Mideast Mismanagement

Untested & unready
B.O., Hill both inept on Mideast

Can you say “poor situational awareness”?

“It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep,” it began. “But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Something’s happening in the world.

“Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world . . . Who do you want answering the phone?”

Now we know the answer: neither of the above.

Unfortunately, the current administration is proving to be as incompetent in the Middle East as was that of Jimmy “Peanut” Carter. It’s hard to decide which was worse…Carter had that ultimate example of fecklessness that was the Iran hostage crisis, but on the positive side, he DID deserve some propers for the Camp David Accords. B.O. on the other hand has not YET had a disaster on the scale of the hostages, but then too, he hasn’t accomplished anything worth while, either.

One can only hope that as the Egyptian situation settles out that the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t get power and cancel the treaty that resulted from the Camp David meetings.

No negative result of B.O.’s foreign policy activities would be too much of a surprise at this point.

S138 Tabled, Hopefully to R.I.P.

SB 138 is designed to implement something described as a method of selecting the President of the US by popular vote via a weirdly designed mechanism to by-pass amending  the Constitution.

The rationale for this is to be more “democratic”.   Humbug!

There were, and are sound reasons NOT to run our national system as a democracy.  I noted comments earlier on this from Madville Times, as well as on SD Politics, but was distracted from commenting byvarious  meteorological and mechanical events.  It is NOT fun to work on machines without a heated environment when the weather is what the weather was, but I digress.

My own feeling is that this sort of thing is not particularly of benefit.  The constitutional system was designed to be a non-democratic federal republic.  The stake-holders were the states, as well as the people.  The states had their place at the federal table by selecting the senators in the state legislators. (Personally, I think the 17th Amendment is well worth repealing, not that I expect to ever see it happen.)   The people had their input via the directly elected representatives.  The electoral college was a scheme to prevent the more populous states from automatically running rough-shod over the smaller states in the selection of the president.

The most frequently heard complaint about the current electoral college is that it can allow a failure in the Divine Commandment of Vox Populi, Vox Deus, as occurred most recently in 1980, and in a few cases before.  So what?  We survived the experience in good order.  The last time I checked last November the republic was still functional!

I have real trouble seeing how a popularization of the presidential vote can be of any benefit to small states.  I note that Cory cites an example of enabling concentration of funds in the large cities as being a possible GOP advantage, but frankly I don’t see it.  It doesn’t matter HOW much the GOP spends in L.A., Boston, New York, ‘Frisco, etc….they are probably not going to do very well, at least in the inner cities.  (The last time I visited the old home town of St. Louis, 24 of 28 city aldermen were of the Donkey persuasion.)  What would be more likely to happen with a popular vote scheme would be for the Donks to ignore the core cities, and rural areas, and pump THEIR funds into the suburbs to swing enough votes to make a difference.  The GOP would of necessity be forced into the same pattern to avoid being totally swamped.  In both cases, places like ND, SD, WY, MT, etc. would become virtually invisible in presidential elections if the prize automatically went to the pop-vote winner, which could be swung relatively easily by the larger urban areas.  (Farm vote?  We don’t need no steenkin’ farm vote!)

And the problem with that is…?  What is the guarantee to prevent a “democratic” majority for selecting an individual or party with a dedication to running rough over a minority’s interests, up to and including their right to do things like worship, or even live, to cite a couple of commonly denied things.  It behooves one who genuflects before the altar of democracy to recall that such luminaries of humanitarian civilization as Mussolini, Hitler, Ahmadinejad, or even Slobodan Milosevich were all elected!  Also, the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip more recently selected the wanna-be genocidalists of Hamas as their favored rulers.  But hey, that’s all OK if it’s “democratic”, right?

Wrong!  That’s why the designers of our republic’s constitution wisely (IMHO) hobbled the free-exercise of democracy.

(By the way, with the news as it’s been lately, it might be worth recalling just why they denied the vote to the District of Columbia.  It’s the same reason that D.C.’s street plot had all those circles with radiating streets:  cannon strategically placed could easily sweep the streets of rioters! (Look up the effects of the Roman and Byzantine mobs on their imperial politics.)

Bang! You’re dead!

In the “first-person shooter” computer game series Doom, the ultimate weapon is tagged as the BFG (Big F—–’ Gun). This may not be QUITE the BFG, but it’s close enough for government work.  Of course the Army, not picking up on the perfectly good BFG label calls the weapon the 25mm weapon the “XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System.  That’s a bit much for the troops at the pointy end, who have given their own label: “The Punisher”.  It fits.

‘Punisher’ gets its first battlefield tests

The XM25 has changed the battlefield with only 55 rounds, and earned a new name among soldiers. They call it “the Punisher.”

Since its first contact Dec. 3, the XM25 has been in nine engagements with two units at different locations, officials said. Specifically, it has disrupted two insurgent attacks on observation posts, taken out two PKM machine gun positions and destroyed four ambush sites.

The key is the targeting system and the “air-burst” capability:

The XM25 has a target acquisition system that calculates range with the push of a button. The data is transferred to an electronic fuse, enabling the 25mm round to explode over the target and rain shell fragments on the enemy.

That’s gotta smart! Hmmmm. Something like that would be really handy come goose season…then again, maybe not, there probably wouldn’t be enough goose left afterwords. Oh well.

H/T to The Blaze.

News Digest Snapshot Comments

A series of different things going on currently…some related, some not.

Firstly, at the time of T.A.R.P. and the rest of the financial bailouts, we were repeatedly warned by all of the Washington establishment that this was essential in order to prevent a total, and irreparable financial meltdown. But what if the bailouts had never taken place?…

Iceland did not bail out the banks or the bank investors and its economy is thriving, proving that the the US-Irish model of bailing out the banks with taxpayer money was harmful unless you were a wealthy bank investor

What was the ultimate effect?

Today, Iceland is recovering. The three new banks had combined profit of $309 million in the first nine months of 2010. GDP grew for the first time in two years in the third quarter, by 1.2 percent, inflation is down to 1.8 percent and the cost of insuring government debt has tumbled 80 percent. Stores in Reykjavik were filled with Christmas shoppers in early December, and bank branches were crowded with customers.

Meanwhile, there are items relating to the B.O. administration is engaging in apparently betrayal and/or mistreatment of allies and friends abroad:

ITEM:
The American betrayal
Op-ed: Obama’s abandonment of Mubarak shows Israel cannot count on US at times of crisis

…there is one more thing we can learn from the events in Egypt, aside from the fragility of the region we inhabit, and it is something that’s not easy to digest: The Western world’s and mostly America’s treachery. We learned that the way they abandoned President Mubarak and gave him the cold shoulder can happen to us too. Or in other words, we cannot count on the Americans at a time of crisis.

ITEM:
WikiLeaks cables: US agrees to tell Russia Britain’s nuclear secrets

The US secretly agreed to give the Russians sensitive information on Britain’s nuclear deterrent to persuade them to sign a key treaty, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The US, under a nuclear deal, has agreed to give the Kremlin the serial numbers of the missiles it gives Britain Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal to be signed by President Barack Obama next week.

After his returning the Churchill bust, snubbing Brit leaders, including the Queen, one gets the idea that B.O. REALLY does not like Britain.Along with this, the upside-down policy orientation of B.O. is further illustrated by policies that refuse to recognize those who are our enemies:

Failures by FBI, Pentagon contributed to Ft. Hood massacre, report says

The FBI and the Pentagon are responsible for a “string of failures” in the way they attempted to track a disgruntled Army major in the years before he allegedly opened fire at a crowded Ft. Hood, Texas, deployment center in the worst domestic terror ambush since the attacks of September 2001, two key Senate leaders concluded Thursday.

In addition, Army supervisors repeatedly referred to Maj. Nidal Hasan as a “ticking time bomb,” and FBI agents and the military knew he had become radicalized under the influence of a violent Islamist extremist. Yet the agents never arrested him, and his military superiors never disciplined or furloughed him out of the Army.

In an apparent triumph of political correctness no action was taken lest it offer offense to Islam. The Chief’s response would have been to s–tcan Hasan, and f’em if they can’t take the joke.

Meanwhile, there is also THIS particular bit of craziness:

China Maneuvers for U.S. Defense Contracts

The maker of China’s new stealth fighter jet has teamed up with a tiny, unprofitable California company to try to launch bids for U.S. defense contracts, possibly including one to supply Chinese helicopters to replace the aging Marine One fleet used by the president, according to people involved in the partnership.

Fortunately this one looks to be beyond the reach of even B.O.’s aspirations for playing kissy-face with the ChiComs:

Any Chinese bids for this or another contract under discussion would be certain to meet intense political resistance and would appear to have very little chance of success given mounting U.S. concern about China’s military power and long-term strategic goals, and the often-prohibitive opposition in the past to Chinese attempts to enter other strategic U.S. sectors, such as energy and telecommunications

UNforunately, they may be back for another attempt:

…the two companies have also been discussing putting forward AVIC’s new L-15 trainer jet as a candidate to replace the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of Northrop T-38s, which entered service 50 years ago and on which American fighter pilots learn skills such as how to fly at supersonic speeds.

That contract is expected to be one of the most lucrative military aviation contracts this decade, with the U.S. likely to buy about 400 and other allied countries about 600 more as the jet will become the standard for training pilots to fly the U.S. F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get a really bad feeling about the US becoming dependent on the ChiComs for maintaining our military? Sheeesh!

The Taxman Cometh: Governor’s got the right idea, legislature not so hot!

“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
[1 Tucker 248 (N.Y. Surr., 1966)]

With a number of tax increase proposals on the table up at Pierre, one wonders whether they actually paid attention to the most notable trend in the last election: the widespread feeling that government at most levels is all too willing to meet any actual or perceived need and/or shortage with a tax increase to meet the self-defined necessity.

The Chief has a budget of his own. When there seems to be a limitation on the availability of disposable income, something’s got to change. Inevitably, what changes is the elimination of desired spending (since I don’t own a printing press like the Federal Reserve does, nor do I have the ability to arbitrarily raise income by a legislative action.

As a result, any number of additional needs, including (but not limited to) a new pickup, several fine firearms of various calibers, some much-needed improvement in the technical capabilities of my HAM radio station installation, just to name a few things. Unfortunately, the income to acquire these wonderful things doesn’t seem to be there, due to the circumstances and vicissitudes of life, so priorities come into play, and such mundane items as food, propane, electricity for example trump the new truck, etc. C’est la vie.

Far too long, the legislative branches of government at all levels have grown accustomed to the idea that the needs of the government deserve a priority in all things that they, in their infinite wisdom deem to be important (certainly things that are more important than the insignificant desires of the citizenry to presume to manage their own money. This attitude has pretty much directly led to the unspeakably obscene federal deficits and debt, as well as the near (and impending) bankruptcy of some state and local governments.

Fortunately, South Dakota is not in that sort of position yet. We have been blessed to have been spared the worst effects of the current, and, despite D.C. cheerleader propaganda to the contrary, continuing economic distress. With the national economic reality catching up to the state, the revenue stream to Pierre is down, and the legislature starts immediately moves to keep the budget in line by raising taxes, rather than cutting spending to keep a budgetary balance.

This is not to deny that budget cuts, deferred spending, or even (shudder) cancellation of wanted spending are pleasant, but when needs must, the devil drives.

South Dakota finds itself with two points of view regarding the prioritizations involved in government finance, and the underlying assumptions that often are present: like the one that assumes that the current structure and composition of governmental agencies of all types is absolutely essential to the continued existence of the state. It MUST be essential, right? Otherwise past legislatures would have never set them up the way they are, right? So shut up and smile while you pay your taxes!

Any honest observer of the last election cycle HAS to note the reaction to the assumption that government (at all levels) must continue to grow, can never be cut, and is morally entitled by legislative fiat to seize however much of the citizens’ wealth it deems necessary to accomplish their aims. In the current SD setting, there are apparently is a financial dichotomy forming between those in the legislature and elsewhere who seek to continue (to some extent at leat) spending as usual, and on the other hand the Governor.

Firstly, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW GOOD THE STATE’S PROGRAMS, AGENCIES, ETC. (including Education at all levels) ARE…if the money isn’t there, it isn’t there, and can’t be spent. If there is a contingency fund (which there is), it should be left for some emergency need…and shouldn’t be used just to kick the legislative ball down the road for one more year…with the problem only postponed. Sort of like a sinner’s prayer: “Help me Lord to turn away from my sins, but not quite yet.” The stable, and more realistic solution is that of the governor, as reported:
Daugaard: We don’t have any money to give

Gov. Dennis Daugaard defended his proposed budget in a tour of South Dakota communities last week, saying he slashed expenses for every department because the state “can’t give money we don’t have.”

Daugaard sat down with the Enterprise last week prior to giving a speech in Brookings. The governor described in detail his plan to cover an estimated $127 million structural deficit in one year with a proposed 10 percent spending reduction throughout state government.

His budget proposal includes cuts in state aid to school districts and reimbursements to those who provide services to Medicaid patients, both of which would have a significant impact in Moody County [and elsewhere]

Daugaard says he won’t raise taxes and is opposed to using reserves for operating expenses. He’s also pledged to veto any budget this year that doesn’t eliminate the deficit.

On the other hand, legislators are talking about (so far) nine tax increase measures. Even temporary increases are problematic, since a later simple act all too often makes them permanent. With the declines in disposable income than many in the state are experiencing from inflation (check your HyVee receipts, and gasoline costs for examples), and increasing taxes (at all levels), it shouldn’t be too much to expect that the legislature would get the picture, and realize that it’s not time to be raising taxes to continue currently unaffordable spending.

“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything that you have. — Barry Goldwater

Real Witch Hunting!

The Witch Hunts of Gaza, Literally

Hamas leaders are committed to a systematic ”witch hunt” and 150 women were arrested in 2010 in Gaza for having made recourse to witchcraft of some sort. During a symposium held in recent days in Gaza, it was stated that in the eyes of Hamas, the activities of these women represent a real social danger, also because they risk ”breaking up families,” causing divorce and frittering away of money. Sometimes their activities also have criminal repercussions. One awareness campaign against ”the witches” was launched using large posters in mosques, universities and public offices frequented by women.

These are the people that some expect and demand that Israel and/or the USA should negotiate with? Really?

Dangerous Egyptian Unraveling

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood eyes unity gov’t without Mubarak

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group,is in talks with other anti-government figures to form a national unity government without President Hosni Mubarak, a group official told DPA on Sunday.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood is officially banned from running for elections for parliament, some movement members have presented candidacy for parliament as independents.

This would NOT good for the U.S., indeed or for Western Civilization itself:

The process of settlement [of Islam in the United States] is a “Civilization-Jihadist” process with all the word means. The Ikhwan [M.B.] must understand that all their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” their miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who choose to slack. [This description was in a Dallas Morning News piece by Rod Dreher, but is apparently no longer accessible there.]

For a bit more up to date explanation and treatment go here. This link includes an instructive look at one of the previously noted apologists ostriches.

Administration mouthpieces, and others who are currently downplaying any threat from the Muslim Brotherhood, either have a severe case of poor situational awareness, or some other agenda than the national interest and survival of United States constitutional principles.