Monday, December 19, 2011

Quick Hits - December 19, 2011



The despotic leader of the DPRK, aka North Korea, Kim Jong Il, died on December 17, 2011.  His death was announced by DPRK State Television and the cause of death was the result of a massive heart attack.  Who knew he had a heart?  His 3rd son, Kim Jong Eun, was his appointed successor.  In the National Journal, the passing of Kim Jong Il is noted in the article, 'The Death of Dr. Evil'.  While Kim Jong Il was clearly evil, an unrepentant hard core communist, and mass murderer, everyone knows Dr. Evil is really George equally vile piece of excrement.

The region faces an uncertain transition.  The DPRK earlier today test fired two short ranged missiles off it's eastern coast and South Korean and US military forces are on a heightened level of alert.  While many eyes are watching North Korea, which in the last several years has sunk a South Korean frigate and shelled South Korean islands in addition to being extremely active supporting Syrian and Iranian missile and nuclear ambitions, others are watching the actions of Beijing and if they will take more steps to rein in their rebellious client state.

During the rule of Kim Jong Il, millions of North Koreans starved to death because of the colossal mismanagement of his regime.  What may be a far better measure of just how morally bankrupt his rule was is this satellite picture contrasting South Korea and North Korea.  One country is free, vibrant, and successful.  The other is the one that is as dark as the ideology it embraced.


This is not the only problem that the ChiComm's need to face / address.  China's economic challenges are worsening, and the government is bracing for large scale unrest as Chinese Premier Hu Jintao warns the Chinese economy faces a 'grim outlook' for 2012.  Former SEIU President Andy Stern, who wrote a WSJ commentary proclaiming his love and affection for the Chinese government and economic agenda, was not available for comment.

Clashes continue for the fourth consecutive day between protesters and the military in Egypt.  The death toll continues to rise and Egyptians are increasingly angry with the actions of the Egyptian military as video and photos of the beatings and abuses directed at women by Egyptian soldiers spread across the country.  These actions are provoking additional protests and violence as the crisis escalates.

With Syria still in what is nearly a full civil war, reports from the BBC are that the Iraqi government has already started to destabilize - just days after the last US military forces have left the country.  Sectarian rivalries are reemerging and 2 Sunni provinces have announced their plan to withdraw from the government and request to become autonomous regions similar to the status of the Kurds in Northern Iraq.  All of this is on top of fears of increased meddling in the Iraqi affairs by the Iranians.

Given these global challenges, all of which have an impact on the US and our allies, the economic challenges being faced by the US, and the ideological goals of the US left, include the prospect of significant reductions in the US defense budget.  The left continues to insist that the defense budget continue to take the brunt of spending cuts - despite hundreds of billions being cut from the budget over the next decade.  One of the cornerstones of the US military focus to support it's interests as well as promote and protect commerce, is the maintenance of a two ocean navy.  As part of the Administration's plans to continue to reduce defense spending, will the strategy of the Administration include abandoning a two ocean navy so additional funds can be allocated to entitlement programs as Europe has done?

On the domestic front, Speaker of the House John Boehner is predicting the House will reject the Senate bill which provided a two month extension to the 'temporary' Social Security payroll tax reduction when it comes to a vote later today.  Democrats, including Senator Chuckie Schumer, and the WH wasted no time in blaming the Tea Party for the announcement of the Speaker that the 2 month extension would be dead in the House.

While this is apparent to many who follow the Administration's use of regulatory and executive fiat to bypass Congress, the EPA is looking at expanding it's regulatory powers even further than the abuses they've already undertaken - all in the name of 'sustainable development'.
The major focus of the EPA thinking is a weighty study the agency commissioned last year from the National Academies of Science. Published in August, the study, entitled “Sustainability and the U.S. EPA,” cost nearly $700,000 and involved a team of a dozen outside experts and about half as many National Academies staff.

Its aim: how to integrate sustainability “as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The panel who wrote the study declares part of its job to be “providing guidance to EPA on how it might implement its existing statutory authority to contribute more fully to a more sustainable-development trajectory for the United States.”

Or, in other words, how to use existing laws to new ends.

According to the Academies, the sustainability study “both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that has largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s.
'Sustainable Development' will become as bankrupt of a buzzword as 'social justice' is.  Both call for a massive expansion of government as the solution to every problem we face.

The polling arm of the hard left Daily Kos, PPP, has released a new poll from Iowa that apparently reflects a major change in the viewpoint of Iowans towards the GOP Presidential Primary race.  Ron Paul has surged to the lead with 23%, Mitt Romney remains in 2nd place with 20%, and Newt Gingrich has collapsed to a distant 3rd with only 14% support.  Just three weeks ago, Gingrich was polling at the 27% level.

This poll could be an outlier - but Ron Paul does have a strong base of support in Iowa as he has spent a lot of effort in the last 4 years building an organization to get voters to their local caucuses for the January 3rd vote.   Surprisingly, the Paul supporters in Iowa don't seem to react or think very hard regarding the candidate's inane foreign policy positions or his very questionable connections to white supremacists, conspiracy mongers, anti-semites, and neo-confederates.  If Paul does do very well in Iowa, I expect we might see a unification of sorts in the GOP - to return Paul to the fringe where he belongs...just as the mainstream media starts to tout Paul as the next greatest 'frontrunner' for the GOP.

The military hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning continues, although today's proceedings which will discuss and review the classified materials that Manning is accused of taking and providing to Wikileaks will be closed to the public.  The hard left that support's Manning are screaming 'foul' - somehow expecting that the discussion of the classified data and cost its disclosure resulted in should be public knowledge.  Manning's civilian lawyer is trying to point the blame not on Manning, who was confused as to his gender, but on the lax security and oversight of Pfc Manning.  Prosecution lawyers, seeking to prove that Manning should be subject to a court martial, produced the results of computer forensic investigations which show a connection between Manning's actions and the materials released to the public by Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

On This Date in History -

December 19, 1777 - General George Washington and his forces enter their winter encampment at Valley Forge, PA.

December 19, 1843 - 'A Christmas Carol', by Charles Dickens was first published in England.

December 19, 1946 - Fighting breaks out in Hanoi between the communist Viet Minh and French forces as the First Indochina War starts.  This war will continue until the defeat of the French in 1954.

December 19, 1984 - The PRC and UK sign accord to transfer control of Hong Kong to the PRC effective January 1, 1997.  PM Margaret Thatcher had regrest over making this deal.

December 19, 1998 - The House of Representatives approves 2 articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice.  President Clinton becomes only the 2nd US President impeached.

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