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Via Mediaite, a quote: “It is entirely possible a loser candidate will get the nomination… We may end up with milquetoast as a nominee.” I don’t get it. Who could he mean? In possibly related news, Team Mitt is ready for a long, hard slog to the nomination: Much will depend on the still-unsettled primary [...]

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I liked this short video of Pfc. Charles Pfeiffer, SAW Gunner with the 1-27 Infantry Regiment, pulling security during an Iraqi Olive Press opening in Salah Ad Din. Makes me miss my pig, Betty (M60).

[Produced by Sgt. Brad Baker.]



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From an email from DG:

Yesterday in response to continue rocket and mortar fire the IDF responded striking at positions where terrorists had been. Which newspaper reported the following essential information?

Relatives and neighbors were unusually open about the fact that the Israeli mortar attack was an attempt to hit militants firing rockets from the nearby grove.

“We heard the sound of four mortars being fired by militants from a grove just beyond our house,” said Hassan, the older brother of Mohammed Harrara. “A few minutes later, the Israeli shells landed in the area.”

It was in Fares Akram’s report in the New York Times: Israeli Attack on Gaza Militants Kills 4 Civilians

The article is illustrated with a photograph of one of the dead children. However, I give Akram credit for establishing Israeli claims.

By the way the Times headlined the report with “Israeli Attack on Gaza Militants Kills 4 Civilians,” which is more accurate than the Washington Post’s Palestinian civilians and 4 militants killed by Israeli fire in Gaza

The Post’s article leads with:

Eight Palestinians, including four civilians and four militants, were killed Tuesday in two separate Israeli military strikes in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian spokesmen said. Israeli officials said the strikes were a response to the most serious escalation in rocket and mortar fire from the coastal territory since the 2009 Israeli offensive that sought to end such attacks.

Note that the fact the attack was a response to terrorism is something that “Israeli officials said.” I wonder if there’s some other way to put it, without that qualification.

The Post of course had a denial from Hamas.

Although Abu Silmiya said the four people killed in eastern Gaza were the victims of Israeli tank fire, the Israeli army said it had fired mortars in response to four military projectiles launched from the northern part of Gaza that landed in the area of the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council inside Israel.

Tahar al-Nounou, a spokesman for Hamas’s government in Gaza, said that no one had fired rockets from the area targeted by Israel on Tuesday. “The Palestinian government condemns strongly the awful crime that was committed by the Zionist occupation this afternoon,” he said in Gaza.

Again, I’ll emphasize, the New York Times quoted witnesses who confirmed the IDF’s account.

Note these two (non-contiguous) paragraphs at the end of the Washington Post story:

Although Hamas has at times worked to prevent attacks into Israel, three days ago the group asserted responsibility for firing 50 mortar rounds, prompting an Israeli complaint to the United Nations and raising fears of an otherwise low-level confrontation becoming a broader conflict.

… The heightened violence follows calls by Palestinians in the West Bank to end the political divisions with Hamas. Some observers in Gaza have speculated that the increased Palestinian mortar and rocket fire could be an attempt to create a distraction and to undermine any reconciliation effort.

The first asserts that Hamas “worked to prevent attacks into Israel.” There’s no qualification of “Hamas claims.” The subsequent sentence reduces Hamas’s culpability for most of the terror. The final paragraph suggests that reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is a necessary step for peace. But reconciliation means that Fatah accepts Hamas’s ideology, the explicit call for the destruction of Israel. Both paragraphs have the effect of casting Hamas (or at least its “political wing,” as “moderate.”)

Meryl has a brilliant critique of the AP’s reportage: There’s dead, and then there’s killed by Israel

Here’s a taste:

Of course, the real difference between Israelis and Palestinians can be seen in their reaction to the death of civilians. When the Fogels were murdered, Gazans celebrated. At the news that a mortar strike went horribly wrong, the prime minister of Israel expressed his regret for the deaths.

Notice too that Netanyahu’s regret wasn’t emphasized, while Abbas’s regret at the killing of the Fogel’s was a major focal point of the reporting. Abbas’s statement of regret (however shallow) was news.

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Daled Amos

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Jenn StergerYou know I can never resist the opportunity to gaze upon Jenn Sterger’s breasts, so I was uber excited when I found out she finally sued someone. Unfortunately, it’s not the someone you think. No, the statute of limitations has run out on Sterger’s chance to sue Brett Favre. Instead, she’s decided to sue Phil Reese. If you’re saying to yourself, “Self, that name sounds vaguely familiar,” that’s because it should. Reese was Sterger’s “manager” and the moron prancing around issuing statements and giving interviews on Sterger’s behalf during the Great Brett Favre Cock Text investigation of 2010.




Total Packers

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Airforce
A Bronze Star Medal with Valor hangs from the pocket of a U.S. Air Force JTAC assigned to the Special Operations Task Force – North, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Wilt.

I wrote a post about losing a friend of mine (“Coot”) a few years ago.  I have never identified him by name because of what he did (well) and the safety of the family that goes on without him.

Here’s a story that no one really picks up because, well, you can’t really talk about the soldiers involved - or, in this case, an SF Warrant Officer and his JTAC.  I chose to show the photo of the un-named JTAC Broze Star [Valor] on purpose.  Too often, our Zoomie brothers don’t get the recognition they deserve…

Advising, training and assisting Iraqi Security Forces is one of the key missions for U.S. Forces in Iraq during Operation New Dawn.  The Iraqis are in the lead for security operations, and U.S. forces facilitate their requests for help since the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces are continually developing. One request emerged shortly after the transition to Operation New Dawn.

On Sept. 12, an Army Special Forces Warrant Officer and an Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller from Special Operations Task Force – North, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula, became decisively engaged in one of the largest operations since the beginning of Operation New Dawn.

On Oct. 23, the two men were awarded Bronze Star Medals for valorous actions while advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces in the village of Hadid in Diyala province.

The two servicemen, along with other members of a Special Forces detachment, and members of the Iraqi 5th Emergency Response Battalion, responded to a request for assistance in the small village northwest of Baqubah, Iraq.

“We knew there was shooting going on, but we weren’t expecting to get too much out of it,” the Air Force JTAC said.

Once the combined U.S. Special Forces and Iraqi Emergency Response Battalion force arrived in the village, they coordinated with the Iraqi commander in charge of the operation as well as the senior U.S. commander on the ground.  The two commanders discussed a plan of attack.  In response to the Iraqi commander’s request, the U.S. commander requested the JTAC to call for an airstrike to eliminate one of the enemy’s key positions.

Two bombs were dropped by F-16s overhead, which neutralized a building enemy fighters were using for cover.

The JTAC said he was in the mindset that the team “could be in for a firefight, but didn’t expect to be dropping any bombs” due to the current role of U.S. Forces in Operation New Dawn.

Once the building was neutralized, the 5th Iraqi Emergency Response Battalion and their U.S. counterparts were tasked to clear a nearby palm grove.  It was during the clearing operation when the simple task of advising and assisting became not so simple.

After several assaults on the grove by the Iraqi Security Forces, the 5th Emergency Response Battalion, an Iraqi counterterrorism unit, moved into the palm grove with the Special Forces detachment observing a short distance behind them.  As the combined force approached suspected enemy positions, they were engaged by small-arm and machine gun fire.

JTAC and Special Forces chief warrant officer receive Bronze Stars  
Two Bronze Stars with Valor stand out among the awards presented
by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo during an awards ceremony at Forward
Operating Base Warhorse, in Baqubah, Iraq. Photo by Petty Officer
2nd Class Emmanuel Rios.

During the ensuing firefight, an Iraqi soldier was wounded.   Disregarding his own safety, a U.S. Special Forces medical sergeant from the detachment went to the Iraqi soldier’s aid.

The detachment’s chief warrant officer followed the medic to provide cover and was struck in the chin by a piece of shrapnel from a ricocheted bullet. The chief warrant officer said when he ran to accompany the Special Forces medical sergeant, he was struck by a bullet fragment.

“I just saw blood on my uniform and weapon,” he added.  “I wasn’t worried about it at the time.  I was worried about [the Special Forces medical sergeant] and getting the Iraqis to mitigate the threat.”

The chief warrant officer said he tried to organize the Iraqi forces to regain the initiative.  He advised the Emergency Response Battalion to bring gun trucks into the grove to help regain momentum.

At the direction of the U.S. commander, the JTAC coordinated with the detachment leadership to use the supporting AH-64 Apache helicopters to conduct strafing runs on suspected insurgent positions within the palm grove as the combined force moved to a new position.

After reorganizing, the force began a second advance on the enemy’s position.

During the renewed assault, several members of the detachment became pinned down as the Emergency Response Battalion forces moved through the grove ahead of them.  The JTAC said as the team moved forward, they were faced with sniper and machine gun fire.

Despite the gunfire, the JTAC said they continued moving forward using a trench system for cover.  As the team advanced, he continually attempted to employ the available air support to locate the enemy position. During the firefight, the JTAC was shot in the helmet, and the bullet remained lodged in it.

“I believe it was a direct hit,” he added.  “It rocked me pretty good.”

Once cleared by the medical sergeant, he continued directing the aircraft overhead. The team continued advancing until darkness fell on the grove

At the Oct. 23 ceremony at Forward Operating Base Warhorse, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, the U.S. Division-North and 3rd Infantry Division commander, presented the two men their Bronze Star Medals with Valor.  Cucolo also presented 30 other U.S. Division-North Soldiers with awards for their involvement during the Hadid incident.

“I stand in awe of everyone in this formation,” Cucolo said as he thanked them for their deeds.

Both the Special Forces chief warrant officer and the JTAC were modest about their actions.

“I don’t really care about the awards,” the chief warrant officer said.  “I care about my guys … and I care about improving the 5th Emergency Response Battalion.”

The JTAC said he doesn’t know why he received the award.

“I was just doing my job,” he said, “doing what I was trained to do.”



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While on a visit to see and hear what is operationally & strategically important in Regional Command South General David Petraeus made time to present the Silver Star to Special Forces Soldier Sergeant First Class Chad E. Lawson of Cincinnati, Ohio at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. It’s not often we get a video of the awards presentation, especially to a SF Soldier:

  

 

Here is the story:

A member of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., was awarded the nation’s third highest medal for valor by Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, International Security Assistance Force and commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, during a ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 14.

Sgt. 1st Class Chad E. Lawson, a communications sergeant with Operational Detachment Alpha 3116 and deployed as part of Special Operations Task Force – South, was awarded the Silver Star for his heroics during combat operations Aug. 4, 2010, in southern Afghanistan.

“What you did, frankly, was extraordinarily heroic,” Petraeus said before pinning the medal on Lawson’s chest. “You’re team sergeant was down, others were down, and your instincts were to go and run through 500 meters of heavy machine-gun fire to the scene and rescue downed comrades.”

On that day, he and members of his team were caught in an ambush with approximately 45 insurgents attacking his unit. Lawson ran through a hail of enemy fire in order to rescue his downed team sergeant and organize forces for a medical evacuation.

“During his sprint, Sergeant Lawson was barely missed by [rocket-propelled grenade] and [heavy machine-gun] fire, with rounds chipping off the walls and ground all around him,” the narrative accompanying his award reads.

Lawson, a native of Cincinnati, called in a medical evacuation, and, “while still receiving heavy, direct and accurate deadly fire, for a second time he exposed himself” when he grabbed a fellow team member as well as Afghan Commandos on the mission, and led them in defense of a landing zone for the MEDEVAC helicopter.

Like his actions on that day, Lawson said his medal presentation was about his team.

“The nice thing about military honors is that rarely, if ever, is it solely your award,” Lawson said after receiving the Silver Star from Petraeus. “So I refuse to accept it on behalf of myself, but more for my team. Nothing anyone did out there was by themselves, on any operation, in particular that one. So for me to be recognized, by myself, is an honor for our team, our battalion and our group.”

Petraeus said Lawson exemplified what he called the “new greatest generation.”

“You did instinctively the right thing, which is the heroic thing,” Petraeus told Lawson. “It is really extraordinary to read in black and white what you did, and then to think about what that represented on that particular day, one in which you put it all on the line for your fellow members of the brotherhood of the close fight, and again, did something truly heroic.”



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I live in Pennsylvania, so this article - Corbett’s proposed higher-education cuts have college students, parents bracing for worst - caught my eye.  I’ve got two kids in college, and a third threatening to go back.  I got a couple three horses in this race.

According to the article, here’s the heart of what Gov. Corbett has proposed:

Last week, Corbett proposed a $ 27.3 billion state budget that slashes spending on higher education by $ 675 million.

That includes cutting state aid to the 18 public universities by more than 50 percent, including Shippensburg, Millersville, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln universities.

And it includes reducing funding to state grants for college students to $ 381 million, a $ 7 million reduction.

The article devotes the rest of the text - before and after the brief specifics - to an interesting discussion, with only a part devoted to whining about how hard it will be on everyone to pay their own way in life, such as:

“It’s not just like we’re only worrying about where that tuition money is coming from. It’s how are we going to pay for all the things that are increasing at this time,” said Terry Snyder of Lower Allen Twp., who has a daughter attending Shippensburg University.

Poor baby.  We’re all in the boat, deary.  Suck it up.  But ah, I’m not alone!  Check this out:

“Come on, if you are going to gripe about a $ 300 increase in tuition, shut up, suck it up and share a room and a bathroom,” she said. “We don’t need to give our kids all this extra.”

Nice.  It is to laugh.

Let’s add some facts.  Penn State has over a $ 3 billion annual budget.  The Commonwealth used to give it 8%, and now proposes 4%.  They’re whining.  And in typical liberal fashion, jump straight to claiming that it will require higher tuition.  Corbett was appalled:

“I can’t tell you how stunned I am by the reaction, particularly from State College, that the first thing they said was this is a tuition increase,” said Corbett in an interview Friday with Pittsburgh-based KDKA radio. “That was stunning that they would scare the children and their parents.”

Hear, hear!  And then he makes another great point:

Corbett defended his higher education cuts, saying it’s time the state moves to a different system for funding higher education by directing money to students rather than institutions. He said he’s upset that the money given to public universities in the past has not prevented tuition from rising.

Yeah, help me understand how you get money and tuition goes up, then you don’t get money and tuition goes up.  Why don’t you look at your own overhead?  I did a quick search to learn that one outpost PSU campus pays their faculty on average almost $ 93,000 a year, a 7.4% increase from 2009 to 2010.  That ranks them at #140 highest average of all public and private institutions of higher ed (including law schooled!) in the fricking country.

Freeze tuition. Control your overhead.  Run like a business.  Or close.

Corbett wants to get the money directly to students to select their school.  I like it.  Cut away …

Post script - if you want more info on the PA budget, go here.

Liberty Pundits Blog

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Screen shot 2011-03-08 at 6.49.32 PM

A reader writes:

I think you, Joyner and Avent miss the big picture regarding Vilsack's reply to Klein: Iowa's role in the 2012 presidential election. The new governor of Iowa is Terry Branstad, a former four-term Republican governor of the state.  Iowa is also ground zero for many culture-war issues the Republicans will be detonating in the next election.  Having a former moderate, two-term, Democratic governor remind Iowans that Obama's administration is small-town friendly is smart politics, and an attempt to marginalize the right-wing nuts.  If the Republicans lead with or nominate incendiary politicians, that won't play well in the Midwest.

Klein thinks politics leans rural:

The Senate is overwhelmingly biased toward rural America, and the House is biased as well (by population, Wyoming should have 1/68th as much representation as California, not 1/53rd). That has important affects for public policy, but rather than discuss that openly, we tend to talk wrap the residents of rural America in many layers of rhetorical gauze and justify policy towards them in terms of values. But as someone who chose to move to a city rather than to a rural area, I don’t think rural America’s values are better or superior to urban America’s. Cities breed a tolerance and openness that’s of great importance to our increasingly polyglot nation, just as rural areas inculcate an ethic of service and patriotism that’s deeply valuable in a perennially fractious nation.

(2008 Iowa election results chart: NYT)





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Written by Rezwan

Domestic Violence is very much prevalent in India and husband beating wive is one of the common phenomena. Shilpadesh questions how can the other family members ignore such abuse?

Global Voices in English

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Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, called an Ezra Klein post praising cities "a slam on rural America." Vilsack and Klein talked it out. Joyner scores the debate:

Essentially, Vilsack justifies subsiding farmers on the basis that rural America is the storehouse of our values, for which he has no evidence. And he’s befuddled when confronted with someone who doesn’t take his homilies as obvious facts.

Avent glances at the bigger picture:

[T]he idea that economically virtuous actors deserve to be rewarded not simply with economic success but with subsidies is remarkably common in America (and elsewhere) and is not by any means a characteristic limited to rural people. I also find it strange how upset Mr Vilsack is by the fact that he "ha[s] a hard time finding journalists who will speak for them". Agricultural interests are represented by some of the most effective lobbyists in the country, but their feelings are hurt by the fact that journalists aren't saying how great they are? This reminds me of the argument that business leaders aren't investing because they're put off by the president's populist rhetoric. When did people become so sensitive? When did hurt feelings become a sufficient justification for untold government subsidies?





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

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Gas prices have gone up 34 cents per gallon in just the past 13 days, as barrels of oil trade at highs not seen in over two years. This poses a serious threat to the economic recovery — experts say prolonged high gas prices could reduce economic growth and counteract recent stimulative measures undertaken by the government.

The proximate cause for this spike is unrest in the Middle East. On January 28, in the midst of unrest in Egypt, oil prices closed $ 4 to $ 5 higher than normal, but stabilized when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned in February. The current turmoil in Libya seems to have created even more chaos in the oil markets. But one question remains unanswered — to what extent are commodity traders influencing these high gas prices? As Chris Hayes notes in The Nation, the last time gas prices spiked, in the summer of 2008, many experts concluded that Wall Street speculators, not supply and demand, created the high prices.

Last night, The Ed Show did a segment in conjunction with The Nation clearly explaining the relationship between commodity trading and gas prices, with a focus on how commodity trading could be regulated to prevent unnatural rises in fuel prices. Watch it:

As the segment notes, during the last spike in gas prices in 2008, then-candidates Obama and McCain both assailed commodity speculators and called for increased regulation. The Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law gave the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the power to curb “excessive speculation” by limiting the bets speculators can make, and called on the commission to do so.

Unfortunately, opposition from the commission’s Republicans — and one Democrat, Michael Dunn — has so far prevented the CFTC from acting to regulate dangerous speculation on gasoline and other commodities. But Dunn’s term is ending this summer. The White House told the Ed Show it is “vetting” replacements — but would not say if they’re looking for a nominee that favors rules to curb excessive speculation.

Will the White House choose a candidate that wants to follow the law of Dodd-Frank, and insulate gas prices from predatory Wall Street speculators? It would certainly be a much more effective way of controlling gas prices than listening to conservative cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill.”

ThinkProgress

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Gas prices have gone up 34 cents per gallon in just the past 13 days, as barrels of oil trade at highs not seen in over two years. This poses a serious threat to the economic recovery — experts say prolonged high gas prices could reduce economic growth and counteract recent stimulative measures undertaken by the government.

The proximate cause for this spike is unrest in the Middle East. On January 28, in the midst of unrest in Egypt, oil prices closed $ 4 to $ 5 higher than normal, but stabilized when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned in February. The current turmoil in Libya seems to have created even more chaos in the oil markets. But one question remains unanswered — to what extent are commodity traders influencing these high gas prices? As Chris Hayes notes in The Nation, the last time gas prices spiked, in the summer of 2008, many experts concluded that Wall Street speculators, not supply and demand, created the high prices.

Last night, The Ed Show did a segment in conjunction with The Nation clearly explaining the relationship between commodity trading and gas prices, with a focus on how commodity trading could be regulated to prevent unnatural rises in fuel prices. Watch it:

As the segment notes, during the last spike in gas prices in 2008, then-candidates Obama and McCain both assailed commodity speculators and called for increased regulation. The Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law gave the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the power to curb “excessive speculation” by limiting the bets speculators can make, and called on the commission to do so.

Unfortunately, opposition from the commission’s Republicans — and one Democrat, Michael Dunn — has so far prevented the CFTC from acting to regulate dangerous speculation on gasoline and other commodities. But Dunn’s term is ending this summer. The White House told the Ed Show it is “vetting” replacements — but would not say if they’re looking for a nominee that favors rules to curb excessive speculation.

Will the White House choose a candidate that wants to follow the law of Dodd-Frank, and insulate gas prices from predatory Wall Street speculators? It would certainly be a much more effective way of controlling gas prices than listening to conservative cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill.”

ThinkProgress

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Gas prices have gone up 34 cents per gallon in just the past 13 days, as barrels of oil trade at highs not seen in over two years. This poses a serious threat to the economic recovery — experts say prolonged high gas prices could reduce economic growth and counteract recent stimulative measures undertaken by the government.

The proximate cause for this spike is unrest in the Middle East. On January 28, in the midst of unrest in Egypt, oil prices closed $ 4 to $ 5 higher than normal, but stabilized when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned in February. The current turmoil in Libya seems to have created even more chaos in the oil markets. But one question remains unanswered — to what extent are commodity traders influencing these high gas prices? As Chris Hayes notes in The Nation, the last time gas prices spiked, in the summer of 2008, many experts concluded that Wall Street speculators, not supply and demand, created the high prices.

Last night, The Ed Show did a segment in conjunction with The Nation clearly explaining the relationship between commodity trading and gas prices, with a focus on how commodity trading could be regulated to prevent unnatural rises in fuel prices. Watch it:

As the segment notes, during the last spike in gas prices in 2008, then-candidates Obama and McCain both assailed commodity speculators and called for increased regulation. The Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law gave the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the power to curb “excessive speculation” by limiting the bets speculators can make, and called on the commission to do so.

Unfortunately, opposition from the commission’s Republicans — and one Democrat, Michael Dunn — has so far prevented the CFTC from acting to regulate dangerous speculation on gasoline and other commodities. But Dunn’s term is ending this summer. The White House told the Ed Show it is “vetting” replacements — but would not say if they’re looking for a nominee that favors rules to curb excessive speculation.

Will the White House choose a candidate that wants to follow the law of Dodd-Frank, and insulate gas prices from predatory Wall Street speculators? It would certainly be a much more effective way of controlling gas prices than listening to conservative cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill.”

ThinkProgress

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I’m sitting in my campaign office working on a policy statement (I’m running for U.S. Senate in Virginia as a Republican Tea Party candidate) when the following headline from the Washington Times comes across my computer, “Government posts biggest monthly deficit ever.” Now, that is something to be proud of- if you are President Obama or a member of Congress and believe the more you borrow the better.

The Congressional Budget Office just released preliminary numbers Monday that show a $ 223 billion federal deficit for February alone – an especially amazing accomplishment in just 28 short days, even for the United States Congress. In fact, it is the largest single monthly deficit in the history of our country! Compare this February deficit of $ 223 billion to the entire 2007 fiscal year deficit of $ 163 billion. Does this look like insanity now?

Now, what is even more frustrating is that during the month of February we had House Republican Leaders who had promised us $ 100 billion in cuts, but could muster only $ 61 billion in cuts. And even worse, we had the Democrats who made the bold proposal (sarcasm implied) of a staggering $ 6 billion in cuts, and then had the audacity to call that meeting the Republicans half-way.

The Washington political establishment has such a distorted view of reality that they are sending out emails praising their two-week CR extension that included a meager $ 4 billion in cuts. Something is seriously wrong when we have a one-month record deficit of $ 223 billion and a budget of over $ 3,552,000,000,000.00 (that is a lot of zeros) and Congress can’t even find $ 100 billion to cut. And, no, I don’t care that the fiscal year is already half over.

Deficits have consequences. There is no doubt that President Obama’s and Congress’ spending policies will destroy our economy if we do not take drastic measures to rein in our spending. A $ 223 billion deficit in February alone means we are borrowing more money from China and other foreign countries. In addition to the deficit spending, add the fact that every minute the U.S. sends $ 641,172 to foreign countries for oil because we refuse to pursue energy policies that would move us towards energy independence. Do we really want to be beholden to China, Russia, Venezuela and the Middle East? Because that is exactly what our leaders are doing to us!

We need a serious reality check in Washington. We need to stop this silly nonsense of proposing a few billion in cuts and think we are accomplishing something.

Either we choose as a nation to make the painful (and yes they will be painful) choices now to cut spending or the sacrifice later will be more serious than any of us want or can even imagine. Raising the debt ceiling will only perpetuate this insane behavior. We should hold the line on raising the debt ceiling, cut spending from all areas of the budget, and take entitlements off autopilot.

A $ 223 billion deficit in just the 28 days of February is sheer insanity. No more posturing. We need our leaders to show the courage to achieve meaningful results before it is too late.


Big Government

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As we noted last week, Internet service has been shut down in Libya,  but the implementation is quite different from the Internet blackout put in place by Hosni Mubarak’s regime last month. Rather than cutting off traffic at the router level, the Libyan authorities are diverting traffic going through the country’s Internet. James Cowie of Renesys discusses why this strategy is actually far more sophisticated

[T]he Libyan Internet is actually still alive, even
though almost all traffic is blocked from traversing it. The BGP routes
to Libya are still intact, which means that the Libyan ISP’s border
routers are powered on and the fiberoptics are lit. In fact, we’ve
identified a handful of isolated live IP addresses inside Libya,
responding to ping and traceroute, and presumably passing traffic just
fine. Someone in Libya is still watching YouTube, even though the rest
of the country is dark.

Why did Libya put its Internet in ‘warm standby mode’ instead of
just taking it down, as Egypt did? Perhaps because they’re learning
from Mubarak’s experience. Cutting off the Internet at the routing
level (powering down the Internet exchange point, going after the
remaining providers with secret police to enact a low-level shutdown)
was a technically unsophisticated desperation move on Egypt’s part. It
signalled to the world that the Egyptian government considered itself
out of options, ready to cut off internal communications and external
dialogue, looking for a last chance to turn off all the cameras and
clean out the Square.[...]

Throttling the Internet to the point of uselessness, instead of
killing it outright, also delayed International recognition of the fact
that the Internet was down during the most critical period. Most
international media didn’t clue into the fact that the Libyan Internet
had gone silent until after the sun had gone down in Tripoli on Friday.
By taking a softer route to shutdown, the government deprived the
opposition of much of the international "flash crowd" of attention and
outrage that an unambiguous "kill switch" tactic might have garnered.

In a 2009 piece — "The Autocrats’ Learning Curve" - Jeffrey Wasserstrom discussed how the Chinese Communist Party had adapted and ultimately benefited from observing the Eastern European anticommunist revolutions. During the current wave of revolutions, social networking technologies have, as promised, boosted the speed and global reach of antiauthoritarian activists. But as we’re increasingly seeing, the autocrats are adapting faster as well. 

FP Passport

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