Monday, February 6, 2012

Quick Hits - February 6, 2012

Violence continues to escalate in Syria as the Assad regime continues it's assault on the residential neighborhoods of the city of Homs.

The United States, citing the escalating violence, has ordered the closure of the US Embassy in Damascus.  All diplomats and any remaining dependents have been told to leave Syria immediately as concerns over their safety increase.  Syria appears moving closer to civil war - and as a result of the veto of the Arab League resolution to the United Nations Security Council by the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China - the UN is powerless to provide support or take action.

Another 50 are reported to be dead in the most recent artillery and rocket attacks - after over 250 were killed on Saturday, the same day the UNSC vote was defeated by Russia and China.

The UK's Telegraph notes in their commentary section that with the decision by Russia and China to block international engagement through the United Nations Security Council and with the Assad regime long ceasing to be a credible agent of change for the Syrian people, it's time to begin to arm Assad's enemies.  With arms and military support, the rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army would have the means to defeat the brutal Assad regime.

In Egypt, where radical Islamists have taken over the 'Arab Spring', gained 75% control of the Egyptian parliament, and are working to replace the existing military government of the country, they are proceeding with prosecuting 19 Americans affiliate with pro-Democracy non-Government organizations with criminal charges for their actions to promote real Democracy inside Egypt. A total of 40 people are being charged with 'interference' - which has created a major crisis in the US - Egyptian diplomatic relations. One of the Americans facing criminal charges is the son of the US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

The Arab Spring is turning into something entirely different than was envisioned or touted by many in the West.  While the movements started on the basis of protesting against the autocratic and brutal dictatorships - they are now being usurped by the Islamist radicals.  As noted today, when the moderates in these 'revolutions' are radicals, you're in trouble...
By the same token, they sometimes lie to make things seem better. You can’t criticize the Palestinian Authority – or the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Turkish regime, etc. – even by telling the truth about them, because that would damage the cause of “peace.” They don’t understand that not telling the truth is the best way to undermine any chance for peace, or any understanding of why there is no peace.
The refusal of too many government officials or so called experts to be willing to honestly call out the efforts of the jihadists in this region is a big part of our problem.  In Britain during the 1930's the assumption of Stanley Baldwin was that the British nation wanted peace above and beyond all - and that to achieve peace, Britain needed to disarm and not react to the rearmament or talk of violence coming from Nazi Germany.  Neville Chamberlain continued this by his refusal to see the continued pattern of threat by Hitler matched by retreat by France / Britain only generated a new threat.  None of the pacifists in France and Britain in the 1930's would accept what Hitler advocated in Mein Kampf.

Their failure, starting as early as the German re-occupation of the Rhineland in 1936, to confront Hitler and his actions, directly set the stage for the Second World War.

Too many in the US Government and other Western governments are doing this regarding the region and the jihadist usurpation of the Arab Spring movement.  Our support for the replacement of Mubarak in Egypt, the throwing of him under the bus, provided the framework for the Islamist takeover of Egypt and the threat to prosecute 19 Americans for 'interference'.  Our support in 1978 for the replacement of the Shah of Iran, the throwing of him under the bus, provided the framework for Ayatollah Khomeini to not only take power, but the seizure of the US Embassy (54 hostages) and three decades of terrorism and violence in the region.

Among the useful idiots who are contributing to the violence is Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  We all know that Justice Ginsburg is a hard core progressive - the former General Counsel for the ACLU.  As an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg took the following oath of office...
"I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God."
However, it seems that Justice Ginsburg does not hold the Constitution of the United States in very high regard.

Speaking on Al-Hayat TV in Egypt, and noting that Egypt is about to begin to write a new Constitution in the wake of the Arab Spring,  Justice Ginsburg advised Egypt, "I would not look to the US Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012..." Instead, the Justice recommended that Egypt look towards the South African constitution as a model since it apparently does a far better job in the mind of Ginsburg towards defining a persons' 'rights' - including housing, food, medical care, etc - delivered by the government to promote dependency on the government.

Another sign that too many are willingly ignoring?  The war being waged on Christians in the Muslim World - not only in Egypt and the Middle East, but increasingly throughout Africa...

Greece has passed another weekend without a debt deal on the bailout the country needs to avoid its fiscal default in March.  Public and private unions have scheduled a nationwide strike tomorrow in Greece to protest the austerity measures being required by the EU for the bailout which include a 20% cut in the private sector minimum wage, a reduction of the GDP to debt ration from 160% to 120%, and the elimination of 150,000 civil service jobs.  The unions want to preserve the Euro-socialist / welfare state that Greece has been for at least the last 4 decades.  This is as the country remains at an impasse with private investors over their mandated losses in their holdings as well as the yields they will take for the remaining debt they will hold.  The EU / IMF aspect remains on hold from both of these items in addition to whom will pay the 15-20 billion in additional Euros of bailout needed since the Greek economy is declining by at least 6% on an annualized basis.

Greece remains in the the proverbial position of being in between a rock and a hard place.  A default would be catastrophic - but too many refuse to abandon the socialist / welfare state that they've put in place which leads to catastrophe.  The bailout they seek will let them preserve their failed state architecture.  As bad as a default would be - it would also provide them with the conditions to remake their state from the current model to one that better embraces principles of capitalism and governance which enhance economies - albeit at more risk to the individual.

Peter Schweizer notes about the 'selfishness' of welfare economies today...
What the situation in Greece demonstrates is not so much the failure of Europe, but the difficulty that any country will have in beating back the welfare state. Think about it: there are hundreds of thousands of Greeks (perhaps millions?) who would rather see their country declare bankruptcy than give up their benefits. Greek labor unions have basically adopted a “screw you” attitude to non-members. Of course when Greece declares bankruptcy everyone will lose, and the benefits of state workers and union members will be dramatically cut anyway. Left wing critics of capitalism decry the selfishness of the free market? What about the selfishness in inherent in welfare economics?
Greece needs the reset the default will require.  So does the EU.  The can cannot continue to be kicked down the road.

Today would be Ronald Reagan's 101st birthday.  The above video highlights what I talk about in the two visions of America - but this goes far beyond just America.  It's about the two visions of capitalism / conservatism versus socialism / progressivism.  This is the message that needs to be delivered to Europe as well Asia, Africa, Central, and South America.

Three years ago, President Barack Obama sat down with the NBC Today's Show host, Matt Lauer and noted that he needed 3 years to fix the US economy, and if he was unable to do so, he would not deserve a second term in office.

In a Super Bowl pregame interview with Matt Lauer yesterday, President Obama said that he deserved a second term in office.

Helping to achieve that second term will be the mainstream media and their malfeasance to put their ideological views far ahead of their professionalism and ethical obligations.  Ed Morrissey notes on Hot Air that the Washington Post and ABC News are touting a new national poll while hiding the sampling that qualifies the poll...
The Washington Post and ABC News has a new national poll out today. It purports to show that Barack Obama has a 50% approval rating and that he would beat Mitt Romney in a head-to-head matchup. And heck, that might even be true, except for a couple of problems. First, this is a poll of general population adults rather than registered or likely voters, so it’s not even a proper polling type for the predictive outcome they claim.
More importantly, though, the poll series has dropped its reporting of partisan identification within their samples. It’s the second time that the poll has not included the D/R/I split in its sample report, and now it looks as though this will be policy from this point forward. Since this is a poll series that has handed double-digit partisan advantages to Democrats in the past (for instance, this poll from April 2011 where the sample only had 22% Republicans), it’s not enough to just hear “trust us” on sample integrity from the Washington Post or ABC.

Remember, in a QH last week, I noted that the Republican party had surpassed the Democrat party in representation - with those defining themselves as a Democrat at an all time low...

The Nevada GOP finally has released the official results for Saturday's GOP caucus. The count was plagued by claims of voter fraud and other irregularities - including precincts where the numbers of ballots cast exceeded the number of voters registered. Clark County (Las Vegas) saw some of the biggest problems with fingers being pointed at the Paulians in the process.

Mitt Romney received 50% of the vote, Newt Gingrich edged Ron Paul for second place, 21.1% to 18.7%, and Rick Santorum finished last with 9.9% of the total.

The Nevada State GOP and Clark County GOP did little during this process to demonstrate real competence particularly since the turnout on Saturday was 25% less than it was in 2008. Still, given the amount of time and effort that Paul invested in Nevada, this has to be a major disappointment for his campaign.

On This Day in History

1778 - France and the United States signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris.  France recognizes the United States as an independent nation and commences a military alliance to assist the United States secure it's independence from Great Britain.

1911 - Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States is born.

1917 - A German submarine sinks the US steamer SS California off the Irish Coast killing 43 passengers and crew - escalating the tension between the United States and Germany

1952 - Elizabeth Windsor becomes Queen Elizabeth II after her father, King George VI dies in his sleep at the Royal estate Sandringham.  Reigning for 60 years today, Queen Elizabeth II is the second longest reigning British monarch.  Queen Victoria at 63 years is the longest.

1985 - The Reagan Doctrine is announced by President Reagan - promotes the foundation of US support for 'freedom fighters' around the globe seeking democracy and defines the American mission is to 'nourish and defend freedom and democracy'.

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