Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mr. President, is a strong America a problem?

From Sarah Palin's Facebook page:

Asked this week about his faltering efforts to advance the Middle East peace process, President Obama did something remarkable. In front of some 47 foreign leaders and hundreds of reporters from all over the world, President Obama said that “whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.”

Whether we like it or not? Most Americans do like it. America’s military may be one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever seen, liberating countless millions from tyranny, slavery, and oppression over the last 234 years. As a dominant superpower, the United States has won wars hot and cold; our military has advanced the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan and kept authoritarian powers like Russia and China in check.

It is in America’s and the world’s interests for our country to remain a dominant military superpower, but under our great country’s new leadership that dominance seems to be slipping away. President Obama has ended production of the F-22, the most advanced fighter jet this country has ever built. He’s gutted our missile defense program by eliminating shield resources in strategic places including Alaska. And he’s ended the program to build a new generation of nuclear weapons that would have ensured the reliability of our nuclear deterrent well into the future. All this is in the context of the country’s unsustainable debt that could further limit defense spending. As one defense expert recently explained:
The president is looking to eliminate the last vestiges of the Reagan-era buildup. Once the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “ended” (not “won”), the arms control treaties signed, and defense budgets held at historic lows while social entitlements and debt service rise to near-European levels, the era of American superpower will have passed.

The truth is this: by his actions we see a president who seems to be much more comfortable with an American military that isn’t quite so dominant and who feels the need to apologize for America when he travels overseas. Could it be a lack of faith in American exceptionalism? The fact is that America and our allies are safer when we are a dominant military superpower – whether President Obama likes it or not.



The Israeli Left want to undermine their own country too

It's in the nature of Leftism everywhere. Leftism is the ideology of hate -- though always disguised as doing good. The disguises vary but the destructive behaviour reveals that the hate is constant

The Anat Kam affair has sent shockwaves throughout Israel's military and political establishment.

Allegations that the young reporter stole reams of sensitive IDF documents and passed them along to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau raise serious questions about basic subjects such as security procedures and information controls in the army.

Sweeping changes will need to be implemented to ensure that such an outflow of documents does not recur, and one assumes that the military brass has already taken steps to plug the leaks in an obviously creaky system.

But of all the secrets that Kam may have revealed about operational and intelligence matters, few are likely to be as explosive as the real bombshell that she has unwittingly uncovered.

For through her actions, Kam has cast the spotlight on a critical question that does not get nearly as much attention as it deserves: why does the Israeli Left seem to produce so much treachery against the state?

Indeed, the sad fact is that if the charges against Kam are true, she is but the latest in a long line of ideologically-driven left-wingers who have betrayed the country and its secrets.

Remember Mordechai Vanunu, the former nuclear technician who disclosed details of Israel's atomic-energy program to the Times of London in October 1986?

Or how about Marcus Klingberg, one of Israel's top military scientists, who passed data to the Soviets out of ideological conviction before his arrest in 1983?

And then there is Tali Fahima, who was convicted in 2005 for her contact with Zakaria Zubeidi, a Palestinian terrorist from Jenin who headed the local branch of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

There are plenty of other such examples, which only leads one to wonder why some on the Left seem to have no compunction about committing duplicitous acts which cause harm to the state.

Obviously, it would be unfair and wrong to tar the entire Left with the brush of disloyalty. But the lifting of the gag order on the Kam affair should prompt some serious introspection on the other side of the political spectrum.

The fact is that leftists need to take a long, hard look at themselves and their ideology. Based on some of what has emerged from their ranks over the past few decades, it is clear that something has gone very, very wrong.

Of course, such an accounting is unlikely to occur, as various leading left-wing commentators have already rushed to Kam's defense. They are trying to paint her as a whistle-blower, portraying the young journalist as an Israeli Erin Brockovich motivated by the highest ideals to pursue truth and justice, rather than a Benedict Arnold who violated the trust that was placed in her.

For example, former Meretz chairman Yossi Sarid, writing in Ha'aretz on Sunday, sought to defend Kam's actions by suggesting that plenty of politicians have leaked documents over the years.

That may be true, but it is beside the point. Just because a lot of people engage in an illegal act does not in any way make it lawful or honorable, and Sarid should know better than to suggest otherwise.

And then there is the irrepressible Gideon Levy, who went so far as to praise Kam and Blau for their actions. "These two youngsters," he wrote, "each in his own way, wanted to contribute to the state. They saw evils and would not keep silent. This should be described and portrayed as patriotism and love of one's country - certainly more than sending soldiers to eliminate fugitives in cold blood."

Just how exactly Kam "saw evil" when she purportedly made copies of documents outlining the deployment and order of battle of IDF forces is hard to fathom. If anything, the reckless disclosure of such information could have endangered the lives of soldiers in the field had it gotten into the wrong hands.

That isn't patriotism – it is subversion, pure and simple.

Needless to say, when a handful of soldiers recently raised a banner at a military ceremony saying they would refuse to evacuate Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Left went into a frenzy, blasting the Right over the need to "follow orders" and "maintain discipline" in the army.

Oddly enough, however, those principles seem to fall by the wayside when it comes to the case of Anat Kam, whose actions are inexplicably trumpeted as those of a hero.

Perhaps, as Kam goes to trial, the Left will finally take pause and stop to think. Maybe, just maybe, they will look at the young, naive ideologue and finally see the hazards which their ideology has produced.

In this respect, the Kam affair is a wake-up call, and the alarm bells are ringing.

The only question now is whether the Left will heed the buzzer and finally awaken.

SOURCE (See also Steven Plaut on the matter)


Tinpot Hitlers attacking a low cost airline

SPIRIT AIRLINES put a few noses out of joint when it announced this month that it will begin charging passengers between $20 and $45 for carry-on luggage too big to fit under their seats. One of those dislocated schnozzes was that of Ray LaHood, the US secretary of transportation, who pronounced Spirit's new carry-on fee "outrageous," and growled: "We're gonna hold the airline's feet to the fire on this. Because we have an obligation to do it and we have the ability to do it." Asked to characterize the airline's change of policy, LaHood asserted: "I don't think they care about their customers."

According to his biography at the Transportation Department website, LaHood's entire career has been spent on government payrolls; he has no business experience of any kind. Perhaps that explains his fatuous notion that Spirit, a for-profit company in a fiercely competitive industry, can jack up its fees without regard to customer reaction.

Maybe LaHood imagines that air travelers, like taxpayers, have no choice but to pay whatever they're told to pay. A lifetime in the public sector may have so calcified his ignorance of how markets function that he simply cannot grasp that passengers who don't want to pay Spirit's new carry-on fees can always switch to an airline that doesn't charge them.

But ignorance is no excuse for LaHood's threat to "hold the airline's feet to the fire." Washington does not "have an obligation" to second-guess the fees charged by Spirit or any other private business. Absent evidence of fraud, theft, or coercion, airlines should be able to charge what they think the market will bear, free of governmental meddling.

Spirit's $30 fee for the use of an overhead bin may well strike people as "outrageous." But for Washington to bully the airline into rescinding its fee -- for no better reason than that some passengers don't like it -- would be a greater outrage by far.

LaHood isn't the only public-sector lifer carrying on about Spirit's carry-on policy. New York Senator Charles Schumer squawks that the new fee "is a slap in the face to travelers," and declares that passengers should have the right to bring a carry-on aboard "without having to worry about getting nickeled and dimed by an airline company."

Firm in his conviction that anything he personally dislikes ought to be illegal, Schumer is pushing legislation to ban airlines from charging for carry-ons. "I think it will go through the Senate and House like a hot knife through butter," he predicts.

Maybe it will. But if Schumer grieves so deeply about travelers being "nickeled and dimed" when they fly, why has he never gone after the US ticket tax, which adds 7.5 percent to the price of every domestic flight? Or the $16.50 the federal government charges for each international departure and arrival? Or the $17 in customs and inspection fees paid by passengers flying into US airports from abroad? Or the "passenger facilities charges" (up to $18 per round-trip)? Or the "US Security Service Fee" ($2.50 per departure)? Or the "domestic segment fee" ($3.70 per flight segment)? The government's unremitting "nickeling and diming"of airline passengers doesn't trouble the sleep of New York's senior senator. Only when a private firm acts does he toss and turn in anguish.

Reality check: Every airline charges for its overhead bins, just as every airline charges for bathrooms, oxygen masks, and flight attendants. The cost of those amenities is built into the airfare you pay when you fly, and you pay whether you use them or not.

The same used to be true of the "free" meals, pillows, and baggage handling airlines provided, before they unbundled those services, made them optional, and began charging for them separately. Spirit, an ultra-low cost carrier that describes itself as "the unbundling leader in the industry," has decided to do the same for carry-on luggage, simultaneously reducing its base fares by $40 or more each way.

Ben Baldanza, the president of Spirit Airlines, argues that making every passenger pay for carry-on luggage would be like McDonald's forcing every customer who buys a hamburger to cover the cost of French fries, too. "Not everyone wants fries," Baldanza says. "Why should everyone have to pay for them?"

Is Spirit's strategy a good one? The free market can answer that question faster and more accurately than any one of us can. The less assistance it gets from grandstanding senators or transportation secretaries, the better off all travelers will be.



The return of the blimp aerostat

The U.S. military has begun testing massive high-tech dirigibles — designed to provide battlefield commanders with a bird's-eye view of cruise missiles or other threats — in the skies over the Utah desert.

An unmanned 242-foot-long balloon was launched Wednesday morning about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City. It stayed aloft for about three hours before it was pulled back down as planned, according to Paula Nicholson, a spokeswoman for Dugway Proving Ground.

Vast tracts of military-owned desert were chosen for the testing because of their remoteness and resemblance to the mountainous, arid environment of Afghanistan, the military said in a statement.

Known as aerostats, the dirigibles are outfitted with radar and communications systems to provide long-range surveillance targeting threats from aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles.

Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Co. was awarded a $1.4 billion contract from the Army in 2007 to design, build and test the aerostats.

Several more tests are proposed for Utah later in the year, including over the remote northern portion of the Great Salt Lake and parts of the Snake Valley.

The aerostats were first flight-tested in Elizabeth City, N.C., last summer but were limited to a height of 3,000 feet. In Utah, the dirigibles are expected to fly some 10,000 feet above the U.S. Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range, where air space is restricted up to 58,000 feet, the military said. The dirigibles are tethered to processing stations on the ground, and each is capable of staying aloft for a month.

Officials said the aerostats will be less expensive to maintain and operate than conventional aircraft-based radar while providing battlefield commanders a bird's-eye view of threats in a given area.

"Not only will it expand the view well over the horizon, but do so at the least cost to the taxpayer. This is a critically needed capability as we continue to prosecute the global war on terrorism," Col. William E. King IV, Dugway's commander, said in a statement.




I have been pointing out the Leftist bias of Snopes for years now but a recent article does a pretty good job of pointing out that they cannot be trusted on anything political. Even when given the facts, they ignore whatever does not suit their Leftist agenda


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Anonymous said...

Reliability is seemingly not readily available...

When I looked at the reference you, Dr. Ray, provided at Alamo City Pundit, I see quoted a comment from "Alan Strong" as follows: "Truth or Fiction, is a better source for verification, in my opinion."

So then I go to Truth or Fiction, and find the following:

" is an excellent site that has become an authoritative source for information about urban legends and forwarded emails. We regard David and Barbara Mikkelson, the founders and operators of, as colleagues and professional researchers who have earned a good reputation for what they do."

There's more about how great snopes is at the same link.

Wireless.Phil said...

The Snopes story goes a bit deeper:

Now, as for the Dirigibles also known as Aerostats, were use to fight drug traffic at our boarders starting back in the 1980s.

But now?
Not just radar:

JLENS was designated an Acquisition Category II program in March 1999. Long term acquisition requirements call for 12 complete systems at an estimated value of $1.6 billion.

The aerostat carried an electro-optical/infrared package to support force protection activities.

Scheduled for fielding in 2012, when we will begin replacing currently fielded Aerostats and Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) towers, JLENS will provide a long-duration, wide-area cruise missile capability while also supplying the battlefield commander with situational awareness and elevated communications capabilities.

General Electric built them back then but lost the contract because they spent almost half their expected work time on the ground for repair.

Raytheon Co. has the contract know, but I'll have to see if I can find the specs on the new ones.

Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor ...
Policy Budget Congress Links Public Eye Space JLENS