Saturday, December 31, 2011

Smoke Screens and the Godsend Known as Congress

The KoncernedCitizen

I recently read an article how only 5% approve of the job this Congress is doing. The major objection being the impasse style creating an environment which nothing seems to be getting accomplished. Ahh but don’t be deceived. These apparent inactions are likely by design and deliberate. And even if they aren’t, they are nothing short of a Blessing. If not for congress holding back the Obama administration from pushing it’s agenda forward, America and it’s founding principals, which we have grown to know and love, would be even further mutated from the shadowed image of itself. It is with full and deliberate intention for us to believe this Republican lead congress is hampering every aspect of recovery the American economy faces. Every effort by this administration and it’s mainstream media marketing arm has painted an image that the reckless incompetence of this congress justifiably creates a “need” for presidential use of executive order to save our country. Nothing could be any further from the truth. This use deception in it’s purest form. The average American does not know socialism or communism, even when it is staring them in the face. Wherever you turn, opinions range from the totally naive to the extremely delusional and paranoid. However, it isn’t the goals of the Obama Machine that are the complex mystery. But rather the smoke and mirrors used to accomplish them. Simplicity is often the easiest method to over-think. For those of you who enjoy conspiracy theories, Try this (nothing elaborate, and could actually fall into place without further alteration of the existing smoke screen):

If the smoke screen is effective, the Democrats will again regain control of the house and possibly keep the senate.

If this president loses his re-election bid, during the lame duck session, so many executive “change” orders will be written there will be no one able or willing to stop it.

For those who find this plot to be far fetched, may I suggest researching lame duck sessions in recent years. You tell me…

Additional 2012 Predictions:Trade Wars, US Election, Precious Metals, Energy

I inadvertently left off an item regarding trade wars that I intended to mention in Mish 2012 Predictions; 2011 Year in Review with Max Keiser. I also have some commentary on the US election, precious metals, and energy.

Trade Wars

Expect Global Trade Wars: Look for tit-for-tat trade wars to heat up in 2012 as noted previously in China to Impose Anti-Dumping Duties on GM; "Fair Trade" Idea is Self-Serving Scam; Proposal to Stop "Free Sunlight" Gains Support From Mitt Romney. Should Mitt Romney win the election, expect global trade to collapse in 2013. Trade wars will not be good for equity prices.

US Elections

US Political Roadmap: If President Obama dumps Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential candidate as Robert Reich suggests in My Political Prediction for 2012: It’s Obama-Clinton, Obama will win re-election unless the Republican candidate is specifically Ron Paul. Clearly this is not an endorsement of Obama, it is a prediction. Some mistook my 2008 prediction for Obama as an endorsement. It wasn't. I wrote in Ron Paul in 2008 and will do so again unless he is the nominee. If Ron Paul is the Republican nominee I think Paul would draw enough crossover votes from independents and Democrats who are sick of war and big government to win. If it's Obama-Biden vs. Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney then it's too close to call.

Oil is a wildcard. My prediction is cooler heads prevail. However, the election is 11 months away and that is a lot of time for someone to get carried away. The odds the US initiates an attack on Iran under Ron Paul are virtually zero. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for any of the other major candidates. Should the US or Israel attack Iran (I do not believe the US will), then the price of crude will quickly skyrocket by $50 or more. Such an oil shock would immediately send the entire global economy into a severe recession.

Precious Metals

Precious Metals Roadmap: What follows is more of an approach than a prediction. Gold remains a much safer play than silver, something I have said for years. Technically silver is flirting with a breakdown of major support at $27. If that low does not hold, a decline to the low-to-mid $20's is likely (something I said earlier this year when silver was near $50). I have no target for gold. The longer the US holds off quantitative easing and the ECB lets the sovereign debt crisis simmer without action, the bigger the potential drop in precious metals. Moreover, silver is likely to take a bigger hit than gold (percentage-wise) in a recession or global slowdown because silver is an industrial commodity and Chinese demand for industrial commodities is poised to plunge. Both gold and silver are more likely to be weaker earlier in the year as opposed to the second half given the Bernanke Fed does not look to launch QE3 any time soon. If the stock market and energy prices plunge in the first half of 2012, Bernanke will be more inclined to launch another QE program and that would be beneficial to precious metals.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Obama's resolution? To limit dealings with Congress

The president will push lawmakers on the payroll tax cut, but travel the country to deliver his reelection message, an aide says, offering a glimpse of a campaign tactic similar to Truman's in 1948.

By Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau

January 1, 2012
Reporting from Honolulu— Heading into the new year, President Obama will insist that Congress renew the payroll tax cut through the end of 2012, but will otherwise limit his dealings with an unpopular Congress, and instead travel the country to deliver his reelection message directly to voters, a White House aide said.

"In terms of the president's relationship with Congress in 2012 — the state of the debate, if you will — the president is no longer tied to Washington, D.C.," spokesman Josh Earnest said in a news briefing in Honolulu.

The assertion is striking given that Obama, as president for nearly three years, is the symbol and personification of the federal government. It also offers a glimpse into an Obama reelection strategy that will target a "do-nothing'' Congress much in the style of Harry S. Truman's reelection campaign in 1948.

With most legislative cliffhangers behind him, Obama does not consider the rest of his policy agenda to be a "must-do" for lawmakers, Earnest said.

Rather, the White House believes Obama would be well-served by continuing to distance himself from a Congress often blamed for Washington's gridlock and infighting.

As the year unfolds, Obama will use executive authority to roll out more initiatives designed to boost the economy and assist struggling families, the White House aide said. Obama has already unveiled 20 such measures under the White House's new slogan, "We can't wait."

Earnest said that the White House's goal was to contrast the image of a "gridlocked, dysfunctional Congress" with "a president who's leaving no stone unturned to try to find solutions to the difficult financial challenges and economic challenges facing this country."

Obama will also make the case for passage of his $447-billion jobs package, most of which Congress has rejected over the last three months.

His jobs plan includes money to keep public workers on the job and rebuild the nation's roads, ports and bridges. But it seems doubtful that he'll push Congress on his jobs plan with the same focus that he brought to the payroll tax cut debate. In late December, Congress agreed to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, following a high-stakes showdown with Obama that delayed his Hawaiian vacation for six days.

Nothing else on Obama's menu requires congressional action as urgently as the tax cut, the White House said. If Congress were to let the cut expire at the end of February, tens of millions of Americans would be hit with a tax increase, harming the fragile economic recovery, the White House contends.

Earnest said that now that Obama was "sort of free from having to put out these fires, the president will have a larger playing field, as it were. And if that playing field includes working with Congress, all the better. But I think my point is that that's no longer a requirement."

In pushing his jobs plan — which included the payroll tax cut — Obama often mocked lawmakers who opposed it for fear of giving him "a win" politically. He bristled over such characterizations, saying his aim was not short-term political advantage but a solution for the nation's high jobless rate.

Now that the payroll tax cut has been extended, the White House is resorting to some of the same language that Obama had rejected. White House aides have made it clear that Obama fought — and won — a battle with congressional Republicans.

The president did so in part by trying to adopt a new political persona. Earnest described him as having "worked to claim the mantle as a warrior for the middle class."

He'll try to emphasize that identity in the new year, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, when he travels to Cleveland to give a speech on the economy. That trip comes one day after the Republican caucuses in Iowa, the first major contest in the race to establish a GOP nominee.

Obama won't congratulate the winner, the White House said, but he will try to distinguish himself from Republican candidates who are bashing each other in a fierce campaign.
Reporting from Honolulu— Heading into the new year, President Obama will insist that Congress renew the payroll tax cut through the end of 2012, but will otherwise limit his dealings with an unpopular Congress, and instead travel the country to deliver his reelection message directly to voters, a White House aide said.

"In terms of the president's relationship with Congress in 2012 — the state of the debate, if you will — the president is no longer tied to Washington, D.C.," spokesman Josh Earnest said in a news briefing in Honolulu.

The assertion is striking given that Obama, as president for nearly three years, is the symbol and personification of the federal government. It also offers a glimpse into an Obama reelection strategy that will target a "do-nothing'' Congress much in the style of Harry S. Truman's reelection campaign in 1948.

With most legislative cliffhangers behind him, Obama does not consider the rest of his policy agenda to be a "must-do" for lawmakers, Earnest said.

Rather, the White House believes Obama would be well-served by continuing to distance himself from a Congress often blamed for Washington's gridlock and infighting.

As the year unfolds, Obama will use executive authority to roll out more initiatives designed to boost the economy and assist struggling families, the White House aide said. Obama has already unveiled 20 such measures under the White House's new slogan, "We can't wait."

Earnest said that the White House's goal was to contrast the image of a "gridlocked, dysfunctional Congress" with "a president who's leaving no stone unturned to try to find solutions to the difficult financial challenges and economic challenges facing this country."

Obama will also make the case for passage of his $447-billion jobs package, most of which Congress has rejected over the last three months.

His jobs plan includes money to keep public workers on the job and rebuild the nation's roads, ports and bridges. But it seems doubtful that he'll push Congress on his jobs plan with the same focus that he brought to the payroll tax cut debate. In late December, Congress agreed to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, following a high-stakes showdown with Obama that delayed his Hawaiian vacation for six days.

Nothing else on Obama's menu requires congressional action as urgently as the tax cut, the White House said. If Congress were to let the cut expire at the end of February, tens of millions of Americans would be hit with a tax increase, harming the fragile economic recovery, the White House contends.

Earnest said that now that Obama was "sort of free from having to put out these fires, the president will have a larger playing field, as it were. And if that playing field includes working with Congress, all the better. But I think my point is that that's no longer a requirement."

In pushing his jobs plan — which included the payroll tax cut — Obama often mocked lawmakers who opposed it for fear of giving him "a win" politically. He bristled over such characterizations, saying his aim was not short-term political advantage but a solution for the nation's high jobless rate.

Now that the payroll tax cut has been extended, the White House is resorting to some of the same language that Obama had rejected. White House aides have made it clear that Obama fought — and won — a battle with congressional Republicans.

The president did so in part by trying to adopt a new political persona. Earnest described him as having "worked to claim the mantle as a warrior for the middle class."

He'll try to emphasize that identity in the new year, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, when he travels to Cleveland to give a speech on the economy. That trip comes one day after the Republican caucuses in Iowa, the first major contest in the race to establish a GOP nominee.

Obama won't congratulate the winner, the White House said, but he will try to distinguish himself from Republican candidates who are bashing each other in a fierce campaign.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

Rick Santorum Tells Ann Coulter to 'Get Her Facts Straight'

By Robert Stacy McCain on 12.30.11 @ 5:13AM

During his speech Thursday night to Republicans in Davenport, Iowa, Rick Santorum disputed popular conservative pundit Ann Coulter's recent criticism of his record on immigration.

"Tell Ann Coulter, next time you see her, get her facts straight," the former Pennsylvania senator told an audience of more than 200 at the Center for Active Seniors.

Arguing on behalf of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in her syndicated column Wednesday, Coulter portrayed Santorum as soft on illegal immigration, citing his vote against the so-called "E-Verify" measure to provide automatic electronic verification of workers' immigration status. But Santorum said that he voted against "E-Verify" in 2006 because it was part of a measure sponsored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy that would have provided amnesty to illegals.

Asked after the speech about his criticism of Coulter, Santorum replied: "Why would Ann Coulter criticize me for voting against the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill? I mean, Ann, should I have voted for amnesty? Should I have voted for comprehensive immigration reform? Because if that's what you're saying, then, doesn't sound like you're the real conservative here. I think when Jim DeMint and every conservative in the United States Senate voted against the McCain-Kennedy bill -- yes, we voted against E-Verify, but we voted against a pretty bad bill that I think, at least you said you were against."

Recent polls of Iowa Republicans, reportedly including internal polls conducted by rival campaigns, have shown support for Santorum surging in the closing days before next Tuesday's first-n-the-nation caucuses.

The Hispanic Allen West?

December 27, 2011
By Javier Manjarres

The conservative movement is fortunate to count amongst its ranks several principled individuals who can effectively and unapologetically articulate conservatism and take the fight to liberal progressives- Congressman Allen West comes immediately to mind. And for conservatives who are looking for reinforcements who will get Congressman West’s back in Congress, it looks like we’ve found yet another one prepared to do so.

Retired Air Force Colonel Evelio ‘EJ’ Otero is from Miami, and he’s not kidding around- he’s a down the line conservative Republican of Cuban descent. I sat down with Otero for an interview where I was able to get a better grasp of his views and his newly announced candidacy for U.S. Congress.

Otero reminds me a lot of West in that he is unafraid to speak his mind, and he carries himself with a high degree of military-bred integrity and demeanor. Otero strikes me as someone who can put a conservative smackdown on liberals, in both English and en ‘Espanol.’ Otero is running against Democratic congresswoman Kathy Castor in the Tampa area, who is considered by many in Republican circles to be Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ ‘mini-me.’

The Combat Veterans for Congress, a group who was the first to endorse Congressman Allen West, has also recently come out in support of Otero.

To learn more about E.J. Otero, visit his website here

Article On Iranian Website: 'This Is How We'll Close Strait of Hormuz

In response to threats by Western countries to impose oil sanctions on Iran, the Iranian website Mashreq News, which is close to Iranian military circles, posted an article on December 15, 2011 outlining military measures that could be taken by Tehran to close the Strait of Hormuz should the regime choose to do so.

The article enumerated the forces and weapons that Iran could employ in such a military operation, including fast attack craft carrying anti-ship missiles; submarines; battleships; cruise and ballistic missiles; bombers carrying laser-, radar- and optically-guided missiles; helicopters; armed drones; hovercraft; and artillery.

It stated that despite Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's statements that Tehran would not initiate a military confrontation but would retaliate harshly if attacked, "there is no guarantee that [Tehran] will not launch a preemptory strike on the civilian level, for instance through cyber-warfare or by means of economic pressure, including by closing the Strait of Hormuz and cutting off [this] energy lifeline for an indefinite period of time." It added, "Should additional sanctions be imposed on Iran, especially in the domain of oil export, Iran might keep [its] oil from leaving its territorial waters."

In a further threat, the article stated that Iran would in the future be able to attack the 480-km pipeline with a capacity of 2.5 million barrels/day[1] that the UAE is planning to build in order to bypass the Strait of Hormuz in order to neutralize Iran's ability to disrupt the world's oil supply: "As for the plan... to construct a [pipeline] from the UAE that will be an alternative in times of emergency in case the Hormuz Strait is closed, we should note... that the entire territory of the UAE is within range of Iran's missiles, [so Iran] will easily be able to undermine security at the opening of this [pipeline] using weapons to be discussed this report."

In accordance with Iranian doctrine, the article pointed out that these weapons would actually not be necessary because there would be suicide operations, and added that "the faith of the Iranian youth, and their eagerness to sacrifice their lives, will sap the enemies' courage."

Despite statements by Iranian government spokesmen, including Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi and Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, that the closing of the strait is not currently on Iran's agenda,[2] Majlis National Security Committee member Pervez Sarouri said that the Iran would be conducting 10 days of naval maneuvers, called "Velayat 90," beginning December 24, 2011, to drill closing it.[3]

Satellite view of the Strait of Hormuz connecting the Persian Gulf to the Sea of Oman

Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is close to Khamenei, called on the regime to announce immediately that Tehran would close the strait to vessels from the U.S., Europe, Japan, or any other country participating in imposing oil sanctions on Iran.[4]

At a press conference on the subject of the Velayat 90 naval maneuvers, which commenced on December 24, Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari said that his forces would be capable of closing the strait if asked to do so.[5]

It should be noted that Iranian officials have previously threatened to close the strait as a means of deterring Iran's neighbors and the West (see previous MEMRI reports from 2010, 2008 and 2007).[6]

The following are the main points of the Mashreq News article on closing the Strait of Hormuz.[7]

Fast Attack Craft

The article stated that since it first introduced fast attack craft for use in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the Iranian navy has immeasurably improved the craft's "ability to face advanced enemy combat vessels, much less cargo ships. These boats are equipped with sea radar systems; advanced electronic communication systems; sea-to-sea cruise missiles, both short-range – 25 km – and medium range; medium- and large-caliber [sic] torpedoes; and naval mines, along with traditional means of warfare – including semi-heavy machine guns, missile launchers, and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. These sea craft are capable of blocking the Strait [of Hormuz] for a brief or an extended period, and of facing enemy warships trying to open the route.

"In addition to their high speed and abovementioned equipment, these sea craft are highly maneuverable. Their ability to operate at night, aided by the requisite accessories, as well as in stormy weather, has been demonstrated repeatedly in recent years, in maneuvers both minor and major. Their successful record includes stopping submarines from countries beyond the [Gulf] region that aimed to cross the Strait of Hormuz, and supporting [Iranian] submarines threatened by enemy warships in the Indian Ocean... Iran has various types of naval mines, both stationary and remote controlled. This weapon [i.e. the mines] may, if necessary, be operated by Iranian boats and submarines [located at] various points in the Strait of Hormuz and the surrounding waters."


The article continued: "The Iranian navy's acquisition of submarines... some 20 in number... has rendered it more powerful than the navies of the [other] countries in the region. Iran's submarine craft can use torpedoes, mines, and missiles, and can remain submerged for weeks in order to accomplish a mission. Apart from the Russian Kilo class submarines, the Nahang, Ghadir, and Fateh class submarines have been pre-fitted for the waters around Iran, especially the Persian Gulf... These submarines can remain stationary in the water and can evade various enemy radar and sonar systems...

"The Kilo class submarines can carry 24 mines or 18 large torpedoes, while the Fateh class submarines can carry 12 torpedoes and/or eight mines. In addition, there have been reports in the international media stating that Iran has equipped the Kilo class [submarines in its fleet] with Hoot torpedoes...

"The Ghadir class submarines can also successfully participate in the operation [to close the strait]... [These] are small submarines manned by one or several people. Known as 'wet submarines,' they are used for commando operations, laying mines, and firing torpedoes... and can operate in narrow and shallow areas."


The article stated that "Iran has various classes of missile ships, warships, and destroyers. These marine craft are capable of launching four 'Nour' anti-ship missiles, which have a range of 120-170 km, [even] over 200 km. Additionally, these warships' 114mm and 76mm guns... can threaten various [types of] ships. [Iran's] warships can [also] threaten submarines while simultaneously operating together with the rest of the [Iranian naval] force in closing the Strait of Hormuz."

Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles

It continued: "We divide Iran's missile force into two groups: cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. They possess a wide variety of ranges and destructive capabilities. Coastal launchers for Kowsar short-range missiles and for Nour and Ghadir missiles [with a range of some 200 km] have so far been displayed, and the Naser-1 medium-range missiles are launched from Qare'a triple-barrel missile launchers. These launchers are independent, meaning that if they are deployed near the coast, they could detect and identify naval targets and attack them without the need for supporting systems from [Iranian] air and naval units.

"These systems can cover most of the Strait of Hormuz if deployed and camouflaged 70 to 150 km deep into Iranian territory, or even in the Kerman province [in southeastern Iran]. The Iranian armed forces possess these systems in abundance, and they are ready for deployment."

Ballistic Missiles

The article noted: "...Thus far, three types of anti-ship ballistic missiles have been displayed in Iran: Khaleej-e Fars, Tondar, and Sejil. Khaleej-e Fars missiles, with a 300-km range and a 650-kg warhead, are designed to destroy enemy warships. The missile can be prepared for launch in a few minutes due to its use of solid fuel and advanced guidance systems. It strikes the enemy ships from above, traveling at Mach 3, reaching [the target] in a short time and at an acute angle.

"The triple-barrel launcher for these missiles provides sufficient firepower from the first launch; it increases the operational effect of the missile, while decreasing the enemy's ability to retaliate. Based on photos of the missile, it uses an electronic guidance system, which ensures its effectiveness even against the enemy's electronic warfare. The missile's speed, angle of approach, and impact from above are effective points in its modus operandi. We can estimate that the enemy's chances of intercepting it are miniscule.

"The Tondar missile, whose range is estimated by experts to be 150-250 kilometers, operates alongside the Khaleej-e Fars missiles as a short range ballistic missile... and their combined operation can significantly raise the chances of hitting the target... The [Tondar] missile can cover the Straits of Hormuz from deep inside Iranian territory. The Khaleej-e Fars missile can cover the Western Sistan-Baluchestan area, the Kerman province area, eastern and southern Fars province, and all of the Straits of Hormuz."

"The most terrifying of all Iranian missiles is the Sejil long range missile. It has commonly been considered merely a surface-to-surface missile, but the armed forces recently announced that it can also be used to destroy naval targets. Although not much is known about the missile's guidance and targeting systems, the missile has shown great accuracy in hitting a predetermined target. This missile, with a range of 2,000 km, can reach speeds of Mach 8 to Mach 12 (2,700-4,100 meters per second)... Its warhead weighs at least 500 kilograms, helping it to destroy the target. This missile can be used to cover regions beyond the Strait of Hormuz even if deployed on the northern Iranian coast, or at the most distant point in northwest Iran. It is a two-stage rocket powered by solid fuel, and reaches great speed at the end of the first stage [of launch]. It is difficult for the enemy to detect and track it during the first stage, because it uses several methods to reduce its radar signature... Thanks to its high velocity, the chance of it being hit by enemy defense [systems] is even smaller than the chance that they will hit a Khaleej-e Fars missile.

"Such missiles would be launched from deep inside Iranian territory because scattering launchers over a larger area will make it difficult for the enemy to detect them, will limit the means the enemy will be able to use to destroy them, and will also allow the launchers to be relocated and re-camouflaged.

"Although the enemy is much more likely to detect lower-velocity missiles... the combination of the use of these weapons in areas both closer and farther away from the shore and the increased number of targets... can maintain their effectiveness."

Bomber Jets

The article stated: "Iranian fighter jets can carry various types of air-to-surface missiles that can operate against naval targets, including air-to-surface missiles with optical, laser, and radar guidance; Nour and Ghadir missiles adapted for aerial use; C-801K and C-802 missiles; as well as Kowsar and Naser missiles. [Iranian] Air Force jets can carry up to five such missiles.

"Additional missiles for naval targets include: limited range TV-guided Maverick missiles; Qassad-1 and Qassad-2 optically guided bombs with a range of 30-50 kilometers (Qassad-3 bombs, with a range over 100 kilometers, will become operational soon); and Russian-made KH-25 and KH-29 missiles with laser and optical guidance, which can be mounted on Su-24, Su-25, and MiG-29 jets. Their range is 10km-30km, and they have medium destructive capabilities.

"In addition, KH-58 long-range anti-radar missiles, which can be mounted on Su-24 jets for attacks on enemy warships, will play an important role in closing the Strait of Hormuz.

"The array of missiles and bombs with varying ranges will assist Iran in operating remotely against enemy frigates and warships."


"The Shahed 285 helicopter can carry Kowsar anti-ship cruise missiles, and Mi-171 helicopters can launch Nour long range missiles, and apparently Ghadir missiles as well. These helicopters, along with Cobra attack helicopters, can threaten merchant vessels and enemy warships."

Flying Boats

"Only one model of flying boat has thus far become operational in Iran. In fact, it is a new type of plane that can land on the water, and can be equipped with anti-ship missiles. This boat can take off from the water, from various points on Iran's coast, and can operate against enemy warships together with aerial defense."


"The Iranian army drones are used for anti-ship missions. The Karar drone can carry four Kowsar missiles. Due to its speed, the drone can increase the potential energy of the missiles and extend their range. The drone has a range of some 1,000 km; it is launched by a rocket, and when it reaches the correct range, it launches the missiles. Karar drones can carry dozens of missiles to the enemy warships.

"The Karar drone is made from materials that allow it to evade radar detection and get close to enemy vessels. Nevertheless, the drone can also use missiles like Naser-1, for large areas."

Artillery and Surface-to-Sea Rocket Systems

The article also claimed that Iranian security officials several times pointed out that guided bombs are actually being used against moving naval targets. It said that the range of Iranian artillery shells is over 40 km, and that they can be used to harm or destroy enemy ships. It added that during maneuvers, Iran had successfully utilized the Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rocket launchers against naval targets.

John Yoo: Let's Attack Iran - it'd be legal even if we did it on our own, and super awesome, too

The Case for Military Action in Iran
John Yoo · Dec. 28 at 3:10pm

In this week's National Review, I make the legal case for a preventive attack on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities. Where the Obama administration has merely checked in this high-stakes game of poker, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have gone all in (Ron Paul, of course, folded long ago). In last month’s South Carolina debate, Mitt Romney promised that Iran “will not have a nuclear weapon” under his presidency. Economic sanctions and aid to internal opposition come first, said the former Massachusetts governor, but “if all else fails . . . [and] there’s nothing else we can do besides take military action, then of course you take military action.” Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in several early states, heartily agrees. In the South Carolina debate, Gingrich proposed covert operations, including “taking out their scientists” and “breaking up their systems,” and a Cold War–style strategy “of breaking the regime and bringing it down.” But the former House speaker “agree[s] entirely” with Romney that, should pressure fail, “you have to take whatever steps are necessary” to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

I argue, as I did with the Libyan intervention, that the United States should not be limited by the UN Charter, which limits the use of force to self-defense or when authorized by the Security Council (which would never approve strikes against Iran because of China's and Russia's vetos). The Charter rules have never described state practice and have the effect of keeping dictators in power and preventing the United States and its allies from maintaining peace and security in the world. The United States should have the legal right to use military force when it removes dangerous threats not just to our security, but to regions and the world -- and that is, I argue, exactly what is posed by the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons.

A president need not wait until an attack is imminent before taking action. Iranian nuclear capabilities would cause a radical reversal of the balance of power, and that fact justifies action in itself. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Pres. John F. Kennedy imposed a blockade, which is an act of war, though his legal advisers claimed it was a "quarantine" instead. Soviet nuclear missiles were not fueling on the launch pads, but President Kennedy used force because the Russian deployment upset the superpower equilibrium in the Western Hemisphere.

Even realists who criticize a pro-democracy agenda should support the prevention of Iranian hegemony in the Middle East. Iran seeks to export its fundamentalist revolution, with its brutal suppression of individual rights and free markets, throughout the region. It stokes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its president hopes to wipe Israel from the map. It undermines reconstruction and reconciliation in Iraq. It supports terrorists throughout the world. It threatens to close off the Straits of Hormuz, through which travels 17 percent of the oil traded worldwide. It has attacked shipping in the Persian Gulf. A nuclear Iran could expand its asymmetric warfare against its neighbors, or even escalate into conventional warfare, with little fear of direct retaliation.

Military action need not go so far as an invasion or even a no-fly zone. Our forces would have to destroy Iranian air-defense sites, but otherwise, thanks to precision-guided missiles and drones, they could concentrate on a few links in the Iranian nuclear chain: the centrifuge facilities where uranium is enriched, the assembly points for weapons, and perhaps missile and air-delivery systems.

If you don't have the latest edition of National Review, read the whole argument here.

Obama Confirms Plans to Disarm Americans

By Dave Blount

Bad news: Big Government has excreted an unread 1,221-page $915 billion omnibus spending bill, giving America another hard shove toward insolvency.

Good news: at least it contains a provision preventing authoritarians from using the money to deprive us of our precious Second Amendment liberties.

More bad news: Obama has put it on the record that he plans to ignore this stipulation. John Frazer of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action explains:

The Second Amendment won’t be the only casualty of the Audacity of Arrogance. As the division of powers crumbles, we are losing our whole system of limited government.

On tips from Conan and G. Fox.

How’s That Hopey-Changey Stuff Working Out For You?… Just 55.3% of Americans Between 16 & 29 Have Jobs

Posted by Jim Hoft
December 30, 2011

In 2008 the youth vote propelled Barack Obama to the White House.
How did he repay them?
By giving them no jobs.
CNN reported, via FOX Nation:

In 2008, the youth vote helped sweep Barack Obama into office. Americans 18-29 spread the word on social media, energized energized fundraising and went to the polls.

In 2012, the youth vote is moving on and throwing those omnipresent “Hope” bumper stickers and t-shirts in garbage bins.

Not because of apathy. Not because another candidate generates more enthusiasm. Not because of his character. Not because they think voting is pointless. The 18-29 vote is up for grabs in 2012 because youth can’t afford cars to put bumper stickers on and those t-shirts are worn out from too many days sitting on the couch unemployed.

The sobering reality: just 55.3 percent of Americans between 16 and 29 have jobs. And earlier this year, Americans’ student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever.

Rather than develop a lasting initiative to help young unemployed Americans, the President launched “Greater Together” – a campaign tool that offers community forums rather than jobs. Rather than provide a bailout to those crushed by the burden of educational loans, his student debt relief program was pathetic – only reducing interest rates by a measly 0.5 percent.

No wonder less than half of Americans 18-29 approve of Obama.

Mitt Romney: My Mass. Healthcare Plan Is ‘Fundamentally Conservative'

Written By : Warner Todd Huston

Romney did it again. On Fox News he linked Romneycare to conservative principles, an outrageous act in the eyes of any conservative. But hold the boat, people, because Romney didn’t exactly say that Romneycare itself is a conservative policy. And therein lies the weasel words that Romney has used to describe the Massachusetts healthcare plan he was so proud to pass when he was the Governor of the state.

To the video…


I’m happy to stand by the things I believe. I’m not going to change my positions by virtue of being in a presidential campaign. What we did was right for the people of Massachusetts. The plan is still favored there by 3:1 and it is fundamentally a conservative principle because the people take personal responsibility rather than turning to the government for free care.

Now, let’s look at what Romney said here. He didn’t exactly say that Romneycare itself is “fundamentally conservative.” He said the concept that people should take responsibility for their own healthcare is a fundamentally conservative idea.

Such as it is, he’s right. That IS a fundamentally conservative idea.

But as Romney has repeatedly done since he signed that disastrous, socialist, far from conservative piece of legislation, he has weasel worded his description of that law. As he’s done before, in this clip he illicitly linked conservative principles to Romneycare by focusing at a micro level on the single idea that we should take care of our own healthcare and linking that real conservative principle to his actions as if conservative principles are the guiding forces behind Romneycare. The problem with Romney’s characterization of the issue is that his legislation is fundamentally not conservative. It is big government, socialist, authoritarian nonsense. It’s not conservative at all. Romney tries to us that one tiny conservative idea buried under miles of socialist ideas as misdirection for the ills that Romneycare forces on the people of the Bay State.

Romney also tries an additional rhetorical trick by focusing on Tenth Amendment ideals, saying that his effort in Mass. was a “state only” effort, one that he would not recommend for every state. Romney correctly notes that one of our founding principles is that the states should be free to experiment with policy and implement what voters want free of interference by the federal government — a Tenth Amendment ideal. But what Romney is doing here is slyly trying to cloak his monumentally non-conservative healthcare law in the conservative ideal of the Tenth Amendment as if Romneycare is conservative when it isn’t conservative in any way at all.

It would be like using a cop’s position as an officer of the law as cover for his breaking, entering, and stealing from a citizen’s home, like saying it is OK simply because he’s a police man. Just because this mythical cop is an officer of the law does not mean his actions are legitimate. In a like way, just because we have a conservative idea of the Tenth Amendment this does not mean that a Romneycare law implemented under the principle of that Amendment is a conservative idea or even an advisable policy, for that matter.

We should also point out that even as this particular issue is the only item he’s not fully flip flopped on — much to the consternation of conservatives everywhere, Romney has flip flopped on whether or not he thinks Romneycare is as good for the nation as it was for Massachusetts. Not long ago Romney was saying that he felt Romneycare was a model for the nation. Now, all of a sudden, he says he never said that, he says that Romneycare was only good for Massachusetts (even though it clearly isn’t) and that he would not recommend it for the nation.

In any case, the point here is that Romney makes it impossible to logically sustain the idea that Obamacare is bad and should be repealed when there isn’t anything substantively different between Romneycare — which he constantly defends and says is great — and Obamacare. The core issue that Republicans and many independents would rally to vote for Romney over is nullified by his constant defense of Romneycare.

This is the main reason why Romney cannot beat Obama in 2012.

The National Jewish Democratic Council Does NOT Support Israel

Thursday, December 29, 2011
The National Jewish Democratic Council Does NOT Support Israel

Just like many other liberal Organizations that use Jewish in their name, the National Jewish Democratic Council is all Democratic Party, very little Jewish. Today they tried to cast doubt upon the Republican Party's support of Israel because of Ron Paul's hatred of the Jewish State.

Yesterday Rick Santorum joined Mitt Romney to say if (God-Forbid) Ron Paul got the nomination they would vote for him over Obama. Romney made his comment earlier in the week. Being primarily a political organization the NJDC knows those candidates had to give that answer when asked the question, because there is absolutely no way Paul gets the nomination but when he doesn't, they want the Paul supporters to support the nominee's efforts. OK Santorum won't get the nomination either but he can dream can't he?

The NJDC practically tripped over their underwear trying to rush out a video to highlight Santorum’s willingness to support Paul, sending out a video of the interview. Earlier in the week, they urged voters of both parties to contact both Romney and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus asking them to distance themselves from Paul’s perceived anti-Israel statements. As Chairman of the DNC, Preibus has to stay neutral, he can't bash Paul during the primary season.

The NJDC's lemming-like trashing of the GOP is totally dishonest. First of all, both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are long-time supporters and not just because they are running for POTUS. Santorum's support goes back to his senate days, and his policy is to the right of the Israeli government. Santorum doesn't even believe in a two state solution saying about Judea and Samaria,
“the bottom line is that that is legitimately Israeli country. And they have a right to do within their country just like we have a right to do within our country.” He also denied the existence of ‘Palestinians’ as a distinct people, thus dismissing calls for the establishment of another hostile Arab state on Israel’s border.
Romney "Gets it." Back in 2007, Romney took a helicopter tour of Israel guided by two Israeli Generals. The generals kept apologizing for the controversial security fence built to stop terrorists from entering Israel from the West Bank. Romney said, ‘Are the people on the other side of the fence shooting, because I see bullet marks.’ The generals said yes, so Governor Romney said, ‘Don’t apologize.’

Secondly the Ron Paul has been rejected and ostracized by the vast majority of the GOP. In fact the recent exposure of Ron Paul's newsletters has been led by people on the right because they are trying to draw support for another candidate, but because the thought of such a bigot representing the GOP is repugnant to most Republicans.

Perhaps the most dishonest part of the NJDC's bashing of the GOP regarding Israel, is they haven't distanced themselves from Barack Obama and his administration which is easily the most anti-Israel administration in the modern history of Israel led by a President who makes unreasonable demands upon the Jewish State, and refuses to make any demands upon the Palestinians.

Where is the NJDC criticism? Nowhere!! You see the NJDC doesn't care about Israel, they care about Democrats and Progressive policy. If they supported Israel they would bash both parties when they are wrong, but instead, they give the anti-Israel Obama a free pass. Perhaps they should take the "J" out of their name!

Attorneys Fee Award of $1,132,182 in Second Amendment Case Against District of Columbia Handgun Ban

On December 29, six attorneys who worked on the lawsuit Heller v District of Columbia were awarded a total of $1,132,182 in attorneys fees. Heller v D.C. was not an election law case. This post is nevertheless being made because it illustrates the power of the 1976 federal law that awards attorneys’ fees to attorneys who win constitutional civil rights cases. Election law cases are part of civil rights. Here is the District Court’s order, explaining how the amount was calculated.

Heller v D.C. challenged the District’s total ban on handguns. Heller won the case in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. Heller’s three main attorneys received these amounts: Alan Gura $662,424; Clark Neily $294,084; Robert Levy $101,020. Three other attorneys for Heller received smaller amounts.

Heller’s attorneys received compensation for the hours they spent researching the Ninth Amendment, even though they did not win the case on Ninth Amendment grounds. Instead, they won on Second Amendment grounds. Thanks to How Appealing for the link.

Virginia Voter Who Signed Gingrich Petition Sues Over Petition Form

Reginald Johnson, DC Ex-Offender Re-Entry Examiner
December 30, 2011

Some Republican presidential candidates want to be on the Virginian GOP primary ballot so that they are willing to sue the state to get it done.

Jonathon A. Moseley, a Northern Virginia Tea party-republican lawyer and state activist, filed a lawsuit in Richmond City Circuit Court.

The Washington Times reports,

The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Gingrich submitted over 11,000 signatures to fully satisfy the requirement, but “a great many” of them were improperly counted as invalid. At a stop in Iowa Wednesday, Mr. Gingrich said a worker the campaign hired to collect signatures committed fraud, leaving him short of the necessary 10,000 to qualify for the ballot.

Mr. Moseley said that he signed ballot petitions for both Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Perry and the form does not leave much room to write in one’s address, leading him to suspect that many addresses were crammed in and rendered illegible. The suit alleges that the majority of the petition signatures for Mr. Gingrich were disqualified “on the basis of a missing or illegible or incomplete address being provided with the signature.”

A federal judge issued a January 13, 2012, hearing date for Texas Governor Rick Perry’s lawsuit whichhad already been filed.

Both men are desperately trying to get on the ballot. Neither Gingrich nor Perry gathered the 10,000 valid ballot signatures needed to be on The Old Dominion ballot, although former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas U.S. House Rep. Ron Paul did get the required number of valid signatures.

"I read in the paper that these GOP candidates were told months ago what they needed to be on he ballot," said William Harper, a Virginia resident who's a returning citizen and registered Democrat.

He added, "What's going on with this GOP primary is better than any reality TV program. It's like watching a political soap opera, or a Baldacci novel put on the small screen."

Samantha Washington, a Virginia resident and registered Republican is worried.

"All of these lawsuits and other things that take away from the political message could come back to haunt us," she said via email. She does offer hope by saying in part, "The party is strong and historically well-funded, so there is hope."

Mosley is not connected with the Gingrich campaign.

Virginia 2011 Independent Candidate for Legislature has Big Impact on 2012 Presidential Primary

December 25th, 2011

There are currently many news stories and blog discussions about the Virginia presidential primary ballot access law. Some large blogs, such as Red State, have over 300 comments about the story. Some defend the current Virginia ballot access laws on the grounds that in past presidential elections, a fairly large number of Republican presidential primary candidates managed to qualify.

But what has not been reported is that in the only other presidential primaries in which Virginia required 10,000 signatures (2000, 2004, and 2008) the signatures were not checked. Any candidate who submitted at least 10,000 raw signatures, on notarized sheets, and which had at least 400 signatures from each U.S. House district, was put on the ballot. In 2000, five Republicans qualified: George Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and Steve Forbes. In 2004 there was no Republican primary in Virginia. In 2008, six Republicans qualified: John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson (an earlier version of this post erroneously said Alan Keyes qualified in 2008, but he only qualified in 2000).

The only reason the Virginia Republican Party checked the signatures for validity for the current primary is that in October 2011, an independent candidate for the legislature, Michael Osborne, sued the Virginia Republican Party because it did not check petitions for its own members, when they submitted primary petitions. Osborne had no trouble getting the needed 125 valid signatures for his own independent candidacy, but he charged that his Republican opponent’s primary petition had never been checked, and that if it had been, that opponent would not have qualified. The lawsuit, Osborne v Boyles, cl 11-520-00, was filed in Bristol County Circuit Court. It was filed too late to be heard before the election, but is still pending. The effect of the lawsuit was to persuade the Republican Party to start checking petitions. If the Republican Party had not changed that policy, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would be on the 2012 ballot.

The Democratic Party of Virginia has been opposed to the strict law on primary ballot access, and has been in the habit of collecting signatures for all Democratic presidential candidates recognized by the party. In 2008, the state party collected 7,300 signatures for all its candidates, thus easing the burden on them and requiring them to collect only 4,000 to 5,000 on their own.

Did the VA GOP change the rules on primary ballot access in November 2011?

Apparently, yes.

Richard Winger over at Ballot Access News has an EXTREMELY interesting post (link via here) on the mess that the Virginia Republican party has found itself in over… access to the ballot in Virginia. For those coming in late, background here and here: the very short version is that the VA GOP only certified Mitt Romney and Ron Paul for its primary ballot. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich both had too many signatures tossed; Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann didn’t even try. Of the seven candidates, one (Romney) had more than enough signatures (15K) to bypass the verification process entirely. All of this has caused a lot of agitation among Republicans following the primary process, of course; and not just from people who disapprove of what the VA GOP has done. There has been a good deal of defending of the outcome; and one argument heavily used in this defense has been that the campaigns all knew the rules and that previous Republican campaigns were able to get on the ballot, so clearly a competent current Republican campaign should have done so.

One small problem with that: as Winger argues, the rules were allegedly drastically changed. In November of this year.

Winger’s article is too long to reproduce here, so I’ll summarize it: prior to the 2012 elections it was Republican party policy in Virginia to simply deem any candidate that brought in ten thousand raw signatures as having met the primary ballot requirements under Virginian state election law. So, for example, Alan Keyes (a popular negative example for people making the ‘any competent campaign’ argument) apparently did not actually have his petitions checked in 2000 and 2008; absent going back and looking at the paperwork (assuming that it even still exists), there’s no way to tell whether he would have survived the scrutiny of 2012. And that’s true of every other candidate who has appeared on the primary ballot in Virginia. None of them qualify for an apples-to-apples comparison – and this remains true no matter how many signatures were collected. If you know that your signatures will not be checked if you get above 10K, you are simply operating in a fundamentally different environment than one where you know that your signatures will be checked.

So what happened? Osborne v. Boyles. On October 24th independent state delegate candidate Michael Osborne filed suit against the Republican party of Virginia (specifically, Fifth District GOP Chairman Brandon Boyles) because of this policy: as the article notes, “the law simply requires that party-affiliated candidates present their petitions to the local party chairman – in this case Boyles – who is responsible for reviewing the petition signatures on their own. It does not dictate how thorough this review must be or give state officials any power to challenge it.” The case is still pending – interestingly, the election that this lawsuit was ostensibly addressing has come and gone – but according to Winger the VA GOP decided in response to bump up from 10K to 15K the threshold for simply deeming the requirements as being met. The complications of it being the day after Christmas makes final confirmation of all of this difficult, but Osborne v. Boyles is an actual case and Richard Winger is one of the go-to guys on the arcane subject of ballot access: what I can check out about this story I have checked out.

As for the implications… well, I think that John Fund’s general comment is correct: this is going to go to the courts. John was not discussing this specific wrinkle, but his larger point that Virginia’s ballot access policies have systemic problems gets a big boost when it turns out that the state party can effectively increase by fifty percent the practical threshold for ballot access – in a day, and in the middle of an existing campaign. The VA GOP still retains ultimate control over who gets on the ballot, of course. But then, they always have – and under the current system they could in fact brazen it out and certify Gingrich and Perry anyway. Of course, that would probably mean another lawsuit anyway; but then, there really isn’t a path out of here that doesn’t involve lawsuits.

But that’s a matter for the courts and the party leadership. On the activist level; as noted above, there has been a certain argument used to defend the VA GOP. It’s an argument that accuses two Presidential campaigns of being ignorant of conditions on the ground… and it turns out that the people using that argument may themselves be guilty of being ignorant of conditions on the ground. If it is true that the Republican party of Virginia decided in November of 2011 to increase the threshold for automatic certification from 10K to 15K, then it is reasonable to suggest that this was a change that unfairly rewarded candidates who had previously run for President in Virginia. Even if you dispute that, if this story checks out then it is still completely unreasonable to compare the Gingrich/Perry campaigns to any historical Presidential campaign in Virginia: if this was 2008 or 2000, they’d both be on the ballot themselves and the subject wouldn’t have even come up. And anyone who still tries to use that argument needs to understand that doing so simply makes them look foolish, instead of the Presidential campaigns that they’re pretty much trying to assault. Put another way… I know that this statement will grate on some people, but here goes: if this checks out then there are some defenders of the VA GOP decision out there who need to start apologizing for their, ah, over-enthusiasm. Whether or not they think that it’s fair, or whether anybody’s apologizing to them, or really anything else.

Because… karma. It’s what’s for dinner.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Let me take this opportunity to repeat my earlier recommendation to the Romney campaign that they request that the VA GOP check their signatures, too. The deadline for certification is tomorrow, IIRC; and even as it stands now it is unlikely that the VA GOP will certify anyone besides Romney or Paul. If the Romney campaign wants to have any distance from the VA GOP at all on this issue, it is running out of time to ensure that.

PPS: Some of my colleagues feel that the real, underlying problem here is that the Commonwealth of Virginia should have changed its election laws to reflect the (valid, in my opinion) issues brought up in the original Osborne v. Boyles lawsuit. I actually agree with that; there is something definitely odd about having rigorous restrictions on a party candidate’s access to the ballot that are enforced by the parties themselves. But the laws weren’t changed; the internal rules were, and on short notice. And I expect that there’s going to be additional, equally valid lawsuits over that.

Jesse Jackson's Mis-Education of the Negro

By Ron Miller (Scribe)
on December 26th, 2011

After decades of promoting education as the first and most essential step toward black self-reliance and success in the larger American society, it appears that the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson is changing his tune.

While visiting the Operation Black Vote headquarters in London, England, Rev. Jackson was asked what black fathers should do to protect their sons from the troubles that compel so many young black men to make poor choices leading to crime, violence and untimely death. This is the central point in his response:

When I was younger I would say I wanted my children to get educated so that they wouldn’t have to go through what I’ve gone through. I’ve changed that position now. I want them to get a good education so they can have more tools with which to fight. The fight will not stop. I want them to have more tools. I want black fathers to have more tools with which to fight.

It has been 78 years since black historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, “the father of black history,” wrote his signature work, The Mis-Education of the Negro, in which he accused the American education system of his day of indoctrinating, rather than teaching, black children, and perpetuating their sense of dependency and inferiority in American society.

Today, Rev. Jackson is suggesting that education is just another tool in the arsenal of grievance, victimhood and protest that he and others of his ilk have employed on behalf of the black community in America for half a century, with decidedly mixed results. I believe, however, that Dr. Woodson would categorically reject Rev. Jackson’s suggested application of education, and accuse him of mis-educating black people in his own right.

A close examination of Dr. Woodson’s work reveals that he passionately believed in a proper education as the critical first step toward black ascendancy in America, having benefited himself from his pursuit of higher learning.

Dr. Woodson held two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree and was the second black person to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He was an admirer and contemporary of Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican immigrant who led a black nationalist movement in America and, like Woodson, advocated black self-reliance and self-respect.

Woodson believed that black people could and would succeed in America with the proper education, and he admired the West Indian blacks who migrated to the United States in the early 1900s because, according to his observations, they came here literate, seeking more education, and with “high individual worth,” to use Dr. John C. Walter’s words, considering themselves “to be the equal of any man.”

By 1930, West Indian immigrants comprised 40 percent of all black doctors in America despite being only 1.2 to 1.5 percent of the population. In 1938, foreign born blacks comprised only 17 percent of the overall black population of New York City, but made up a third of its professionals and one fourth of the skilled artisans.

Dr. Woodson believed the characteristics that led to such professional success could be instilled within the indigenous black population in America through a combination of a traditional education and the teaching of black history, highlighting the breadth and depth of black contributions to American society. His commitment to black history led to the establishment of Negro History Week, the precursor to today’s Black History Month, and the establishment of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which still operates today.

Rev. Jackson once preached a similar message, but he has been radicalized by his association with leftist politics, and largely abandoned any message that would promote blacks taking their place alongside their fellow Americans as sovereign individuals and equal heirs in the free market.

Instead of promoting the principles of individual dignity, self-reliance, and industry that served millions of immigrants to America, including millions from Africa and the Caribbean who look like us but came seeking opportunity, he would rather see us in the streets, repudiating opportunity and engaged in political protest to extract tribute from an ostensibly recalcitrant nation.

Dr. Woodson did not object to political engagement for ascending blacks, but he stressed it wasn’t the primary path to success:

The New Negro in politics, moreover, must not be a politician. He must be a man. He must try to give the world something rather than extract something from it. The world, as he should see it, does not owe him anything, certainly not a political office; and he should not try solely to secure one, and thus waste valuable years which might be devoted to the development of something of an enduring value. If he goes into office, it should be as a sacrifice, because his valuable time is required elsewhere. If he is needed by his country in a civil position, he may respond to the call as a matter of duty, for his usefulness is otherwise assured. From such a Negro, then, we may expect sound advice, intelligent guidance, and constructive effort fort the good of all elements of our population.

While Dr. Woodson advocated an assertive approach to pursuing the rights of blacks as American citizens, he reflected the attitude of America’s founders toward politics, which they saw as a temporary, sacrificial service to the nation, and production, which they saw as the higher calling because it contributed to the betterment of the individual, the family and society as a whole. Booker T. Washington said, “No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper reward.”

Also, he rejected political philosophies that claimed to offer salvation to black people based on their perceived inability to be successful within the existing system. He was particularly unimpressed with the promises of socialism, which he saw as a tacit admission that blacks couldn’t compete in the free market:

In suggesting herein the rise of the New Negro in politics the author does not have in mind the so-called radical Negroes who have read and misunderstood Karl Marx and his disciples and would solve the political as well as the economic problems of the race by an immediate application of these principles. History shows that although large numbers of people have actually tried to realize such pleasant dreams, they have in the final analysis come back to a social program based on competition. If no one is to enjoy the fruits of his exceptional labor any more than the individual who is not prepared to render such extraordinary service, not one of a thousand will be sufficiently humanitarian to bestir himself to achieve much of importance, and force applied in this case to stimulate such action has always broken down. If the excited whites who are bringing to the Negroes such strange doctrines are insane enough to believe them, the Negroes themselves should learn to think before it is too late.

He refused to embrace those who wanted to dismantle the American system and replace it with something else, because he had seen it work for the West Indians and other immigrants, and he knew it could work for native-born blacks as well:

To say that the Negro cannot develop sufficiently in the business world to measure arms with present-day capitalists is to deny actual facts, refute history, and discredit the Negro as a capable competitor in the economic battle of life. No man knows what he can do until he tries. The Negro race has never tried to do very much for itself. The race has great possibilities. Properly awakened, the Negro can do the so-called impossible in the business world and thus help to govern rather than merely be governed.

In the failure to see this and the advocacy of the destruction of the whole economic order to right social wrong we see again the tendency of the Negro to look to some force from without to do for him what he must learn to do for himself.

While Rev. Jackson is saying, in effect, “We cannot compete in the world as it is, so we must fight against it,” as far back as the 1930s, Dr. Woodson was saying, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”

He didn’t believe that blacks in America had really yet had the opportunity to try and govern themselves. He had great faith in the strength and resilience of the black population, as did Frederick Douglass before him when he declared, “Do nothing with us!” to well-meaning but patronizing whites, as did Booker T. Washington when he said, “The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race,” and as did Marcus Garvey when he said, “You can succeed in big business just as you have succeeded along other lines of intellectual and mechanical endeavor, if you study business as you study the other subjects and trades and learn the detail necessary to success.”

That faith is characteristic of today’s black conservatives, who believe black people can govern themselves and find success in the world, and who do not subscribe to the notion that our fates are determined by people and institutions outside of our control, and we are powerless to do anything about it. If our history tells us anything, it’s that we have found great strength through adversity, and we are capable of far greater things because of the distance we have traveled and the obstacles we’ve overcome. We must not sacrifice that legacy on the altar of victimhood and resentment. If our power comes from outside of our locus of control, then it’s not truly ours.

There’s an old saying that goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” yet that is precisely what the black community has done since the days of Reconstruction. Not only do we depend on government assistance in numbers out of proportion to our presence in the population, we are disproportionately represented in public sector jobs, and are taking the hardest hits as government is forced to scale back dramatically in the face of record budget deficits. We need to invest more of our human and intellectual capital in the free market, where we own the means of production, the risk and the rewards.

That means pursuing education not as a means to agitation, but regeneration. Dr. Woodson’s passion for black American history is driven by our achievements, and it is indeed uplifting to realize the greatness of our ancestors despite the odds they faced, which were several orders of magnitude more burdensome than anything we encounter today.

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who learned to read and write and, without the benefit of a formal education, because one of the greatest writers, orators and statesmen in American history. Bridget “Biddie” Mason was 38 years old, illiterate and penniless when she won her emancipation in 1856, yet through hard work, frugality and wise financial decisions, she become one of the wealthiest people in Los Angeles, and one of California’s great philanthropists.

These and other great stories of black history were meant, in Dr. Woodson’s estimation, to build us up and give us “high individual worth.” Somehow, Black History Month has become more about what was done to us as victims than what we’ve done for ourselves and this nation as achievers and overcomers.

I’m reminded of the story shared with me by a white friend, who said her daughter came home after a class discussion during Black History Month and declared her pity for what was done to black people in America. While we should learn from the injustices of the past, the response Dr. Woodson sought in his advocacy of black history as an academic discipline was not pity, but pride.

As Frederick Douglass said, “What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.” In the same speech in which he uttered those words, he defined justice for the black community to mean “leave us alone”:

Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot- box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone,–your interference is doing him a positive injury.

Regrettably, like too many of our other possessions, our history has been co-opted and manipulated by those who see us as a source of power, but not necessarily its beneficiaries. Instead, we’ve been persuaded that our power lies solely in our ability to shame society rather than build it.

Dr. Woodson believed the remedy for such manipulation was political independence for the black community, declaring, “Any people who will vote the same way for three generations without thereby obtaining results ought to be ignored and disfranchised. As a minority element the Negro should not knock at the door of any particular political party.” As I indicated previously, his mistrust of “foreign movements” like socialism ran deep:

The Negroes have always had sufficient reason for being radical, and it looks silly to see them taking up the cause of others who pretend that they are interested in the Negro when they merely mean to use the race as a means to an end.

He also advocated political engagement not just for black causes, but for the overall advancement of society as a whole:

The New Negro in politics will see his opportunity not in thus restricting himself but in visioning the whole social and economic order with his race as a part of it. In thus working for the benefit of all as prompted by his liberal mindedness the New Negro will do much more to bring the elements together for common good than he will be able to do in prating only of the ills of his particular corner and extending his hand for adouceur.

Rev. Jackson’s comments, indeed his career as an activist, can be summed up in Dr. Woodson’s phrase, “…prating only of the ills of his particular corner and extending his hand for adouceur.”

His statement about education brings to mind the United Negro College Fund’s signature slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Let’s not waste our education on programs and actions designed to prolong grievance politics, and thus our stagnation within and isolation from society. That would be mis-education all over again.

Our history proves we are better than that, and even Rev. Jackson once believed it when he said, “Excellence is the best deterrent to racism. Therefore, be excellent.” Now there’s a proclamation that Dr. Woodson would embrace without reservation.

More Obama Sacrifice …

90th Round of Golf and Let Them Eat non-special 5 Course Meals


The do as I say, not as I do presidency of Barack Obama continues. In 2009 Obama told us that we all must sacrifice. Everyone Mr. President? Would that include you, the First Lady and the First family? Of course not.

“Everyone must sacrifice for the greater good… Everyone must have some skin in the game.”

Every one must have skin in the game except the very person who should be setting the example foe the American people. What has President Barack Obama sacrificed since he has been in office? Certainly not his 90 rounds of golf. Nor his 5 course meals,nor his repeated vacations to Hawaii or the land of the 1%, Martha’s Vineyard. Interestingly enough, Obama’s 90th round of golf was spent with his long-time friend Robert Titcomb, who earlier this year plead no contest to soliciting a prostitute in Honolulu.

More from the White House Dossier. Obama has a couple days left to break his yearly record of hitting the links.

But don’t worry America, its not like Obama has not provided you with two months of a payroll tax cut and an increase in the newly filed unemployment job claims. Wait until the holiday season is over and all the businesses let go those they hired just for the holiday season.

Barack Obama - The Trojan Horse President

December 28, 2011

Given the premise that good fiction must ring true to life, Robert Knight, writing in The Washington Times, has taken the time to sketch out a few plot elements on what might happen if a man who hates America and wants to bring it down is somehow elected president. What would he do?

As Knight's plot elements make clear, a Trojan horse president that wanted to bring America down would do exactly as Barack Obama has done:

First, the Trojan Horse president would initiate unprecedented spending, driving the debt up by more than $4 trillion just in the first three years. Much of the money would go into the pockets of political supporters and people who donate heavily to his campaigns.

He would ram through an unreadable law allowing the federal government to seize the health care system, which would transform citizens into beholden subjects.

He would cut out private lenders and federalize student loans.

He would go on a world apology tour, letting America's friends and foes know that he is doing whatever he can to make sure America becomes a third-rate power and is brought to heel under a growing world government headed by the United Nations. While on the tour, he would praise Islam and denigrate America's Christian heritage.

He would cripple America's ability to be energy-independent by halting new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska - even projects that already had undergone years of research and approval. While promoting oil drilling by Brazil and other foreign countries, he would halt a pipeline from Canada's oil tar sands that could create 20,000 U.S. jobs and reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

He would waste billions on "new" sources of energy that don't have a prayer of sustaining America's vast industrial and service industries. This means windmills, solar farms and acres of cages full of hamsters on wheels that generate electricity.

He would appoint a totalitarian-minded director of the Environmental Protection Agency to use global-warming hysteria to create carbon rules to shut down or bankrupt coal-burning electric plants and shackle manufacturers with hundreds of new regulations.

He essentially would end the space program, a main driver of America's computer and other high-tech industries. First he would order NASA to "reach out" to Muslim nations.

He would hollow out the military by killing new weapons, reducing forces and letting our foes know exactly when America is leaving the field of battle, regardless of conditions.

To complete the job of destroying morale, he would orchestrate, with leaks and stacked surveys, an end to the military's moral code, which has been in existence since the nation's founding. He would brook no commander who held strong moral views and would appoint spineless bureaucrats to facilitate the new sexually androgynous armed forces.

He would alienate European allies such as Poland by yanking away a missile-defense system after the Poles already had committed to it and risked the wrath of neighboring Russia.

He would send his secretary of state around the world to promote abortion, homosexuality and anti-blasphemy dictums that stifle criticism of Shariah law.

He would use the Justice Department to undermine the rule of law. Here are some ways he could do that:
Continue reading here.

If only, it were fiction. Unfortunately, Knight's 'fictional' plot happens to be fact, not fiction, and what Barack Obama, the Trojan horse president, is doing to America is exactly as he has intended from the get go.

Related reading:
Lloyd Marcus - The Progressives' Perfect Trojan Horse
Aaron Goldstein - The Worst of Obama 2011

Ron Paul refers to MLK Holiday as "Hate Whitey Day"

By Javier Manjarres

It’s been well chronicled here at the Shark Tank that we are no fans of Congressman Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy-to all but his die hard fans, such an outlook on today’s geopolitical scene is naive and dangerous. However, we have defended his aggressiveness as it pertains to domestic spending, as he is one of the staunchest fiscal hawks currently in the Congress. But the recent surfacing of Paul’s disturbing newsletters have backed him into a very dark corner, and he is being questioned as to whether or not he is a bigot- and rightfully so.

In the 1990s, he described Dr. King as a “world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and “seduced underage girls and boys.” He even claimed – without a hint of proof – that Dr. King “made a pass at” fellow civil rights warrior Ralph Abernathy, who succeeded King as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).-Florida Courier

“What an infamy Ronald Reagan approved it!” He added, “We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.”-Ron Paul

Ron Paul has emphatically disavowed these postings in his newsletters throughout the 1980′s and 90′s and stated that he did not know about the content now being called into question, claiming that there were others who wrote material for his newsletters that attributed the work to him. Paul has claimed he did publish the newsletters, and that admission should completely implicate himself- the buck needs to stop at the top.

Here’s a dose of reality for Ron Paul’s stalwart supporters- there is no way on God’s green earth that you can convince me that Ron Paul did not know what was being written in his newsletters. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt here for a minute. Let’s just say that there were others writing the newsletters alongside him and there was one instance that some racial slur was posted in the newsletter. But what about the other off color remarks about Blacks, Jews and Gays?

Here at the Shark Tank, we have guest writers and have allowed Lone Shark to post quite a bit of content, and you better believe that I have read and approved every single blog post. The question then arises as to how trusting was Paul with the people co-writing his newsletters. The writers in Paul’s newsletters also express a disturbing paranoia and conspiracy theories in their writings, so it seems that Paul was approving of those types of sentiments as well- it’s not farfetched to assume that he trusted those writers to express the same views on government that he espoused.

I think it’s safe to speculate that Ron Paul confided in his co-writers because he knew them well and trusted their judgement and character. This trust he placed in them speaks volumes to his potential culpablility or direct involvement in the writing of the bigoted newsletters.

If Ron Paul is so fit to be the Commander-in-Chief of the United States, a position where he is wholly responsible for what happens under his watch, then how can he plausibly claim that he did not know what was being written in the newsletters? After all, he was the “Commander in Chief” as publisher of the the Ron Paul newsletters. Stick a fork in him, his Presidential campaign is over.

Ron Paul and the Libertarians

Posted by David Boaz

The New York Times editorializes that if Ron Paul can’t separate himself from his unsavory writings and supporters, “he will leave a lasting stain on his candidacy, on the libertarian movement and, very possibly, on the Iowa caucuses.” Certainly it’s a problem Paul is struggling to deal with. As for the Iowa caucuses, if they could survive strong votes for Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan and an actual win for Mike Huckabee, I dare say they can survive Ron Paul. But should these things “stain . . . the libertarian movement”? Not in a rational world.

Libertarianism is a philosophy of peace, freedom, toleration, and individual rights — just the opposite of the collectivist racist and homophobic ideas that appeared in newsletters written under Ron Paul’s signature. As I wrote in Libertarianism: A Primer, “Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others.” Those ideas have played an important role throughout American history, from the American Revolution to abolitionism to the Tea Party.

And now Ron Paul is attracting support for his advocacy of the ideas of small government and free enterprise. As the Times notes in a dispatch from Iowa, Paul “is drawing supporters for his libertarian and antiwar views. …For the students, much of Mr. Paul’s appeal derives from civil libertarian views like ending the federal ban on marijuana and other drugs, as well as his desire to end foreign wars and his small-government credo.” That’s the message that has moved Ron Paul to the top of the polls in Iowa.

Still, he did allow associates of his to write racist and homophobic screeds in “The Ron Paul Political Report” and other newsletters. And that has created a stench around his candidacy. Some people want that stench to envelop and stain the libertarian movement. Jamie Kirchick, the anti-Paul jihadi who brought the newsletters to light in 2008, asks, “Why Don’t Libertarians Care About Ron Paul’s Bigoted Newsletters?” But of course many libertarians have expressed revulsion at the newsletters. Ilya Somin noted at the Volokh Conspiracy (one of the few conspiracies not denounced in the Ron Paul newsletters) that he himself had condemned the newsletters in 2008, as had his co-blogger David Bernstein. And Virginia Postrel, the former editor of Reason, and various current writers at Reason. And a leading Austrian economist, Steven Horwitz. And Ed Crane, the founder and president of Cato.

Kirchick identified Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic as a libertarian who supported Ron Paul despite the bigotry in the newsletters that bore his name. But in fact Friedersdorf wrote a long and tortured article acknowledging the “egregiously offensive . . . racially bigoted . . . execrable” content of the newsletters. He went on to say that there was still a good case for supporting the only candidate who has consistently opposed the Iraq War, indefinite detention, drone strikes, anti-Muslim bigotry, and the war on drugs. Other libertarians who know about the newsletters are no doubt making similar calculations. And as David Weigel of Slate notes today, many less-engaged voters — such as American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson — still haven’t heard about the whole issue; they like Ron Paul for the issues he talks about, smaller government, budget cuts, sound money, and noninterventionism.

I wrote about “Ron Paul’s Ugly Newsletters” in a 2008 Cato-at-Liberty posting:

Those words are not libertarian words. Maybe they reflect “paleoconservative” ideas, though they’re not the language of Burke or even Kirk. But libertarianism is a philosophy of individualism, tolerance, and liberty. As Ayn Rand wrote, “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism.” Making sweeping, bigoted claims about all blacks, all homosexuals, or any other group is indeed a crudely primitive collectivism.

Libertarians should make it clear that the people who wrote those things are not our comrades, not part of our movement, not part of the tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick. Shame on them.

The fact is, there’s a small band of self-styled “libertarians” who over the past two decades have associated the great ideas of Austrian economics and libertarianism with bigotry, reflexive anti-Americanism, and vitriol directed at everyone from the Trilateral Commission to Cato and Reason. They have very little association with the larger libertarian movement or with such libertarian-inspired movements as the Tea Party, the drug reform movement, or the school choice movement. Virtually their only point of contact with the broader constituency for smaller government is through Rep. Ron Paul, who, for whatever reasons, has unfortunately continued his association with the people who have tarred him and the causes that are drawing many voters to him.

Libertarians have been fighting ignorance, superstition, privilege, and power for centuries, and we will continue to do so in the future. Libertarians reject bigotry and advocate equal rights for every individual. Ron Paul’s very bad decision to outsource his writing to reprehensible characters doesn’t change that.

This Exists: Indiana State Sen. Proposes Bill To Penalize People Who Sing National Anthem Incorrectly

by Josh Feldman
11:27 pm, December 30th, 2011

You may remember a story from several months ago about a college in Indiana banning the national anthem because its lyrics were “too violent.” Obviously, this raised many eyebrows and made Goshen College a target for national outrage. Who would imagine the national anthem would be the subject of such controversy? Well, luckily the state of Indiana has legislators who understand just how sacrosanct the national anthem really is.

To give the following story more context, another national anthem-related controversy arising from Indiana this year involved a high school student who decided to put her own musical spin on the national anthem. As a reward for her artistic creativity, the school disciplined her for straying from the original melody, calling it “unrecognizable, unacceptable and disrespectful to soldiers who died for our country. The school eventually issued a public apology, but the fact that this was a controversy even for five seconds was quite mind-boggling.

Now that we have all the proper context in place, let’s direct our attention to Indiana State Senator Vaneta Becker. She is currently pushing for new legislation that would take strong action against those who have the nerve to deviate the national anthem from its intended melodic rhythms.

[Becker] has introduced a bill that would set specific “performance standards” for singing and playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at any event sponsored by public schools and state universities.

The law also would cover private schools receiving state or local scholarship funds, including vouchers.

Performers would have to sign a contract agreeing to follow the guidelines. Musicians — whether amateur or professional — would be fined $25 if it were deemed they failed to meet the appropriate standards.

Becker was inspired to write the bill after a constituent contacted her to complain that at a school function, the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner” were changed for the purposes of satire. This did not sit well with Becker at all, for she believes that the national anthem “is [not] something we ought to be joking around with.”

She clarified that the bill is not intended to punish vocalists for singing off-key (this isn’t The Voice, people), its sole purpose is to punish people “who make intentional changes” to the lyrics. But here’s where the bill starts to make just a little less sense:

The bill calls for schools to maintain audio recordings of all performances for two years and develop a procedure for dealing with complaints if a musician is alleged to have strayed from the approved lyrical or melodic guidelines.

“I don’t think it would be very difficult for schools,” Becker said. “You could record it on a lot of cellphones or like a small recording device (or) a CD.”

It’s like Simon Cowell and Big Brother rolled up into one loving basket of legal authority.

So you can make the argument that the national anthem is a sacred part of the American identity and it deserves to be sung the way Francis Scott Key intended it. But music is a form of art, and art has always been and will always be a subjective experience. Painters, performers, and filmmakers have always experimented with cultural traditions in order to give them a new twist, and whether you appreciate it or not is a matter of taste.

In fact, in making her arguments about preserving the artistic integrity of the original song, Becker sounds a lot like Star Wars traditionalists. I know that sounds random, but bear with me. George Lucas famously made some digital alterations to the three original films before they were rereleased on DVD and Blu-Ray, which raised the ire of a lot of Star Wars fans. Hardcore fans organized a boycott of the new releases this year, explaining it was “about film preservation and our cultural heritage.” So if you leave aside the fact that she wants to make her personal beliefs into a law, Becker’s position is not far outside the mainstream when it comes to presenting art as it was originally created.

But what about the forcefulness or the bravado of the national anthem? Would that be called into consideration? For example, when actress Zooey Deschanel sang the national anthem during the fourth game of the World Series this year, she opted to sing it more low-key than past singers. Somehow this inspired outrage, including this gem from Grantland writer Natasha Vargas-Cooper:

Where is the drama of a sweat-drenched Whitney Houston, steeped in struggle, unhinging her jaw to bellow out Our Song? The drums of war echo in her crack-ravaged throat! What the fuck has Zooey DeeDee earned the right to do besides twirl around in a baby doll dress with her face slathered in gluten-free cupcake frosting?

Once again, art is subjective. What’s odd about this particular piece of legislation is not that Becker is trying to infringe on personal liberty, as civil libertarians might phrase it, but that she is trying to infringe on personal taste. Freedom of expression is just as important as freedom of speech, and there’s really nothing horrible about students expressing themselves in a unique way through the national anthem.

Though it might bother the music teachers.