Saturday, December 1, 2012

Let's get to know Susan Rice.

Well, she's rich. Richie Rice: 
The portfolio of embattled United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice includes investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in several energy companies known for doing business with Iran, according to financial disclosure forms. . . . Rice has the highest net worth of executive branch members, with a fortune estimated between $24 to $44 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A Free Beacon analysis of Rice’s portfolio shows thousands of dollars invested in at least three separate companies cited by lawmakers on Capitol Hill for doing business in Iran’s oil and gas sector.
Did you know Valerie Jarrett was born in Iran? Oh, c'mon, she can't help where's she born.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Margaret Thatcher on Socialism

"The evidence shows that our father was killed in their custody," he said. "They have lied to us ever since, withholding documents and information, and changing their story when convenient."

"Olson was a bioweapons expert at Fort Detrick, the Army's biological weapons research center in Maryland. Their lawsuit claims the CIA killed Olson when he developed misgivings after witnessing extreme interrogations in which they allege the CIA committed murder using biological agents Olson had developed."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Despite its sunny shores and mountain heights, glorious vineyards and gloriouser weather, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the Golden state has become—how you say?— kind of a crapfest."

Bust: California named worst-run state in the nation

It's just Christmas in Hawaii. No biggie.

"With the staff, special forces, local police presence and equipment, the President's visit adds up annually to at least a $4 million vacation courtesy of the Hawaii and federal taxpayers.
While the President and his friends pay for their own rental homes, taxpayers pick up the cost of security and waterfront housing for the Secret Service, Navy Seals and Coast Guard as well as staff accommodations at a plush beachfront Waikiki hotel."

A while back, I commented that Paula Broadwell likely had a legitimate defense to having classified documents.

Here is the latest:

Investigators say many of the documents are old and may no longer be classified despite their labels, and say Broadwell told them she did not get them from Petraeus.

MSNBC: Gay Jokes Are Funny When We Tell 'Em

John Heilemann Makes Lindsey Graham Joke on ‘Morning Joe;’ Edited Out of 8am Reair - TVNewser

With Lieberman leaving the Senate, McCain and Graham have brought in another “amigo” SenatorKelly Ayotte. That prompted Heilemann to make a bad joke, at the expense of Graham:
Heilemann: They need a third amigo at all times. So now they have — now two of the three are women — now at least one of the three are women.
That drew hysterical laughter from Scarborough who had to turn his chair around. Mika Brzezinski took over and brought in Andrea Mitchell as Scarborough and Heilemann composed themselves.

"We're like unicorns."

From the New York Times:
"I’m trying to break the stereotype that all gays and lesbians, especially lesbians, are Democrats,” she said.
Although the Republican Party has long drawn gay men who believe in the party’s message of small government and a strong military, Republican lesbians are a rare political breed.
“Oh, we’re like unicorns,” said Erin Simpson, 51, who cites “personal liberty” as a fundamental value and teaches firearms safety in Tucson. Ms. Simpson, who came out in February, was “very disheartened” by Mitt Romney’s loss — one fueled, in part, by overwhelming gay support for President Obama.
There is no way to measure the true numbers, but gay activists say that in many cases, these “unicorns” were Republicans before they were gay — driven by conservative upbringings, economic issues and libertarian principles. They often did not acknowledge their sexual orientation, even to themselves, until middle age.

Mini fridge. Stocked.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Middle East is descending into the sort of chaos eminently foreseeable as Obama dismantled American influence and power in that region."

Diplomad 2.0:
Developments overseas are following the predictable path blazed by the Obama misadministration's absurd policies of apology, abasement, and accommodation. The Middle East is about as dangerous as it has ever been. Unlike previous major crises in the region, e.g., 1967 and 1973, we now have a welter of totally irrational and unpredictable actors running about on the stage. Nobody really knows what Iran might or might not do; nobody knows how crazed Hezbollah or Hamas might behave; nobody knows what exactly is going on inside Egypt as Morsi launches a pharonic power grab; nobody knows what is going on inside Syria; and we still have no answers as to what happened in Benghazi and why. The Middle East is descending into the sort of chaos eminently foreseeable as Obama dismantled American influence and power in that region. Thanks to the Obama misadministration's open hostitlity to our developing realistic domestic sources of energy, we remain vulnerable to the whims and manias of the loons in the Middle East. Nuclear-armed Israel stands alone as the sole representative of the West in the Middle East. How much longer before they act?

First law suit filed to lift combat ban on female soldiers

This will be interesting to follow:
Two female soldiers filed suit on Wednesday to scrap the U.S. military's restrictions on women in combat, claiming the policy violated their constitutional rights.
Command Sergeant Major Jane Baldwin and Colonel Ellen Haring, both Army reservists, said policies barring them from assignments "solely on the basis of sex" violated their right to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.
"This limitation on plaintiffs' careers restricts their current and future earnings, their potential for promotion and advancement, and their future retirement benefits," the women said in the suit filed in U.S. District Court.

Red Tide at Australia's Bondi Beach

For more incredible pictures click here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"A judgment issue is a fair issue of inquiry."

She credited Rice with saying up front that the “spontaneous demonstration” story was wrong, but then she began a detailed discussion of the questions that are multiplying. She noted that Rice had used the unclassified talking points. She however continued, “But as part of her responsibilities she receives daily intelligence briefings and in fact got them 6 days a week.” That classified intelligence included the phrase later deleted from the unclassified talking points that “individuals with ties to Al Qaeda were involved in the attacks.” Rice noted that not only did she leave that out, but that on Meet the Press and Face the Nation, ”She also made the statement Al Qaeda had been decimated.” That Ayotte said leaves a “very different impression” with the American people than what she knew to be the truth.
In short, prior to the meeting Ayotte didn’t know if Rice only had access to the unclassified talking points. Now she knows Rice had the accurate and complete story and is left with “many questions that have to be answered.”
So it should at least be settled that asking if someone is stupid or lying is not racist! Now, we still need more answers. Forward!

And only about 120,000,000 voted!!

A record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites in the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday weekend this year, up 9% from 226 million last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation released Sunday.

Have you seen Lena Dunham's new HBO show "Girls"?

Neither have I. But Betsy Woodruff has, and she likes it. The real Lena Dunham, not so much:
You can almost argue that Lena Dunham sees President Obama as the perfect surrogate for everything missing in her characters’ lives: He’s their gentle lover, supportive parent, and empathetic friend. He’s special. He won’t let them down. He’s Prince Charming. And that kind of defeats the purpose of feminism.
You’d think the feminist elevation of agency would result in women who take pride in being responsible for their own bodies. You’d hope that telling women that they can do whatever they want would imply that they’re responsible for what they do. You’d think serious feminists would argue that true empowerment is something you lay claim to, not something the federal government dispenses in all its benevolence. But for Dunham, that doesn’t seem to be the case. . . .
Second-wave feminists lionized the independent woman who paid her own rent and busted through glass ceilings and ran for Congress. Being totally self-sufficient was the goal. The idea was that women didn’t need men, whether those men were their fathers or husbands or boyfriends or presidents. By contrast, Dunham’s new vision of women as lady parts with ballots is infantilizing and regressive.

Dorian Electra: Fa$t Ca$h

Monday, November 26, 2012

"The bottom line is that the enemy doesn’t discriminate, rounds will not slow down, and combat loads don’t get any lighter, regardless of gender or capability."

The Marine Corps is researching the integration of women into the infantry military occupational specialty (MOS), currently available only to men. In order to study this issue, the Infantry Officer Course was opened to females in September. Two of eighty eligible female Marines volunteered. While the course was open to them, the actual MOS was not. Even if they completed the grueling 13 week course, they would return to their previous billets and not become infantry officers. Some might say that’s not much incentive to volunteer, but any problems over not being granted the MOS are moot. Neither female Marine finished the course, one dropping out the first day (with 26 other men who also dropped). Medical issues are cited as a reason for the second drop.

The Corps plans to continue the study of including women in the infantry through having them participate in IOC over the next year. The Corps would like to have at least 90 women volunteer, but so far there are no takers for the next course beginning in January. This won’t come as a surprise to Capt. Katie Petronio who recently irritated proponents of women in the infantry when she spoke outagainst opening the MOS to females. Capt. Petronio drew on her experience as a combat engineer on two separate deployments to the middle east. Her description of the deployments is physically strenuous as she served in much the same manner as any male infantry officer – carrying full combat gear during extended periods and being the highest ranking Marine in charge during various dangerous operations.

Capt. Petronio experienced physical ailments, just as did her fellow male Marines, but she found that her injuries came on more quickly, were more severe, and lingered longer. This was despite her being in excellent physical condition (she scored a 292 out of 300 on her physical fitness test, could squat 200 pounds, and bench 145 pounds, at 5’3”). Capt. Petronio supports opening most combat related MOS to women, except for infantry. She cites the lack of historical data on female attrition and medical ailments on women who have executed sustained combat operations. While she is certain there may be a few women who would be physically capable of enduring significant combat operations, she is concerned about longevity of those women to remain in the MOS without suffering career ending medical problems.

One reason for opening combat specialties to women has been the argument of lack of opportunity for professional advancement – as combat deployments tend to build a resume, the less chance a woman has at gaining that experience, the less ability she has to advance in the Corps. Capt. Petronio’s argument is that women face greater physical and medical issues in an infantry position that will preclude them from advancing anyway. With that being the case, what is the benefit to the individual or to the Corps? She asks, “Who is driving this agenda?” Since we are not seeing female Marines clamoring their way to get to IOC, this is a valid question.  

Lowering the physical standards at IOC to accommodate female students might be a solution that allows females to compete, but it seems more appropriate that the requirements of the job should be tied to the demands of the job, not the abilities of the applicant. The Marine Corps is currently conducting fitness testing and the differences between the resultsfor men and women to determine if any of the standards should be changed. The “tests include lifting a 72-pound machine gun above their heads while wearing a 71-pound rucksack, marching 12 miles in less than five hours carrying a 71-pound rucksack and evacuating a mock casualty weighing about 200 pounds.”

Capt. Petronio’s view on changing standards:  There have been many working groups and formal discussions recently addressing what changes would be necessary to the current IOC period of instruction in order to accommodate both genders without producing an underdeveloped or incapable infantry officer. Not once was the word “lower” used, but let’s be honest, “modifying” a standard so that less physically or mentally capable individuals (male or female) can complete a task is called “lowering the standard”! The bottom line is that the enemy doesn’t discriminate, rounds will not slow down, and combat loads don’t get any lighter, regardless of gender or capability. Read the rest of Capt. Petronio’s article here.

What are the odds that after a year of studying the issue, General Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, comes back to Congress and says, "Nope, can't do it"

Use of drones needs more scrutiny under the laws of war

Under President Obama, drone strikes in the middle east rose dramatically. In Pakistan alone, Obama's drone strikes outnumbered Bush's five (or six) to one.  The blue spots on the map below are Obama's operations, and the red are Bush's:

"As a result, the number of estimated deaths from the Obama administration's drone strikes is more than four times what it was during the Bush administration -- somewhere between 1,494 and 2,618.
Reportedly, Obama's strikes are more accurate and kill higher numbers of militants than did Bush's even if they do so in more numbers, however, Obama's strikes have also expanded the meaning of appropriate targets. Bush targeted known leaders, while Obama's targets include nondescript gatherings of militants. The numbers of non-combatants killed is also reportedly higher under Bush's strikes, but the way the numbers are reported it is difficult to tell if parallel comparisons are being made:
"The number of civilians plus those individuals whose precise status could not be determined from media reports -- labeled 'unknowns' by NAF -- reported killed by drones in Pakistan during Obama's tenure in office were 11% of fatalities," said Bergen. "So far in 2012 it is close to 2%. Under President Bush it was 33%."
The foundation's analysis relies on credible media outlets in Pakistan, which in turn rely on Pakistani officials and local villagers' accounts, Bergen said, rather than on U.S. figures.
Here is another site with more specific numbers. Here is an excellent site with a topographical representation of strikes since 2004, with accompanying information for each strike.

The drone program is deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where the national parliament voted in April to end any authorization for it. This, however, was "a vote that the United States government has simply ignored," according to Bergen. . . .
Non-combatants/civilians are terrorized by the strikes and have scaled down their regular activities. The uncertainty of the strikes destroys any sense of prolonged security.

Obama denies that he has any direct involvement in selecting targets, but says, "It has to be a target that is authorized by our laws. It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. It has to be a situation in which we can't capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States."
"President Barack Obama's administration is in the process of drawing up a formal rulebook that will set out the circumstances in which targeted assassination by unmanned drones is justified, according to reports.
The New York Times said that, facing the possibility that the president might not be re-elected, work [to draw up a rulebook] began in the weeks running up to the 6 November election to "develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials." . . .
In October, Obama referred to efforts to codify the controversial drone programme. In an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on 18 October, the president said: "One of the things we've got to do is put legal architecture in place and we need congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in, in terms of some of the decisions we're making."
While it is good that current strikes appear to be more accurate with less collateral damage, there are still questions of international law that should be answered prior to adopting any "legal architecture." It seems contrary to humanitarian concerns that any strikes would be made without having a definiteness to the rules of engagement. Now who was it they said shot first and aimed later?

Pork Rinds & Pimento Cheese

I doubt the North has any appetizers meeting this sophistication:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"I had no idea that a combat zone would be such a sexually charged environment."

This, from a West Pointer?
Yes, to become a leader of character and serve my country well, it is imperative that I not have sex in my college bedroom. . . . I had no idea that a combat zone would be such a sexually charged environment. Blame it on amped-up testosterone pouring out of aggressive, athletic men. Or blame it on combat stripping even the strongest of men and women down to their core, raw emotions. Combine that with forming special bonds with comrades who promise to do whatever it takes to ensure your safe return home, including sacrificing their life for yours. What do you think happens?

Unwittingly, this woman makes the case for keeping women out of combat, even out of the armed forces. I'd like her to shut up. She appears to have learned nothing of morale, unit cohesion, self-sacrifice for the success of the mission. But considering she has a book and a comedy career to promote, she does know all about irreverence being a sure path to notoriety.

3. Bastiat ~ A Just and Enduring Government

Previous Bastiat posts can be found here.
1. Life is a Gift from God
2.What is Law

If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable— whatever its political form might be.

Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. 

When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.

It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.