Health Grade: 85.97%
Total Health Score: 91.97%
Health Risk Penalty: 6.00%
Health Grade: 85.97%
Total Health Score: 91.97%
Health Risk Penalty: 6.00%
http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/defense-budget-cuts-yes-but-lets-be-realistic/article/2504898 The Audit the Pentagon bill introduced last week by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., described in last Thursday’s Examiner editorial, is rightly aimed at reforming Pentagon budget processes so that the Defense Department can be held to the standards of fiscal accountability that are required of all other executive branch agencies. [...]
Media would rather get Arpaio than vet Obama
When Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the lead investigator of his Cold Case Posse, Michael Zullo, presented evidence they say proves that President Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a forgery, they were attacked by reporters who appeared to be more interested in the investigators than the results of their investigation. One thing that was not discussed was their evidence, which ranges from digital forensics to old-school detective work.
The investigation’s technical analysis relied on the work of Mara Zebest, an author and tech editor, who was enlisted by the Cold Case Posse to look at the documents. She concluded in a report that: “Obama’s PDF file can no longer be referred to as a ‘document,’ since that term implies it existed and started in paper form. Obama’s PDF must be referred to as a ‘digital file’ because that is all it has ever been. …”
Ms. Zebest says Obama’s long-form birth certificate is not even a good forgery. “Poor is an understatement. It’s horrific,” she said. “When it was released, I still expected a file that would be difficult to determine as fraudulent, but when I opened it up, within seconds it was clear it was an obvious fake.” In order to make sure she wasn’t seeing things, she says she called a friend who was also familiar with computer programming. He downloaded it from the White House website and had the same reaction. “Oh my God, somebody has been very sloppy here,” he said, according to Zebest.
For Ms. Zebest, the foremost sign that the document has been tampered with is the existence of layers. “Layers are a very damning part of why this is a forgery,” she said. Layers appear when a document is opened in a graphics program, like Adobe Illustrator. These layers contain elements from the document, but not the whole document. One layer may contain the background color. Another layer may contain only black text. The information that appears on each layer depends on how the document was originally created.
For those more familiar with a non-digital era, think of layers as transparencies used with a slide projector. Multiple transparencies may make up a single image. In this case, the transparencies are stacked one on top of the other to create a composite of Mr. Obama’s long-form birth certificate.
Ms. Zebest says there should be no layers in Mr. Obama’s birth certificate. “If you take a birth certificate and scan it into a computer, you’re going to end up with a flat document. You’re not going to have anything with layers. The fact that it has multiple layers in itself means manipulation,” she said.
Obama’s long-form birth certificate contains nine layers. Those who defend the document’s legitimacy say automated computer software could have created the layers. They have suggested two types of processes specifically: Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, and optimization.
The argument for Optical Character Recognition is easily debunked, Ms. Zebest says. OCR scans a document for text and converts it so that it can be selected, edited, copied or pasted. Put another way, OCR software takes text that the computer only recognizes as an image and processes it so that the computer understands it to be text. According to Ms. Zebest, the trouble with the theory that Mr. Obama’s document went through the OCR process is that the words are still “treated as an image in the picture. If OCR were applied, you’d be able to search for a word and it would be recognized within the document, but that doesn’t happen.”
The second argument against forgery put forward by those who dismiss claims the document was manipulated is optimization. The purpose of optimization is to reduce a document’s file size. This makes the file easier to use. Think faster downloads on the web. The way optimization compresses a file is by segmenting the document into separate layers in order to compress it more thoroughly.
Garrett Papit, a computer professional who works for a Fortune 500 company and holds a degree in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management, looked at the optimization argument. He approached Mr. Arpaio’s team with his findings. What he found was that optimization doesn’t explain the pattern of layers found in Mr. Obama’s long-form birth certificate.
An automated process of optimization will always create only one single transparent text layer, Papit says. That text layer is always 1-bit monochrome. But Obama’s birth certificate has many 1-bit layers. “It violates the basic characteristics of an optimized file,” Papit said. “What I found through months of testing is that in every case there’s only one single 1-bit layer. I’m 100 percent sure the file had to be manipulated in some way other than optimization.”
Well, when you’ve got totalitarian ambitions, and you’ve already started locking up dissenting journalists, what’s the next logical step? If you’re the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, newly minted president of Egypt, it is obvious: start banning books.
Morsi’s government has reportedly banned importation of A History of the Modern Middle East, a well-known textbook by William L. Cleveland (who died in 2006) and Martin P. Bunton. The Egyptian daily, Al-Ahram, says no reason was given for the ban. The reason, however, is patent to anyone familiar with the Muslim Brotherhood.
One of the highest Brotherhood priorities is the “Islamization of knowledge.” That, as I’ve noted elsewhere, is the explicit purpose of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a think-tank in Virginia that the Brotherhood founded in the early 1980s. IIIT’s mission is to forge “a new synthesis of all knowledge in an Islamic epistemological framework” — to borrow the fitting description found in an important 2009 study, “The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States,” written by Steven Merley for the Hudson Institute’s Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World.
http://spectator.org/archives/2012/08/15/a-lost-opportunity-of-historic/ Ninety years ago last month, the League of Nations, the precursor to today’s United Nations, approved the Mandate for Palestine, out of which Israel was to emerge in 1948. Israel’s neighbors have been in varying states of war and hostility with it from that date to this. As this conflict has flared up across [...]
TED’S CURRENT ISSUES
Jobs and the Economy: Washington has stood in the way of job creation for too long by creating a climate of confusion. By promoting “garbage” legislation and handing down burdensome regulations, rules and mandates, Washington has stifled economic growth and killed jobs.
Solution: The mistakes made by politicians, financial institutions, lending houses and their lobbyists should be remembered and never repeated as the nation strives to recover. No single solution will foster the change our country and state need but we can help create an environment of certainty for all businesses. We can create it by simplifying the tax code, repealing Obamacare and taking a scalpel to all the job killing rules, regulations and mandates.
Taxes: It shouldn’t take an expert to understand the tax code. Special interest groups have controlled the tax code for long enough – it’s time to look out for America’s interests.
Solution: Our tax code needs to be simplified. I support the Fair Tax. At the minimum, the corporate tax rate should be lowered and locked in for an extended period of time that would allow businesses to make medium to long term investment plans. The estate and gift tax must be repealed.
Spending and our National Debt:The national debt has reached an unprecedented $15.4 trillion and it continues to grow daily. Out of control spending harms not only our quality of life but that of future generations. It is a direct threat to our national security.
Solution: Spending more than we take in, printing money at rates that devalue our dollar and too many taxpayer dollars being sent overseas as foreign aid are all adding to our economic uncertainty. I will not only evaluate existing federal programs but act to end wasteful projects and programs immediately. We must stop unnecessary spending. The bottom line is that the U.S. government cannot continue to live outside of its means.
Term Limits: For too long, there has been talk about congressional term limits with no results. As a result, we have too many career politicians.
Solution: In addition to personally pledging to only serving 4 terms (8 years) in the House of Representatives, I would support a constitutional amendment that would enact congressional term limits.
National Defense: I believe America still has the greatest military in the world, supported by brave men and women in uniform. Unfortunately, our troops have not received the level of support they need when they return home. Further, America’s weakened foreign policy has resulted in our drifting away from our strongest allies such as Israel.
Solution: Every single legislator needs to support our military. If we are to expect our troops to protect America at all costs, then we must guarantee to do likewise. By allocating the proper resources to our troops we can maximize their protection while serving our nation. We must also care for them after they complete their service. We should recognize the sacrifice that military families make while a loved one serves this nation. Finally, we need to stand with our allies and never waiver in our support.
A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.
The stealth underwater incursion in the Gulf took place at the same time Russian strategic bombers made incursions into restricted U.S. airspace near Alaska and California in June and July, and highlights a growing military assertiveness by Moscow.
The submarine patrol also exposed what U.S. officials said were deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities—forces that are facing cuts under the Obama administration’s plan to reduce defense spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years.
The Navy is in charge of detecting submarines, especially those that sail near U.S. nuclear missile submarines, and uses undersea sensors and satellites to locate and track them.
The fact that the Akula was not detected in the Gulf is cause for concern, U.S. officials said.
The officials who are familiar with reports of the submarine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico said the vessel was a nuclear-powered Akula-class attack submarine, one of Russia’s quietest submarines.
A Navy spokeswoman declined to comment.
One official said the Akula operated without being detected for a month.
“The Akula was built for one reason and one reason only: To kill U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarines and their crews,” said a second U.S. official.
“It’s a very stealthy boat so it can sneak around and avoid detection and hope to get past any protective screen a boomer might have in place,” the official said, referring to the Navy nickname for strategic missile submarines.
The U.S. Navy operates a strategic nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia. The base is homeport to eight missile-firing submarines, six of them equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles, and two armed with conventional warhead missiles.
“Sending a nuclear-propelled submarine into the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean region is another manifestation of President Putin demonstrating that Russia is still a player on the world’s political-military stage,” said naval analyst and submarine warfare specialist Norman Polmar.
“Like the recent deployment of a task force led by a nuclear cruiser into the Caribbean, the Russian Navy provides him with a means of ‘showing the flag’ that is not possible with Russian air and ground forces,” Polmar said in an email.
The last time an Akula submarine was known to be close to U.S. shores was 2009, when two Akulas were spotted patrolling off the east coast of the United States.
Those submarine patrols raised concerns at the time about a new Russian military assertiveness toward the United States, according to the New York Times, which first reported the 2009 Akula submarine activity.
The latest submarine incursion in the Gulf further highlights the failure of the Obama administration’s “reset” policy of conciliatory actions designed to develop closer ties with Moscow.
Instead of closer ties, Russia under President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB intelligence officer who has said he wants to restore elements of Russia’s Soviet communist past, has adopted growing hardline policies against the United States.
Of the submarine activity, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “It’s a confounding situation arising from a lack of leadership in our dealings with Moscow. While the president is touting our supposed ‘reset’ in relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin is actively working against American interests, whether it’s in Syria or here in our own backyard.”
The Navy is facing sharp cuts in forces needed to detect and counter such submarine activity.
The Obama administration’s defense budget proposal in February cut $1.3 billion from Navy shipbuilding projects, which will result in scrapping plans to build 16 new warships through 2017.
Half a century ago this October, for almost two weeks, the world dangerously slid toward war as the United States and U.S.S.R. played a nuclear chess match. The confrontation focused on whether Soviet missiles, secretly installed in Cuba, would be voluntarily withdrawn by Moscow.It was the closest the two Cold War adversaries would ever come to nuclear war.
Washington was committed to not endangering its national security by the placement of missiles drastically reducing the distance required for Moscow to launch a surprise nuclear strike against the United States while also reducing U.S. reaction time to such a first strike. Recognizing his responsibility as president to protect U.S. national security interests above all else by denying an adversary a base anywhere within the Western Hemisphere from which to conduct such an attack, John F. Kennedy understood the threat facilitated by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s actions.
In the end, Kennedy proved his mettle by confronting the Soviets, eyeball to eyeball, until they blinked. The Soviets backed down; the missiles removed; U.S. national security restored; and the Monroe Doctrine preserved.
Today, the same threat, involving a different adversary and facilitator, exists — and has existed since 2006 — yet has been ignored by U.S. President Barack Obama. While comments he made last month sought to minimize concerns about this threat, they portrayed a false sense of security to Americans.
In a July 11 interview, Obama assured the American people another dictator, again providing an adversary with a base on his home soil from which missiles capable of hitting the United States would be positioned, represented no “serious” national security threat.
For those of us who might have thought (hoped?) that the climate-change hysteria of a couple of years ago was already on its way into the dustbin of history, the New York Times ran a piece on August 11 insisting that the danger is more urgent than ever. “Until recently,” wrote Northern Arizona University earth scientist Chirstopher R. Schwalm, Clark University geographer Christopher A. Williams, and Kevin Schaeffer of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, “many scientists spoke of climate change mainly as a ‘threat,’ sometime in the future. But it is increasingly clear that we already live in the era of human-induced climate change, with a growing frequency of weather and climate extremes like heat waves, droughts, floods and fires.” In the Times piece, which is apparently a précis of a recent essay in the journal Nature-Geoscience, the three authors argued that the recent drought in the American West, in its length and severity, represented a radical departure from previous droughts, and that climate models suggest that “this extreme event could become the new normal.” Their prescription: to prevent “a multidecade megadrought,” we must “reduce fossil-fuel emissions.” And their conclusion: “there can be little doubt that what was once thought to be a future threat is suddenly, catastrophically upon us.”
Yeah, whatever. I might be more inclined to take this sort of thing seriously if I hadn’t paid attention to Climategate and spent several days in December 2009 at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, which took place shortly after that scandal. Never have I seen a supposedly scientific event that was so thoroughly disconnected from science and suffused with politics – and so easily confused with religion. Climategate, it will be recalled, exposed the fact that global-warming boosters in the scientific community had been engaged in efforts, as a Wall Street Journal editorial put it, “to fit the data to their conclusions while attempting to silence and discredit their critics.” As I wrote at the time, it was no surprise that Climategate didn’t spell a quick end to the climate-change scam, for the scam wasn’t really about science at all but about politics – about having an excuse to target capitalist countries (above all the U.S.), which, as the dogma told us, was desecrating the environment and destroying the ozone layer.
We need to find a new label for the ideology espoused by leftist Democrats. “Liberal” doesn’t accurately describe the party of blinkered intolerance, fanatical certainty, and an eagerness to destroy freedom in order to achieve some dubious utopia. “Progressive” is more historically accurate for ideas that go back to a movement that started in the late 19th century. But it still suggests that lefties are the party of improvement and the future, when in fact they are reactionaries recycling failed ideas about as au courant as a Nehru jacket and a puka-shell necklace.
These labels, moreover, function like newspeak in Orwell’s 1984. They suggest that lib/progs are tolerant champions of individual freedom and rights, skeptical of old-fashioned group identity, believers in nuance and complexity, open to new ideas that challenge authority, and respectful of difference and diversity. Liberals fancy themselves the party of reason and truth, their views and ideas the consequence of education and nuanced thinking, and their prescriptions and policies the only viable way to improve human life and eliminate suffering and oppression.
Flip through any newspaper at random and you will find examples that show today’s lib/progs are exactly the opposite of those flattering clichés. Take global warming, back in the news recently after the announcement that last year’s average temperature was the highest on record. “The science is settled,” the lib/progs scold us, and there is a “consensus” that human activity is warming the planet to dangerous levels and causing more frequent catastrophic weather events. Those who challenge this “consensus” are “deniers,” either stooges of the oil companies or hopelessly ignorant rubes irrationally closing their eyes to an inconvenient truth.
But as Matt Ridley writes in The Wall Street Journal, this “settled science” in fact reflects a “monopoly that clings to one hypothesis (that carbon dioxide will cause dangerous global warming) and brooks less and less dissent. Again and again, climate skeptics are told they should respect the consensus, an admonition wholly against the tradition of science.” Thus the respecters of “complexity” and “science” unscientifically simplify the planet’s most complex system, one the mechanics of which we as yet don’t fully understand––certainly not enough to assert as revealed truth that increases in a trace gas in the atmosphere can drive the whole system. And the vicious shunning and slandering of anyone who practices the skepticism of received paradigms that has driven modern science, reveals that the champions of “diversity” and “tolerance” of ideas that challenge authority are in fact intolerant and irrational, more interested in ideology than in truth, and slaves to self-appointed authorities.
Similarly, the supposed believers in individual freedom and autonomy are the first to sacrifice both to the coercive power of the state and its bureaucratic minions. The most notorious recent example is the directive from Health and Human Services that Catholic institutions and businesses have to provide their employees with contraceptives including abortifacients, thus violating their religious beliefs. The lib/progs who regularly squeal about a fabricated First Amendment right to view pornography on a public library computer are perfectly happy to destroy that same amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion and religious speech.
But this is just a more visible example of a phenomenon that has become so common that we hardly notice it anymore. Universities and colleges, those supposed lib/prog bastions of free inquiry and freewheeling debate, have been in the forefront of using institutional power to police speech and proscribe anything that violates the lib/prog ideology. The latest offender is the University of Delaware and its “anti-bullying” prohibition. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the university defines “bullying” as “[a]ny deliberately hurtful behavior, usually repeated over time, with the desired outcome of frightening, intimidating, excluding or degrading a person.” Examples include “teasing,” “ridiculing,” and “spreading of rumors.” As FIRE points out, “The broad wording of this policy makes it highly vulnerable to abuse, with the potential to silence a great deal of protected speech such as parody and satire (which often ridicule their targets) and political speech.”
So the same people who call Republican women “sluts,” who accuse the Tea Party of being “racist,” who depict black Republican Representative Allen West punching an old white woman, and who imply that Mitt Romney is a “felon,” a tax cheat, and possibly a murderer of a little old lady, are so worried that an 18-year-old might be teased and get his feelings hurt that they are willing to gut the First Amendment. So much for the “diversity” of ideas and the “tolerance” of opposing viewpoints, so much for the fealty to individual rights and the value of dissent against orthodoxy.