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January 2012



How far will congressional Republicans retreat to avoid a confrontation with Barack Obama?

“We now know Obama is willing to exercise unconstitutional power. The only unanswered question is whether congressional Republicans can rediscover their courage and push back.Since the Nixon administration, whenever a Republican president tried to exercise his constitutional powers, the Democrats and their amen chorus in the media have been in full cry about the dangers of the “imperial presidency.” Now we really have one and they are, predictably, compliant.It’s up to the Republican leaders in the House and Senate to restrain our imperious president. What, gentlemen, are you prepared to do?”

President Obama has made clear his path to re-election. He plans to run against Congress and — by seizing unconstitutional powers — go about governing this year with or without the legislative action required by the Constitution. He’ll issue executive orders, have his bureaucracy regulate as may please his ideology, and generally do whatever else he can get away with.

Obama apparently thinks he can get away with a lot, and judging by the response of the Republican congressional leaders to his actions last week, he’s probably right.


Did Bill Clinton run a surplus? Plus: Our Titanic Moment Posted By Roger Kimball
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2012/01/09/did-bill-clinton-run-a-surplus-plus-our-titanic-moment/

The stars must be aligned to foist the constellation anaticula into the Zeitgeist: for the Duck, otherwise known as “the canard” casts its ghoulish light over our sublunary world. Four times in the past week someone has written to inform me that (I pick one formulation of the falsum anaticula) “when Bill Clinton left office there was a government surplus, it was the Bush administration that turned that into a deficit . . .”

This is a canard one hears almost as frequently as this election- year staple: that Newt Gingrich, heinous fellow, asked a former wife for a divorce while she languished in hospital, dying of cancer. What a terrible man, eh? Except that the story isn’t true, as even the most cursory research (e.g., The Gingrich Divorce Myth [1]) would show.

But research, even the cursory sort, isn’t as much fun as simple repetition, especially when there’s a reputation to ruin, smugness to be enjoyed, or a political point to score.

So it is with “Clinton delivered a surplus to George Bush in 2000” canard. You can discover this by going to the monthly statements [2] published by the U.S. Treasury. “But wait,” you say, “that chart linked shows a surplus of more than $200 billion! It’s right there in black-and-white: $236 billion and the word ‘surplus.’ So there.”

Not quite “there,” actually. That $236 billion is only one part of a larger puzzle, the bottom line of which is the total national debt, which grew every year under Clinton. Talk of a “surplus” is possible only because of accounting legerdemain. The economist Craig Steiner has put the case more clearly than anyone I know in a series of articles: “The Myth of the Clinton Surplus [3],” “The Myth of the Clinton Surplus, Part II [4],” and “The True Federal Deficit [5].” In the second article, Mr. Steiner casts his beady eye upon that $236 billion and explains how the national debt is calculated:



US Army and Afghan Army play volleyball in southwestern Kandahar in 2011. On Sunday, a similar match in Zabul province turned deadly when an Afghan Army member shot and killed one American, wounding three.

It would be most helpful for at least one of the GOP candidates to think long and hard about what is going wrong with the Bush-Obama Afghanistan War and share his thoughts with his fellow citizens. A good place to start would be with examining — noticing — the serial murders of ISAF soldiers by Afghan Army members, particularly given the fact that the Bush-Obama strategy is to train the Afghan security forces (at exhorbitant US taxpayer cost) as the supporting pillar of our so-called Exit Strategy. As George W. Bush used to say about Iraq, as they stand up, we stand down. And that worked out so well.

In the last three months the murder count in five separate attacks by uniformed Afghan security forces inside the wire includes:

Three Australian Diggers killed and ten wounded; four non-specified NATO troops wounded; two members of France’s elite 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment killed; and, most recently, one US soldier killed and three wounded–while playing volleyball.

Excluding the Australian losses, the remaining attacks occurred in the past three weeks.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203513604577140671297550142.html?KEYWORDS=WILLIAM+SHAWCROSS Legal proceedings against violent extremists are a crucial defense of our civilization, writes William Shawcross, whose father was a prosecutor at Nuremberg. Expect to hear a lot about Nuremberg in the months ahead. The war-crimes trials of leading Nazis, begun in that German city in 1945, will form an important subtext as we approach […]


http://www.meforum.org/3134/turkey-economic-miracle UPDATE

Among all the dumb things said about the so-called Arab Spring last year, perhaps the dumbest was the idea that the new democracies of the Arab world might follow the Turkish model.

In fact, if you had invested in the Turkish model (that is, in the Turkish stock market) at the outbreak of the Arab revolts, you would have lost about half your money. If you leave your money in Turkey, you probably will lose the rest of it. Turkey is not a model. It is a bubble, and it is bursting, starting with the stock market and national currency.

Full disclosure: I shorted the Turkish market after I published my obituary for the country’s economic boom (see “Instant Obsolescence of the Turkish model”, Asia Times Online, August
10, 2011). And I was denounced as a Zionist plotter in the Turkish media. As a matter of record, I wish to state that I am shorting Turkey not for any political motivation, but only because the Turkish government’s economic policy is a clown show. I make a point, however, of contributing some of the profits to Zionist causes.


http://frontpagemag.com/2012/01/09/obama-terrorism-advisors-book-confuses-distorts/ Reading CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein’s book, Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat, published by the Naval Institute Press (2010), one can see why U.S. leadership is far from “understanding the global threat”; why the Obama administration is supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood; and why so many U.S. politicians rose up in condemnation when one obscure pastor threatened […]


All-American Failure Posted By Daniel Greenfield

URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/01/09/all-american-failure/

As the eighth and final episode of “All-American Muslim” airs and the series wraps up, it does so as a failure. Last week’s 9/11 episode once again failed to appear on the Cable 100 rankings. Viewers were willing to tune in an hour earlier to TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” but they changed the channel to anything and everything when it was time for “All-American Muslim.”

What were viewers willing to endure rather than experience the Shiite version of the Jersey Shore? They tuned in to National Geographic’s “Alaska State Troopers,” Tru TV’s “Lizard Lick Towing” and Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot,” but you couldn’t get them to watch “All-American Muslim.” Which just goes to show that we’re a nation of Islamophobes. Or that even people with bad taste in television have standards.

The dirty little liberal secret is that progressives don’t watch “All-American Muslim” either. The show only exists as an Islamophobia talking point. Every time an advertiser drops it in favor of “Finding Bigfoot,” the progressives crow that once again they have proven that we are a nation that hates Muslims and loves Bigfoot.


URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/01/09/how-the-u-s-%e2%80%9cbullied%e2%80%9d-poor-little-castro/

January 7, 1959 marked a milestone in U.S. diplomatic history. Never before had the State Department extended diplomatic recognition to a Latin American government as quickly as it bestowed it on Fidel Castro’s that day.

At the time, Castro himself had yet to enter Havana.

Nothing so frantically fast had been bestowed upon “U.S.-backed” Fulgencio Batista (obligatory prefix, used in every MSM and “scholarly” mention of him) seven years earlier. Batista had in fact been punished by a U.S. arms embargo and heavy diplomatic pressure to resign for a year. Batista was subsequently denied exile in the U.S. and not even allowed to set foot in the country that “backed” him.

On a visit to Cuba in 2001 for a “scholarly summit” with Fidel and Raul Castro, Robert Reynolds — who served as the CIA’s Caribbean desk’s specialist on the Cuban revolution in 1960 — clarified the U.S. diplomatic stance of the time: “Me and my staff were all Fidelistas,” he boasted to his beaming hosts.

Reynolds’ colleague Robert Weicha, who served as CIA chief in Santiago, Cuba, in the late 1950s, concurred: Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State were pro-Castro, except ambassador Earl T. Smith.

In the fall of ’57, Weicha and U.S. Consul Park Wollam smuggled into Cuba the state-of-the-art transmitters that became Castro and Che’s Radio Rebelde. From these mics, the Castroites broadcast their “guerrilla victories” island-wide, along with their plans to uplift Cuba into a Caribbean Shangri-La inspired by the principles of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson and St Francis of Assisi. These proclamations were then reaching most of the English-speaking world through the good work of the New York Times and CBS (Herbert Matthews and Don Hewitt, respectively).

“War against the United States is my true destiny!” Fidel Castro had confided in a letter to a friend in June 1958. “When this war’s over I’ll start that much bigger war.” Alas, this message was not broadcast over the U.S.-issue “Radio Rebelde,” and apparently slipped past our crackerjack CIA.

Within days of recognizing Castro’s regime, the U.S. State Department sacked its Republican ambassador to Cuba, Earl.T. Smith– that insufferable pest mentioned by Weicha. Smith’s unforgivable gaffe was repeatedly warning that supporting the Castro rebels (as we’ve seen, both morally and materially) while pulling the rug out from under Batista was not the shrewdest method of advancing U.S. interests, to say nothing of the interests of the Cuban people.

Months earlier, an alarmed Smith contacted Jim Noel, CIA station chief in Havana, with reports from his Cuban contacts about communist string-pullers existing within Castro’s movement, and about Che Guevara’s well-known communist ties and sympathies. (When arrested in Mexico City in 1956, Guevara was carrying in his pocket the business card of the local KGB agent, who also served as Raul Castro’s KGB handler since 1953.) But Noel could hardly mask his annoyance at the naysaying Republican alarmist:

“Don’t worry, Ambassador,” snapped the typically liberal CIA officer. “We’ve infiltrated Castro’s group in the Sierra. The Castros and Che Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.”

Smith’s replacement — Phil Bonsal, a liberal career diplomat — fully backed and quickly adopted the official “carrot and even bigger carrot” policy towards Castro. The policy soon showered the new Cuban regime with $200 million in subsidies from U.S. taxpayers.

Castro was quick to respond:

“The U.S. is a vulture preying on humanity!” he raved just a week after Smith’s sacking. “Let the Marines invade! Then we’ll pile up 200,000 dead gringos!”

As mentioned, the only “U.S. invasion” then envisaged was one of smiling, groveling Yankee diplomats and Yankee taxpayer subsidies.

Alert Cubans started plotting against Castro almost from day one, but — alert to who helped him into power — they kept well clear of U.S. officials, turning instead to Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic for some logistical assistance. Nonetheless, in August 1959, Phil Bonsal got wind of this plot and promptly alerted Castro to a conspiracy against his regime manned solely by Cubans. Thanks in part to Bonsal’s solicitude for the regime insulting his nation as “a vulture preying on humanity” and poised to steal $2 billion from U.S. stockholders, the anti-Castro plot was foiled.


Israeli bars get smart as academia finds an unlikely late-night homeA new trend is marrying lectures on anything from quantum physics, linguistics, and high tech with the big city’s rowdy nightlife. By Neta Halperin

On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much a connection between a sleazy, smoky bar and a stuffy lecture on quantum physics or dark matter. But, at least in Tel Aviv, these two strange worlds are coming together.

The result: Some of the big city’s best bars are hosting lectures led by those considered as these establishments’ outsiders, drawn out of the labs and research institutes into nightlife stardom.

Even the organizers are taken aback every time by the popularity of these classes, and with the rate the phenomenon has been growing, those who don’t seek an education on their night on the town will be soon considered a dying breed.

These events initiated by Weizmann Institute of Science lecturers, who were looking for ways to broaden their student base.

“We saw that the institute was teeming with listeners coming in to hear lectures, Weizmann Institute spokesman Yivsam Azgad told Haaretz, adding that those lectures “usually preached to the choir.”


Israel – a leader in disaster planning

Israel has assumed the unwanted role as a world leader in developing medical technology and planning to prepare for disasters, and its innovations are being studied and disseminated to other countries to save lives.

In one example, American politician Gabrielle Gffords was shot in the head and almost killed a year ago, but an Israeli-made bandage is credited with stopping her bleeding. Today she is alive and on the road to recovery.

Dr. John Cohn, a Professor of medicine and assistant professor of pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University, recently wrote about his visit to Israeli medical centres to learn about their medical disaster management plans on a program now in its eighth year run by the Disaster Management Division of Israel’s Ministry of Health.

In his article “In the Field With Israelis Prepping for Disaster” (November, 30), Dr. Cohn highlighted some of Israel’s leading innovations in disaster management, and the dramatic extent to which Israeli medicine has had to prepare for some anticipated military worst case scenarios in the near future. The article is also notable for pointing out the realities of the Israeli medical system – where Jews and Arabs both are treated together and work together without fear of favour – effectively undermining the falsehood being spread about Israel as some sort of ‘Apartheid state’: