Here’s a perfect storm. The Monitor reports a new law enforcement bulletin warns that Mexican drug cartels are plotting to kill U.S. federal agents and Texas Rangers patrolling the border.
Congressman Michael McCaul references this bulletin on his House web site:
“March 2011 – A Law Enforcement Bulletin warned that cartels were overheard plotting to kill ICE agents and Texas Rangers guarding the border using AK-47s by shooting at them from across the border.”
McCaul wants the cartels officially recognized as terrorist organizations.
The second, closely related problem is that the Government Accountability Office reports that only 129 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border is secure. This leaves 93.4% of the border open for cartel operatives to cross, commit murder, rape, and mayhem, and retreat to safe territory controlled by their organization. Once back in Mexico, they’re safe from prosecution, especially considering that the U.S. can’t find agents to work there, and relations have become strained since the Mexican government found out that our ATF helped thousands of guns to cross the border, resulting in about 150 Mexicans being murdered with those firearms.
This is not a drill.
This story from the South Korean Chosun Ilbo reports that
Seoul and Washington have agreed that the chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff will command support troops from the U.S. in case of a provocation from North Korea, a government source said Thursday.
“The South Korean and U.S. militaries have recently agreed in principle that the chairman of the Korean JCS will command U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force personnel and equipment that support the South Korean military in case of various provocations from the North,” the source said. The two countries are still hammering out the details.
So far the South Korean military has responded [to] North Korean provocations without U.S. military support [except during the police action half a century ago]. The South Korean JCS chairman currently exercises peacetime operational control over the South Korean troops but not over the U.S. Forces Korea. (emphasis added)
This seems peculiar, since the United States neither frequently nor commonly place its military forces under foreign command, at least to the extent that the article suggests. When a similar command shift happens on any large scale, it is usually under United Nations command with a U.S. general officer in control. The article notes that the present shift “is an unprecedented measure since the U.S. military is characteristically reluctant to place troops under the command of other countries.”
The commanding general, U.S. Forces Korea, also commands the United Nations Combined Forces Command there and a ROK four star general is the deputy commander; this may (or alternatively may not) be a partial explanation. Might it parallel the turn over of NATO operations in Libya to a Canadian general — even though in Korea there are “boots on the ground” and in Libya there are said to be none? Of course, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander is U.S. Admiral James Stavridis.
Probably not all April Fools’ jokes, even though it’s already April 1st in Korea; but at this point who knows? President Obama? Hu?
Thanks to the mullahcracy, it’s possible to travel in time. Backwards.
Speaker John Boehner responded to tea party rallies today that House Republicans cannot impose their will on the Senate in a spending bill. Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution states: “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” That’s leverage. The founders gave the House special budgetary powers. Hopefully they will leverage them.
It may be high season in Aleppo, but, via Reuters, “The United States advised its citizens on Thursday to put off nonessential travel to Syria and urged those in the country to consider leaving because of protests in which 61 people have died.”
Now they tell us.
Earlier today I read Noel Sheppard’s amusing post on his attempts to get someone — anyone — at the Huffington Post to explain why they banned Andrew Breitbart from their front page, but have left Bill Maher unmolested. The back story is that PuffHost banned Breitbart for a mild ad hominem on Commie Truther Van Jones, but has elected not to ban Bill Maher, who has twice called Sarah Palin very foul names.
No one questions whether the Huffers have the right to ban one and not the other, but the Host claimed that the Breitbart banning was about elevating the political discourse or whatever, while what Maher said — that didn’t get him banned — was far far worse than anything Breitbart said. And Maher remains unbanned. What’s the policy, Arianna? Don’t look to her latest for answers on this.
Shepherd tried and tried and tried to get an answer, but only got silence. So I was reminded that, back during CPAC, Huffer’s PR guy, Mario Ruiz, was very quick to contact me for a correction for something we posted. He and I had a cordial exchange over the whole thing. He seems like a decent sort.
I thought, why don’t I try and contact him and see if he’ll answer me. So shortly before lunchtime, I emailed him, included a like to Noel’s post, and just asked if he had any comment on it.
Seven hours later, silence. Nada. Crickets.
The SA-24 is more accurate, longer-flying, and more lethal than than earlier models of surface-to-air missiles. It also has a dual-band infrared seeker and is more difficult to jam than older systems.
The missiles “reportedly have counter-countermeasures that may be difficult for planes with just flares to counter,” Matthew Schroeder, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Arms Sales Monitoring Project, tells Danger Room. ”Overall it’s just a much more capable system.”
So where did they come from? No one (outside the regime) is sure, but
Tea Party protesters descended upon Capitol Hill today to remind Republicans why they were sent to Washington. Rep. Michelle Bachmann told the crowd, “We’ve never said we want to see government shut down. What we want is a true fight. We truly want to fight to cut government spending.”
Remember that “Third Palestinian Intifada” facebook page we and other bloggers were picking on a few days back? The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated it and several other similar intifada facebook pages that they found, and discovered what amounts to a socially networked invasion plan. The means: Get all the Palestinians scattered all over the world to return to Israel at once, on May 15, 2011, to overwhelm the Jewish state.
The Facebook page “The Third Palestinian Intifada,” which, within weeks of its launching, has almost 340,000 “likes,” posted a message saying: “Palestine, how we have neglected you. Forgive us and forgive our sons for this. You have always inspired us to be steadfast in the struggle to keep you a free and Arab [land],… as you [always] were and always will be… After the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan intifadas, the time has come for the Palestinian intifada. The first Palestinian intifada was in 1987 and the second in 2000, but the third Palestinian intifada [will commence] on May 15, 2011.”
It should be noted that, while urging the public to join the mass demonstrations on May 15, the page administrators also hinted at a coming war on the Jews and called on the readers to prepare for martyrdom. For example, they posted a well-known hadith, which states that the Day of Judgment will only come after the Muslims fight the Jews and vanquish them: “The hour [of Judgment] will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. All the trees and all the stones will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him – except for the Gharqad tree, which is the tree of the Jews.” The site administrators remark, “That is why the Jews have been planting a lot of Gharqad trees lately!”. In another message, an administrator states: “Paradise calls you. I ask everyone to come out on May 15. Do not say ‘I can’t.’ For once [in your life], at least, do something to help the Muslims… Martyrdom calls you.”
Facebook took the “Third Intifada” page down this week, but several others with allied messages remain live, and I’m sure the folks behind the “Third Intifada” page have already set up an alternative. As MEMRI notes, May 15th is the 63rd anniversary of the establishment of modern Israel. Not all of the pages that MEMRI found are as clear in threatening violence, but they all share the same goal, which is to destroy Israel, and they all share the same date: May 15.
All of this takes on some additional weight when you consider the following. In Islamic apocalyptic thinking, the Mahdi (the awaited 12th imam who will, according to this line of thinking, Islamicize the entire world) will not return until Jerusalem is in Muslim hands. And Iran, an aggressively radical Islamist state run by a regime that is known to be strongly influenced by this apocalyptic world view, is pushing Mahdi propaganda right now.
As the fighting continues in Libya, and while most are still flabbergasted at the lack of leadership (and consistency) displayed by President Obama and the entire administration, as well as NATO, the question of the willingness of the Libyan rebels is now in play.
In an article by the Guardian, one of the rebels was quoted regarding their “needs”:
“We need what Gaddafi has,” said Ghanem Barsi at a rebel checkpoint. Like many revolutionaries, he blamed their difficulties on weaponry rather than training and tactics. “We need Grads [rockets] like Gaddafi has. We need tanks like Gaddafi has. We need weapons that can kill his rockets and tanks.”
Is this the Revolutionary Spirit that has taken the hearts and minds of the Libyan people? We need more tanks and rockets to fight? Won’t someone give us what we need?
This is not revolutionary spirit, this is the weak-minded acquiescence to failure that will keep the Libyans enslaved and oppressed for the next 100+ years. Thank goodness the American Revolutionaries – who were far out manned, and certainly out gunned! – had the right Spirit. That Spirit includes the willingness to fight, to believe in something bigger than themselves, to understand their cause was just, that there are natural laws that are derived from God, and that Freedom and Liberty (like Patrick Henry taught us) are worth dying for.
Until the Libyan people understand this, all the tanks and guns in the world won’t help them be free.
More “radiation sickness” in the media:
Workers at the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they expect to die from radiation sickness as a result of their efforts to bring the reactors under control, the mother of one of the men tells Fox News.
The so-called Fukushima 50, the team of brave plant workers struggling to prevent a meltdown to four reactors critically damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are being repeatedly exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to bring vital cooling systems back online.
Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.
Look, if you don’t know anything about a topic, don’t write a news story about it. Here you’ve got this poor hysterical little old lady; she’s scared, and no one can blame her. Especially if, God forbid, she reads the US press.
Well, this is one way to guarantee that no matter which side wins, we lose.
“We’ve been conveying a message to the rebels that we will be compelled to defend civilians, whether pro-Qaddafi or pro-opposition,” said a senior Obama administration official. “We are working very hard behind the scenes with the rebels so we don’t confront a situation where we face a decision to strike the rebels to defend civilians.”
The warnings, and intense consultations within the NATO-led coalition over its rules for attacking anyone who endangers innocent civilians, come at a time when the civil war in Libya is becoming ever more chaotic, and the battle lines ever less distinct. They raise a fundamental question that the military is now grappling with: Who in Libya is a civilian?
Aren’t the rebels mostly, scratch that, all civilians by definition?
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is hosting a reception at the Supreme Court today for various opponents of the proposed Pebble Mine project in Alaska. Politico’s Morning Energy reports that one of the attendees will be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson. And I have heard that Jackson will be speaking to the group.
Jackson’s conduct is grossly improper. Environmental pressure groups have petitioned the EPA to deny a Clean Water Act permit for the mine before the company developing it has even applied for the permit. Appearing at what is essentially a pep rally for those opposing the mine means that Jackson has already taken sides in the bitter political and legal dispute.
Director, Center for Energy and Environment
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told a Congressional panel that he strongly opposed putting any American forces in Libya. Asked if there would be American “boots on the ground” — that is, uniformed members of the military — Mr. Gates swiftly replied, “Not as long as I’m in this job.”
At the same time, Mr. Gates declined to address reports that the Central Intelligence Agency has sent clandestine operatives to Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the rebels.
Given the fact that the recently expanded air missions all need some help from Americans on the ground, and the probability that at least some of that help is from Air Force special operations, there are probably already boots on the ground. Gates may be setting up his exit from the Barry Obama Traveling Sports Talk Show. Can’t say I blame him, and the memoirs will be a bracing read.
Back to the kinetic military action in Libya, I keep thinking about the Iraq no-fly zone era. That effort, fully sanctioned by the UN, stumbled on for something like 12 years before we finally had to put nearly 200,000 pairs of boots on the ground to finish it. Iraq is a larger country and Hussein’s army was larger than Gaddafi’s, but still, that wasn’t exactly a short-term project. It wasn’t cheap. The global Oil-For-Food scandal was among the by-products of that effort. And several of the allies we went into that effort with ended up dropping out and becoming counterproductive (see: France). It would be nice to think that we’ve all learned all the right lessons from that experience, but the evidence so far suggests…not.
Today the Justice Department announced they are investigating the Seattle Police Department for patterns or practices of racial discrimination. This follows an action against Dayton, Ohio’s police Department when it forced them to accept as police officers black candidates who failed the entrance exams. DOJ is doing the same to the New York City Fire Department. The investigation comes complete with custom email addresses for people to send tips (at least that is the intended use): firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, “if you have any comments or concerns” a phone number is also provided: 855-203-4479.
Cut public school superintendent pay so that they’re even with the state’s governor. There are over 200 public school superintendents who actually make more, in some cases twice as much, as Gov. Rick Perry.
In Texas, 214 superintendents take home an annual salary more than the Governor of Texas, whose salary is set at $150,000 a year. If superintendents in Texas were paid no more than the Governor, schools would save $20 million each biennium.
Unfortunately for Texas’ taxpayers, this issue of excessive salaries for superintendents only scratches the surface. Along with this generous base salary, the compensation package often includes lavish benefits and perks not often found in the private sector, like housing allowances, car allowances, and more.
Want to know if your taxes are making local school bureaucrats rich, while teachers face layoffs? There’s a link in this post to a database of all superintendent salaries in the entire state.
I don’t know about you wingnuts, but for my money the finest, most patriotic organization currently doing Gaia’s work in the never-ending battle against Rethuglican malevolence is the George Soros–funded Media Matters for America. Yes, media really does matter for America, and the media that really matters for Amerikkka is Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. If it weren’t for Faux News (as we lefty wags, justly renowned for our sense of word play, like to call it), the scales would fall from America’s media-mattering eyes, and the legions of the unblessed would suddenly achieve a moment of perfect clarity. Fox News’ lies are America’s demise. Or something like that; I’m still working on the word play.
Read the whole thing.
Yeah, the Obambis are pretty much going to ignore the War Powers Act:
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who asked Clinton about the War Powers Act during a classified briefing, said Clinton and the administration are sidestepping the measure’s provisions giving Congress the ability to put a 60-day time limit on any military action.
“They are not committed to following the important part of the War Powers Act,” he told TPM in a phone interview. “She said they are certainly willing to send reports [to us] and if they issue a press release, they’ll send that to us too.”
That’s what Clinton told a fellow Democrat.
I happen to think the WPA is a bit silly — either the power to declare war rests with Congress or it doesn’t. But the Act was passed by a Democratic Congress to restrain the warmaking abilities of a Republican President, so it obviously doesn’t apply today.
U.S. consumers face “serious” inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations warned Wednesday.
The world’s largest retailer is working with suppliers to minimize the effect of cost increases and believes its low-cost business model will position it better than its competitors.
Still, inflation is “going to be serious,” Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY’s editorial board. “We’re seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate.”
When he left office in 1981, Carter handed President Reagan a stratospheric Misery Index of nearly 20% and a major hostage crisis in Iran. It looks like Obama is doing his best to beat that record.
This clip shows the first wave come in, followed by the much bigger wave that came in a few minutes later. It’s taken from right down at beach level. Having watched it a couple of times, it’s good to watch the first minute or two to see where everything started out, then skip ahead to around five minutes to see how everything gets swamped and rearranged, and then move ahead to catch the last 90 seconds or so. That’s when the cameraman has to beat a hasty retreat, or get overrun and washed away.
The toll from this disaster currently stands at 11,500 killed, more than 16,000 missing. Among the most heart-breaking aspects is the number of children who have been left as orphans. Their numbers are estimated to be in the hundreds. Many are young school kids, kindergarteners and first graders, who were at school awaiting their parents when the disaster struck. One or, in many cases both parents, were just never seen again.
Everyone knew this to some extent, but to hear the actual numbers is still shocking. Video at Hot Air. The reporter making the claim is Jon Lee Anderson, who is on the ground in Libya and has evidently been out among the rebels. I’m not terribly familiar with Anderson, but a scan around shows that he has done some serious reporting from the war zones over the past few years. He’s not a rookie.
Anderson estimates that the number of actual, effective soldiers in the rebellion is in the “low hundreds,” and they’re augmented by a force of “foolhardy young men with guns” numbering about 1500. This is the force that the West has put its prestige on the line to back? We’re expecting to defeat Gaddafi’s antiquated but Soviet-trained professional army, estimated to number about 76,000 with a reserve of 40,000, with this ragged force of Mad Max extras? Really?
If Anderson is right and the rebellion really is so feeble, the way I see it from several thousand miles away admittedly, is that we have about three options. One, forcefully target and get Gaddafi soon. He’s very unlikely to take a deal to head to Uganda imho, though I’d love to be surprised. The longer the ping-pong drags on (and the rebels are apparently serving today, at least in Brega) the more degraded that rebellion will get, the higher the price of oil will get, and the weaker the coalition will get. Few Western hearts are in this, and Gaddafi knows it. Two, put an actual US expeditionary force on the ground and pound Gaddafi’s army to dust, take Tripoli, install a friendly government and get out. Or three, get out and let the war take its own natural course, warning Gaddafi that we have amphibious carriers bristling with Marines and lethal aircraft right off the coast, and if he acts up, he eats high explosives. And in the mean time, we have CIA operatives on the ground working to weaken and eventually remove him. Having crossed the Rubicon, there is no going back to the status quo ante.
Well at least in a couple of places today. Hans von Spakovsky at the Heritage Foundation has this PJM piece about a judicial appointment of an employee from the scandal-plagued Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. Of course PJM has been covering the latest on the New Black Panther scandal. I also have this counterpart to the PJM story up at the Bigs.
Begging the question, what are those 21% thinking?
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States has a clearly defined military mission in Libya. Fifty-six percent (56%) disagree and say the military does not have a clearly defined mission. Nearly one-in-four voters (23%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The president apparently did not close the sale with his address explaining his decision to commit U.S. forces to Libya. The survey was taken Monday and Tuesday nights, and the findings from the first night prior to the speech and the second night after the speech showed little change.
When you’re conducting war by euphemism, when you’re saying that your military mission is one thing but your non-military mission is something else (and actually harder edged than your military mission), and when you’re pretending to have handed the mission you’re not calling a war off to a coalition that you actually lead but don’t want to admit it for political reasons — you don’t have a clear mission.
Crimeny. Judge Maryann Sumi blocked the WI budget law Tuesday not on reality but upon the false perception that it passed too fast (after a walkout by Democrats that lasted several weeks, and was done expressly to block a vote on the law). On Tuesday, she re-blocked it. And today, she’s re-re-blocking it. Third time’s the charm!
Sumi re-issued her order on Tuesday — and this time she has warned that anyone who violates it will face sanctions. She amended the ruling on Thursday to read, “Further, based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received at the March 29 evidentiary hearing, it is hereby declared that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published …”
The reason that the state went ahead with publishing the law was that the judge ruled essentially against how the state Senate conducted the vote, not on the merits of the law itself. Legislative bodies have the power to set and enforce their own rules, a power that the other branches of government generally stay away from meddling in. That is, until we have a Democrat judge carrying water for the state’s riled up Democrat machinery. Then the separation of powers get tossed out where the union protesters piled up their trash.
Pity these fools: They don’t seem to be kidding. Maddow goes on at length about how much she loooved that show, and then the Center for American Progress (Soros minions) guy, David Sirota, builds a political thesis that goes well beyond predicting paaaain.
Or, shorter me: Look, two idiots!
Where to go with this? Well, first, distrust of government had put a president in the White House before The A-Team was a glimmer on the small screen. America elected Ronald Reagan in 1980, largely on a platform that included both restoring American freedom and prestige and reducing the overall power of the US government. One of Reagan’s more famous lines was the one about how terrifying it was to hear the words “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Another was how the best minds aren’t in government, because if they were business would hire them away. Yet another was that people don’t start wars, governments do. The Reagan anti-government ideas were extensive and extensively known when the American people elected him. They’re part of why he won. The A-Team started running in 1983, well into Reagan’s first term. So, ya know, oops.
And, just to counter Maddow, as a kid I never liked The A-Team. Hardly ever watched it. But I’m as skeptical of government as anyone and have been my entire life. I’m one of those people who have never ever been a liberal. If The A-Team is the fountainhead of government skepticism, how do you explain that?
A fourteen-year-old Bangladeshi girl has been lashed to death for the crime of being raped. Remember this is not a perversion of Sharia law — it is Sharia justice being properly meted out.
(Hat tip– Mrs. Steinberg)
They didn’t earn the label “tax and spend Democrats” by proposing tax cuts and responsible government, did they?
Democratic senators say they have been fighting on the defensive, scrambling to protect social spending — such as that for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, Planned Parenthood and NPR — from GOP-proposed cuts.
Democrats want to take the offensive and propose higher tax rates for millionaires, companies that move factories overseas and wealthy people who make charitable contributions.
So in order to protect the not very honest folks at Planned Parenthood and the downright biased folks at NPR, the Democrats are proposing a surtax on millionaires.
I can’t speak for Bryan, but I never meant to diss California. In fact, I spent six outrageously fun years in the Golden State — fun I probably couldn’t have had anywhere else.
But there’s a disconnect, a disparity, a dichotomy even, between California’s wildly creative people and its relentlessly self-serving ruling class. Eventually, something has to give. And it seems to be happening already.
Except for folks in the snowy Northeast, people now see California as a place to leave. “‘Go west, young man?’ Not if I can help it!” And that’s a terrible thing to have to say. An America without California would be a poorer, less exciting, and far less creative nation. But that California is a destination, not the waypoint it has become.
It’s not too late for your great state to change its ways, but change had best come soon.
Focuses eligibility [for school choice vouchers] on lower income families. Families at or below the income threshold for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program approximately $40,000 for a family of four can receive 90 percent of their per student home school corporation state tuition support. Families with incomes of approximately $60,000 for a family of four can receive 50 percent of the state tuition support amount per student. However, $4,500 is the maximum a student in grades 1-8 may receive.
The Indiana Democrats had walked out on both the poor and the children, in order to maintain power for their union cronies.
Good gracious, what does it take for someone to break into a church and steal? Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
About $1,500 was taken from Our Lady of Grace Church on Mt. Pleasant Road, and $20 was taken from the Maplewood Presbyterian Church on nearby Woodland Road, police said.
But the briefing did send one message: We don’t care what you think.
Lawmakers said they weren’t told much by Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that they couldn’t read in the newspaper or see on television.
They said one dynamic was very clear: The administration doesn’t much care what Congress thinks about the actions it’s taken so far.
Challenged on whether Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in attacking Libya without congressional approval, Clinton told lawmakers that White House lawyers were OK with it and that Obama has no plans to seek an endorsement from Congress, attendees told POLITICO.
Not to be Captain Obvious, but White House lawyers work directly for the president. They’re not the last word on whether the president, their boss, is acting within the law. Miss Rose Law Firm Records is well aware of this, as is Captain Constitutional Scholar. The administration’s attitude, which almost seems designed to push a game of Constitutional Chicken, didn’t win over any skeptics.