Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quick Hits - March 11, 2011

An American service member is being detained after walking off a checkpoint in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan and opening fire on civilians in two villages - killing 16 and wounding at least 5.  9 of the dead are children, along with 3 women.  Reports are the soldier walked into homes, shooting indiscriminately, and then returned to base to turn himself in...
“He walked right off the base, started shooting civilians and returned to the base and turned himself in,” Maj. Jason Waggnor, a U.S. military spokesman said.

U.S. military officials stressed that the shooting was carried out by a lone, rogue soldier, differentiating it from past instances of civilians killed accidentally during military operations.

“I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts,” Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw, the deputy commander of the international troop coalition in Afghanistan said in a statement. “They were in no way part of authorized military activity.”

This is a horrific act and will clearly increase the challenges with our relations with the Afghani population and government. However, this also reflects a real difference between us and the Taliban. The Taliban does this on a regular basis - they celebrate these attacks and reward the terrorists who commit these horrific acts. We, on the other hand, will hold the soldier accountable under our laws and obtain justice for the victims. Unfortunately, I suspect that nuance will be lost in the emotion and political environment of the situation.

Today, Japan marks the first anniversary of the powerful earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast of the country and triggered the worst nuclear accident in the world in the past 25 years.  A magnitude 9.0 earthquake just off the Japanese coast triggered a massive tsunami that killed at least 19,000.

The tragedy was marked by a moment of silence across the country - some trains even stopping to mark the time of the quake and pay respects.  Clean-up and rebuilding efforts are continuing a year later - and Japan's nuclear industry remains largely shut down.

Violence continues unabated in and around Gaza / Southern Israel as the Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian terrorist groups continue to exchange fire.  This cycle of violence started on Friday when an IDF airstrike killed two top commanders of the Popular Resistance Committee that were, according to Israeli intelligence, in the last stages of preparation for a major large scale terrorist attack against Israel.

Since the attack, Palestinians in Gaza have launched over 130 rockets into Israel targeting Israeli cities and towns.  One rocket hit and damaged a school in Beersheba and another hit a residential neighborhood of the city and damaged 15 homes.  IDF retaliation strikes and shellings against forces launching rockets and mortars have killed 17, 16 of whom were armed terrorists.  Israel has also deployed and used their 'Iron Dome' missile defense system - intercepting around 37 missiles that were targeted at civilians in the city of Ashdod.

Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad's northern offensive is continuing unabated against opposition forces in the north of the country.  Tanks, helicopter gunships, and artillery are being used against civilians with refugees fleeing the violence escape into Turkey and tell reporters of the horrors taking place at the hands of the Syrian military...
In a frightening escalation of the Assad regime’s war on its people, helicopter gunships now hang in the air above the countryside, shooting at civilians on the move, or turning their fire on rebel villages - in addition to the armoury of tanks and artillery already punishing those who dared to oppose.

Witnesses who crossed into Turkey last week described the killing of 82 people in Idlib province in six major incidents over recent days; the total figure across the whole area is likely to be far higher. One terrified man had counted up to 40 bodies after helicopters and infantry attacked his village, just a few miles from the border.

This is as UN and Arab League representative, Kofi Anan, seeks a second meeting with Assad to try to negotiate an end to the violence. Given the weak and tepid international response towards the Syrian regimes use of force, this effort is likely to be as unsuccessful as not only the first meeting, but the other attempts to get Assad to voluntarily halt his military.

What is notable about these latest reports is that these are the first reports of Assad using helicopter gunships against civilians.  Previously, he has been loath to use Syrian airpower in the fight as the use of Libyan airpower against opposition forces there was cited as one of the main reasons for the international military coalition entering the fray to support the opposition forces.  His decision to use this new tool of carnage demonstrates a confidence in the inability of any military coalition being formed to stand against his regime and assist the opposition forces.

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney continue to battle for the GOP Presidential nomination as caucuses took place yesterday in Wyoming, Kansas, Guam, and the US territory of Northern Mariana's.  Rick Santorum decisively won the contest in Kansas with 51% of the vote to Mitt Romney's 21% and gaining 32 delegates to Romney's 7.  Mitt Romney won the other contests - and the day's total delegate count earning 39 delegates to Santorum's 33.

Mitt Romney has more than double the delegate total so far than Rick Santorum - and more delegates than the other candidates combined.  The Associated Press is reporting that Romney has 442 committed delegates to Santorum's 214.  Tuesday sees primaries or caucuses in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii, and American Samoa.  Newt Gingrich is focusing on the two southern states in his 'southern strategy' while Rick SantorumObama's record and policies.

While the mainstream media continues to try to ignore and downplay the video of the law student Barack Obama supporting and endorsing the racist Derrick Bell, the connection continues to simmer just as questions were raised about Obama's long time support for anti-Semite and racist Jeremiah Wright.  Powerline looks at the Obama support that Obama gave towards Derrick Bell - and Bell's support and endorsement of racial genocide in a though provoking entry titled - "Barack Obama to Khalid Muhammed: Two Degrees of Separation".

The link is based on Barack Obama's very public admiration and support of Derrick Bell, and Bell's very public admiration and support of Nation of Islam spokesperson Khalid Muhammad.

In the video of Obama speaking at a Harvard rally for Derrick Bell, he called for people to 'open their hearts and minds' to the teachings of Derrick Bell.  Powerline looks at some of those teachings - as reflected by Bell's admiration and support to the Nation of Islam - and in particular to the rantings of Muhammad's 1993 'Kill the Cracker' speech delivered just 2 years after the rally for Bell.

From Powerline -
Muhammad referred to Jews as people whose ancestors were cannibals who “crawled around on all fours in the caves and hills of Europe” and “slept in [their] urination and [their] defecation … for 2,000 years.” He characterized contemporary Jews as “slumlords in the black community” who were busy “sucking our [blacks’] blood on a daily and consistent basis.” He said that Jews had provoked Adolf Hitler when they “went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted, they usurped.” And he declared that blacks, in retribution against South African whites of the apartheid era, should “kill the women,…kill the children,…kill the babies,…kill the blind,…kill the crippled,…kill the faggot,…kill the lesbian,…kill them all.”

On subsequent occasions, Muhammad praised Colin Ferguson, a black man who had shot some twenty white and Asian commuters (killing six of them) in a racially motivated 1993 shooting spree aboard a New York commuter train, as a hero who possessed the courage to “just kill every goddamn cracker that he saw.” He advised blacks that “[t]here are no good crackers, and if you find one, kill him before he changes.”
Powerline also notes another interesting relevant connection from the above link...
In 1998 Muhammad became Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), which evolved from a number of small, loosely connected groups in Milwaukee and Dallas that had been established around 1989 by Aaron Michaels. … Muhammad continued his work with NBPP, striving to foster interracial hatred and ultimately a full-blown race war in the United States, until he died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm on February 17, 2001, at the age of 53, in Atlanta.

It was, of course, members of the New Black Panther party in Philadelphia who had been convicted of voter intimidation in 2009 when Barack Obama’s Department of Justice made the extraordinary decision to drop the case even though it had already been won as a result of the defendants’ default.

It is noteworthy, too, that the relevant events outlined above occurred in the same time period. It was 1990 when Obama publicly endorsed Derrick Bell, and he continued to be a Bell acolyte through his graduation from law school in 1991, and no doubt beyond then: he has never made any attempt to distance himself from Bell’s racist theories or to criticize Bell in any way. Louis Farrakhan was notorious long before then, and Khalid Muhammad was the Nation of Islam’s National Spokesman by 1985. He gave his infamous “kill them all” speech in 1993, and Bell endorsed him (and, implicitly, the “kill them all” speech) in 1994. At no time has Barack Obama ever disavowed his radical associations of those days. Nor were these youthful follies; Obama was within two months of 30 years old when he graduated from law school.
These connections with the most extreme and radical elements of marxism and black nationalism / racism / anti-Americanism are far too commonplace as to be coincidental.  His support for those who openly advocate these viewpoints can no longer be ignored.  These build a picture of the values of a politician - a very disturbing picture that reflects exceptionally poorly on Barack Obama.  This picture was ignored in 2008 - lost in the unicorn dreams of 'Hope and Change'.  With so much at stake in November 2012, we cannot afford to ignore this picture now.

George Will has an interesting column in today's Washington Post.  It also works towards painting a picture of President Obama based on his actions and record that needs to be considered for November's election.  Will notes an interesting axiom:  'As Government expands, its lawfulness contracts.'

This is an axiom that is being proven valid by the actions of the Obama Administration.  Standard operating procedure for this Administration is to ignore the laws that it doesn't like or finds restrictive or inconvenient for carrying out the preferred policies and agenda.  In cases like the decision by the Administration to invoke a defacto amnesty on illegal immigration by refusing to enforce immigration laws, or defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or making recess appointments when Congress is not in recess, or continuing to fund Executive Branch operations and officials that were defunded by Congress.  Will picks 2 more of the many examples...and we have to ask ourselves if this is a government of the people - or are the people subservient to the whims of the government?

Another of Andrew Breitbart's legacy websites, Big Hollywood, is working to expose the hypocrisy and lies of liberal Hollywood as they attack conservatives.  One of the biggest targets of progressive liberal Hollywood is former Alaskan Governor and VP candidate, Sarah Palin.

A cabal of progressive Hollywood including Tom Hanks and HBO have developed a smear film attacking Sarah Palin and the 2008 Republican ticket based on a book named 'Game Change'.  Palin is not the main focus of the book - but the HBO film 'Game Change' only focuses on Palin and her role as the VP candidate.  Big Hollywood has worked hard to expose the agenda of those behind (and in) the film to demonstrate that it's nothing more than smear propaganda.  One of their most effective reports is this one listing the 'Top 10 Lies of HBO's Smear Film 'Game Change'.

How effective has this been?  The liberal paper, Washington Post, has had to note that Big Hollywood 'raised legitimate questions' about 'Game Change'.  The Washington Post notes:
Other meaty stories in the book are just-as-good screenplay fodder, and they’re about Democrats: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s frustrated backstage efforts to recalibrate her campaign to blunt Barack Obama’s momentum, for example. And there’s a devastating look at how John Edwards and the late Elizabeth Edwards functioned behind the image they projected. If thorough balance were really the name of the game here, then HBO could have made “Game Change” into a miniseries, of which Palin’s travails would have been but one night’s episode.

But balance wasn't the goal of HBO. As PJ Media notes - the film treats Sarah Palin like a punching bag - and one has to wonder why the progressive liberals remain so afraid of her that they need to continue to bash away and demonize her? PJ Media also notes something else that is starting to grow from just the whispering stage around new media - is there a backlash being directed at HBO (and liberal Hollywood) over this film and the crassness of personalities like Bill Maher?

There are reports of a growing number of cancellations of subscriptions to the HBO service over these actions. We've seen the impact of similar actions causing real problems for elements of 'old media' like the NY Times, LA Times, Time and Newsweek Magazines, or even the broadcast TV networks and their news programs.

Today, the USS Enterprise, CVN-65, departs on its 22nd and last deployment.  The USS Enterprise was the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier and has been in service for over 50 years.

USS Enterprise and 2 nuclear powered escorts - an 'all-nuclear' taskforce from the 1960's
When the USS Enterprise joined the US Navy in 1961, she was one of 24 aircraft carriers and part of a 870 ship Navy.  Today, she is one of 11 aircraft carriers (all nuclear powered) in a 285 ship Navy. 

She is leaving on a 7 month long deployment and when it is complete she will be stricken from the Navy rolls and enter drydock for defueling before being towed to Washington state for scrapping.  She will not become a museum - it's cost prohibitive.

She is the 8th US ship to carry the name Enterprise.  Her immediate predecessor, USS Enterprise CV-6, was the most decorated ship in World War 2 seeing action in the Pacific theater from 1941 through 1945 and participating in some of the most critical battles of the war - including Midway.

USS Enterprise underway celebrating her 50th anniversary
Godspeed to the USS Enterprise, her crew, and the Task Force sailing with her on this deployment.

Here's to naming a new USS Enterprise out of the next class of aircraft carriers to continue this honored name - a far better option than naming these flagships after politicians.

On This Day in History

1888- The 'Blizzard of '88' began along the US Atlantic seaboard - more than 400 died in the storm

1918 - The first cases are reported in the deadly influenza epidemic which would eventually kill 675,000 Americans and more than 20 million around the world.  The initial outbreak was at Fort Riley, Kansas - and spread by troops heading to Europe to fight in WW1.

1941 - President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Lend Lease Act which provides money and materials, including war materials, to US allies in the war.

1942 - General Douglas MacArthur leaves Corregidor in the Philippines for Australia. 

1985 - Mikhail Gorbachev is selected as the new General Secretary and Leader of the Soviet Union replacing Konstantin Chernenko who died the day before.

1990 - Lithuania declares its independence from the Soviet Union - first Soviet Republic to break away from communist control.

2004 - In Madrid, Spain several coordinated terrorist bombing attacks by al-Qaeda take place targeting commuter trains - 190 are killed and more than 2,000 wounded.

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