama's snubbing of Walesa also follows his recent private assurance to Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin -- inadvertently caught on tape by an open mic -- that, in regard to missile defense and nuclear issues, he would "have more flexibility" "after my election." In other words, more pro-Russia steps at Poland's expense.

Obama's snubbing of Walesa also came alongside a terrible gaffe about "Polish death camps."
Obama's staff seems surprised that Poles reacted so suspiciously to Obama's gaffe. Gee, I wonder why they're suspicious….

To me, none of this is a surprise. And it's also uniquely in line with the thinking of Obama's mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, a stalwart pro-Soviet, CPUSA member (card no. 47544), who, in his propaganda columns for Communist Party organs like the Chicago Star, defended Yalta and the Soviet takeover of Poland and other Eastern European countries. Davis attempted to argue that Stalin was creating "new democracies" in Poland and the Communist Bloc, and insisted that Eastern Europeans were welcoming the Soviets with open arms. He blasted U.S. policies like NATO and the Marshall Plan.

There's so much that could be said about Obama's snub of Walesa. It truly is enlightening. But two things stand out to me, especially in light of the fact that we Americans have a historic election coming up this November 2012, arguably the most pivotal since November 1980:

Shortly after the election of 1980, when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter, a fearless Lech Walesa stood on a snowy, windswept plain on the outskirts of Gdansk and spoke openly about the U.S. election and its effect on the world. "It was intuition, perhaps," he said, "but one year ago I envisioned what would happen. Reagan was the only good candidate in your presidential campaign, and I knew he would win." Walesa spoke presciently that December day: "Someday the West will wake up and you may find it too late, as Solzhenitsyn has written. Reagan will do it better…. He will make the U.S. strong and make it stand up."

Lech Walesa foresaw Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America."

What did a young Barack Obama think of that election, of that dawn of a new day in America, of that change in the national mood for the better -- and not just for America, but for Poland, for the Communist Bloc, for the world, for freedom, for history? Obama told us the answer in his memoirs. In chapter 7 of Dreams from My Father, Obama described his arrival in Chicago, the step in his sojourn that would change his life and America's. The ambitious Obama employed the word "change" seven times, including the need for "Change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions [emphasis added] were carrying on their dirty deeds."

Obama was not exactly inspired by Reagan's election. Obama was the anti-Walesa. "Reagan was on his way in," Obama sniffed, "morning in America."

Obama perceived an America that needed a "change in the mood of the country." Ronald Reagan's "morning in America" needed change.

This is a mesmerizing insight into Obama's ideology and political mind. Consider: Even among liberal academics and journalists, both at the time and today, there is a consensus that among President Reagan's greatest achievements was his dramatic change in the mood of the nation, and decidedly for the better, lifting up America and restoring its sagging morale after the years of Carter and Watergate and Vietnam. As even the cynical Reagan biographer Edmund Morris agreed, Reagan had "changed the mood overnight," and decidedly and wonderfully for the better. That was one thing about Reagan where conservatives and liberals alike, plus literal millions of Reagan Democrats, came together and applauded Reagan -- except for the young Obama.

No, Obama wanted to change the mood that Reagan changed. To what, one might ask?

Well, we're finally getting that answer, thanks to the millions of oblivious Americans who blithely voted for Obama's "change" in November, 2008. Really, it's unthinkable to imagine that an America that elected Reagan to landslide victories in 1980 and 1984, and today regularly judges Reagan not only the greatest president of all time but, in one 2005 poll, the "greatest American" of all time, could elect Barack Obama -- and may do so again. But, hey, these are Americans. And they do not vote rationally. In 2008, they elected a man who shunned Lech Walesa and missile defense with Poland, both of whom/which Reagan vigorously supported.

Obama's Walesa moment is yet another defining moment. So is the election of November 2012. I'd love to hear Lech Walesa's thoughts on that one. Will Americans "wake up" and "do it better" this time around?

Thanks to Bob for pointing out this article.


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Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Greatness of the American Race

June 4 is always a special day for me; it is the anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the greatest American naval victory in history – the battle that won the war in the Pacific in World War II. I love history and am fascinated to read of great battles, but Midway has always fascinated me the most.

There are many good books on Midway, and, for many years, Gordon Prange’s “Miracle at Midway” was about the best, but recently new research has indicated a subtle but important change in defining the factors that led to that decisive victory that reversed the strategic positions of Japan and America in one day.

Students of the battle had always given great importance to luck and to unwise decisions on the part of Nagumo, the Japanese carrier fleet-commander, for the huge losses the Japanese suffered that day; but now, in the light of more complete information, Nagumo’s decisions are shown to have been essentially correct.

It was the planning and the decisions of the American commanders – theater, task force and unit commanders, and the resourcefulness and the courage of the American pilots – together with the superior intelligence provided to our forces that won the day. The American culture, with its emphasis on individual initiative and finding a way, vs. the Japanese culture, with its emphasis on conformity, played an incredibly important role at Midway.

Below is a review of a new book on Midway that looks on this battle in this different way than others, like Prange, traditionally have. America truly has its own culture and its own race; we may be different colors, different ethnicities and different religions, but we are committed to ideals that made us the greatest nation in the world. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Obama.

Five Minutes That Changed the World

By Jack Park on 2.7.12 American Spectator

A riveting history of the Battle of Midway, 70 years ago this June.

The Battle of Midway

By Craig L. Symonds

As Branch Rickey famously put it, "Luck is the residue of design." In The Battle of Midway, Craig Symonds, who teaches American Naval History at the U.S. Naval Academy, shows how that resounding American victory during World War II was the product of design and its residue, which historians might call contingency.

Symonds' book is another in Oxford's series on "pivotal moments in American history." In an introductory note for an earlier entrant in that series, Washington's Crossing, by David Hackett Fischer, James McPherson explained that such pivotal events were the product of "decisions and actions by people who had opportunities to choose and act otherwise," and that opportunity "introduces a dynamic tension into the story of the past." Properly addressing the "dynamic tension of contingency and choice" calls for a combination of new scholarship "with old ideas of history as narrative art and traditional standards of sound scholarship, mature judgment, and good writing."

Symonds book succeeds on all counts. The battle of Midway is a remarkable story, and Symonds tells it well. On June 4, 1942, "in little more than five minutes," aided by heroic but unsuccessful attacks by American torpedo bombers, American dive bombers destroyed three Japanese aircraft carriers. Later that day, they followed up by putting four bombs onto the flight deck of the fourth. The Americans lost the carrier Yorktown and a destroyer, aircraft, and brave pilots and sailors, but victory was complete. Symonds doesn't just tell the story, he also describes the culture and equipment of the American and Japanese pilots and naval personnel, showing how the differences worked in context.

Nineteen forty-two started badly for the United States and its Pacific allies, much the way 1941 ended. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and, while they inflicted great damage on the American battle fleet, they missed the American aircraft carriers. Before 1941 was over, the Japanese had taken Hong Kong and Wake Island and invaded the Philippines. By mid-April 1942, they had taken Singapore, bombed Darwin, Australia, raided British bases on Ceylon, sinking a number of warships, and forced the surrender of the American forces on Bataan. That "dizzying string" of successes "fed what historians later labeled 'victory disease' in Japan."

After the American forces in the Philippines retreated to Bataan, the Americans began to fight back. In January, American carriers raided Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, inflicting "little more than a pinprick," while sinking a transport and a sub chaser, damaging six other vessels including a cruiser, and destroying a number of aircraft. In March, American carrier aircraft attacked Japanese shipping off Lae and Salamaua on New Guinea with greater success, "savag[ing] Japanese sealift capability" in that area. Finally, in April, B-25s under the command of Colonel Jimmy Doolittle took off from the Hornet and bombed mainland Japan.

In early May, the Americans achieved what historians view as a strategic victory even if it was a tactical success for the Japanese at the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Americans went into battle knowing "more about the Japanese movements than they did about" ours because we had made progress in breaking the Japanese naval code. Symonds explains that this gave Admiral Fletcher, the American commander, "an indisputable advantage" but didn't guarantee success. In the fighting, the Lexington was sunk and the Yorktown damaged. The Japanese lost only a small carrier, but the larger Shōkaku was damaged, and it and the Zuikaku lost a sufficient number of aircraft and experienced pilots that neither could participate in the upcoming Midway operation. The "complex timetable" of the Japanese operations was "irredeemably wrecked."

The battle of Midway in June 1942 resulted from design, in that both the Japanese and the Americans planned for conflict. The Japanese plan was complicated; four "different and independent" groups of ships sailed independently in the direction of Midway with the goals of taking the island and luring the American aircraft carriers into a decisive battle. (The Japanese fleet that headed for the Aleutian Islands in the Northern Pacific off Alaska was a "separate initiative unrelated to the Midway Operation apart from its timing.") The Japanese planned to use six large carriers to both establish air superiority over and support the landings on Midway and engage the American carriers, an arrangement that "created the opportunity for confusion and uncertainty." The Battle of the Coral Sea intervened, however, depriving Admiral Yamamoto of two of those aircraft carriers.

At Midway, the Americans "knew what was coming, where it was coming from, and more or less when it was coming." Admiral Nimitz, the American naval commander in the Pacific, planned to meet the Japanese with two or three carriers. In the end, Nimitz had three after the Yorktown, which had been hit by one bomb and damaged by several near misses, was repaired in a remarkable three day round-the-clock blitz. While "eager to confront the Japanese," Nimitz "was not a gambler." Rather, he "reviewed all the available information, weighed the odds carefully, and planned accordingly."

Nimitz stationed the American carriers to the northwest of Midway Island, where they lay in wait, hoping to hit the Japanese carriers before they were found. Significantly, in the war games conducted by the Japanese in preparation for the operation, Admiral Ugaki, the chief judge, ruled "that such a move by the Americans was so improbable that it could not be allowed." Ugaki also overruled a roll of the dice that had two Japanese carriers sinking, holding that one was damaged, not sunk, and the other removed from the table to return later. Symonds concludes that the war game exercises were "all but useless."

On the fateful day, the Japanese began by sending 108 bombers, torpedo planes armed with bombs, and fighter cover drawn from all four carriers to attack the facilities at Midway. When those planes were gone, the crews began outfitting the next wave for attacks on the American carriers. At about 7:00, Admiral Nagumo, the commander of the carrier group, received word that another attack on Midway was needed. Nagumo ordered that the planes held in anticipation of an attack on the American carriers be rearmed with fragmentation bombs for that second attack. As Symonds notes, arming and rearming the planes was a labor intensive task; the Japanese had to lower the torpedoes from the planes onto bomb carts with a hand crank and lift them by hand onto holding racks on the bulkheads.

Nagumo learned of the presence of American ships, then an American carrier by about 8:20, and ordered the dive bombers on the Hiryū and Sōryū to prepare for that attack. He was unable to send those planes off, though, for several reasons. First, American aircraft based on Midway attacked his carriers in a "haphazard," uncoordinated way. Even though Nagumo's carriers were unharmed, they had to maneuver to avoid the attacks, making it impossible to rearm the planes for an attack on the carriers. Second, Nagumo also put all of his remaining fighters aloft to defend against the attacks. He needed to recover and rearm those fighters, as well as the Midway strike force which was returning. He decided to do that and send his entire strike force against what he thought was one carrier.

In the meantime, American torpedo planes, followed by dive bombers, arrived. The torpedo planes were all but annihilated, but they pulled the Japanese combat air patrol and antiaircraft weaponry down to sea level. When the dive bombers arrived, they put bombs on the Akagi, the Kaga, and the Sōryū, turning each into an inferno as the bombs found hangar decks full of Japanese aircraft gassed up and bombs and torpedoes in the process of changeover. While the Japanese later found the Yorktown, and the Americans got the Hiryū, the "tipping point" had been reached.

It wasn't just big decisions, like those of Nimitz, which contributed to the outcome. Symonds tells the story of an American submarine, the Nautilus, which was in the right place at the right time and sparked a duel with a Japanese destroyer, the Arashi. The Arashi kept the Nautilus underwater until the carrier group passed, then hustled to catch up with the other Japanese ships. American dive bombers from the Enterprise spotted the Arashi's bow wave and followed its line to the Japanese carriers. As Symonds notes, the inconclusive duel between the Arashi and the Nautilus had a "profound effect" on the outcome, illustrating the way in which decisions, big and small, can affect history.

Symonds concludes, "June 7 was a Sunday morning, and it dawned on a changed world." Six months after Pearl Harbor, the "instrument" of the Japanese attack "had been smashed beyond recovery." A long and difficult slog remained, but the battle of Midway was the hinge on which the war in the Pacific turned. Its story deserves retelling, and Symonds' book does a wonderful job of it.
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Alan Simpson Is Right

People my age should be thinking more about their children’s and their grandchildren’s future than about opposing any needed changes in Social Security and Medicare. We have been getting extraordinary and unsustainable benefits that are bankrupting a system that future generations are going to need even more than we did.

Our generation is no different than the public service and teachers’ unions that are bankrupting most states, and the Ryan plan and similar plans do not even affect those now retired. We should be ashamed, but shame is a condition our society seems to have shelved.

      Alan Simpson Is Right
      By Reed Galen June 3, 2012 RealClearPolitics

Following a protest staged by rankled seniors last month outside his appearance at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Calif., Alan Simpson, co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles Commission on deficit reduction, penned a note to the group expressing, as only he can, his feelings for the demonstrators.

"What a wretched group of seniors you must be to use the faces of the very people that we are trying to save, while the 'greedy geezers' like you use them as a tool and a front for your nefarious bunch of crap," the distinctively blunt former Wyoming senator wrote.

He’s right. The debate over the deficit, debt, Social Security and Medicare isn’t about today’s beneficiaries. It’s about Generations X and Y, the Millennials and whatever fancy name demographers will call my kids when they come of age.

The Oakland protesters were angered by the mere suggestion that the U.S. raise its retirement age to 69 as a way of ensuring the solvency of Social Security. “Read the latest news from the Social Security Trustees,” Simpson said in his letter to the California Alliance for Retired Americans. “The Social Security System will now 'hit the skids' in 2033 instead of 2036. If you can't understand all of this you need a pane of glass in your navel so that you can see out during the day!”

To Tom Rankin, the group’s treasurer, the real crime here wasn’t generational theft: It was Alan Simpson’s “insulting” language.

Here’s a news flash for the Paramount picketers: Your benefits are secure. The changes being contemplated only apply to future retirees.

There is a good chance that many of my generation will never “retire” -- at least not as that concept has been understood up until now. As Simpson notes in his letter, the Social Security Trust Fund is set to go belly-up in 2033. Regardless of “retirement age,” I’ll still be a decade away from benefits that my cohort and I will never receive.

Whether assailing Simpson-Bowles, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plans, or anyone with the temerity to publicly express the desire and need to get our financial house in order, the army of retirees marches up to Capitol Hill and scares the hell out of Congress. The oldsters are powerful, organized, and well funded. They vote in bigger numbers than any other demographic bloc.

The rest of us need to take a page from their playbook and get more involved. If not, we only ensure that our future and our children’s will be jeopardized by those who won’t suffer the consequences. We, the members of Generation X, and those that follow us need to make our voices heard this year and in every coming election cycle.

Times have changed, but our participation in the political process relative to the importance of the issues currently facing us has been inadequate. As I noted in a previous column, 63 of our 100 United States senators are over the age of 60. No wonder they are so responsive to those about to enroll in Social Security and Medicare.

We need to force our politicians -- local, state and federal -- to pay attention to the issues that concern us. Decisions made, or not made, by current officeholders will impact the country’s economy and basic makeup for decades to come. We cannot afford, literally, to sit this one out.

Our generation was originally characterized as disinterested. Now we’ve grown up, and it is time for us to start acting like adults when it comes to politics.

We’ll have only ourselves to blame if we wake up as grandparents to see a country and economy that leaves our grandchildren grasping at straws for a better life. I, for one, don’t plan to leave something that important up to chance -- or, frankly, to the people who have so clearly shown an unwillingness or inability to do anything about it.

Reed Galen is a political strategist in California. He was John McCain's Deputy Campaign Manager until July of 2007.


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Friday, June 01, 2012

Obama Expresses "Regrets" for Insulting Poles


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