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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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JUNE 27,  2011

WHOOPS – AT 7:52 P.M. ET:  Republicans must finally learn that they must operate to a higher, more precise standard, to help overcome the media bias thrown their way.   President Obama can commit one gaffe after another – such as saying that the U.S. has 57 states, or getting the name of a Medal of Honor recipient wrong – and the media gives him a pass.  Not so for Republicans. 

Michele Bachmann launched her campaign for president in her home town of Waterloo, Iowa, today, and the launch went well...until the "oh no" moment.  From the Los Angeles Times:

And then it happened. A microphone was placed in front of her, and a statement that should have been ingrained in her head came out all wrong. She said that like the famous rugged cowboy star, John Wayne, she too was from Waterloo which was why she was picking the small town to announce her candidacy.

"Well what I want them to know is just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too," Bachmann told a Fox News reporter.

One small detail: John Wayne Gacy, the infamous mass murderer is from Waterloo. The Duke, although his parents met in Waterloo, is from Iowa, but from Winterset, nearly three hours away by car.

Gacy had his first run-in with the long arm of the law in Waterloo. The man who killed dozens of young men and boys over a six-year murder period was locked up in Waterloo for a year and a half for an attempted sexual assault.

Oh, oh, oh.  This is the kind of mistake that Bachmann can't afford to make.  She has a history of gaffes, but probably no more than Obama.  But she will be treated differently, and must realize the need for getting every "i" dotted.  What she should probably do now is simply say that she misspoke, that John Wayne, the actor, had a Waterloo affiliation.  It will pass.

Michele is now in the major leagues.  When you're batting against the Yankees or the Red Sox, you don't take your eye off the ball.

June 27, 2011       Permalink

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BLAGO TO WEAR PRISON FASHIONS – AT 7:15 P.M. ET:  From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty Monday of 17 out of 20 federal corruption charges — including all charges tied to allegations that the Chicago Democrat tried to trade an appointment to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

“Patti and I are obviously very disappointed in the outcome,” Blagojevich, standing with his wife, Patti Blagojevich, told reporters after the verdict was announced. “I, frankly, am stunned.”

The former governor blew kisses to supporters as he got in an SUV to leave, to the sound of some boos directed his way by spectators who gathered outside the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in downtown Chicago.

COMMENT:  All right, let's get beyond the obvious, that Blago is going to jail, like some other Illinois governors.   The key question involves his attempt to, in effect, sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when Obama was elected president. 

So the questions:  What did President Obama know, and when did he know it?  What did the president's aides, including now Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago know, and when did they know it?  What did Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Chicago, apparently the subject of some cash-for-appointment talks know, and when did he know it? 

The stonewalling has just begun.  But we have a right to know whether major public officials, including the president of the United State, were involved in these schemes, which would clearly be illegal.

Will the mainstream media start probing?  Or will it spend it time going through the high-school records of Republican presidential candidates?  Guess.

June 27, 2011       Permalink

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AL GORE FAINTS AT THE NEWS – AT 11:35 A.M. ET:  Now, the script says that global warming, or climate change, or whatever it is, will result in dramatic increases in severe weather.  Uh, just a second:

During the past 6-years since Hurricane Katrina, global tropical cyclone frequency and energy have decreased dramatically, and are currently at near-historical record lows. According to a new peer-reviewed research paper accepted to be published, only 69 tropical storms were observed globally during 2010, the fewest in almost 40-years of reliable records.

BUSH is doing this!

Furthermore, when each storm's intensity and duration were taken into account, the total global tropical cyclone accumulated energy (ACE) was found to have fallen by half to the lowest level since 1977.

And CHENEY has his hand in it, too, suppressing the weather to hide the effects of global warming.

In his new paper, "Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity", Dr. Ryan Maue, a meteorologist from Florida State University, examined the last 40-years of global hurricane records and found strikingly large variability in both tropical cyclone frequency and energy from year-to-year. Since 2007, global tropical cyclone activity has decreased dramatically and has continued at near-historical low levels. Indeed, only 64 tropical cyclones were observed globally in the 12-months from June 2010 - May 2011, nearly 23-storms below average obliterating the previous record low set in 1977.

COMMENT:  What will Gore say?  At which of his energy-guzzling mansions will he say it?  I think this is propaganda from Texaco, don't you think?  We all know that the world will end in ten years because of climate changed caused by too many Toyotas.  This report is an attempt to throw us off.

June 27, 2011       Permalink

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THE STRONG HORSE ALWAYS WINS – AT 9:53 A.M. ET:   There's a saying in the Mideast – it was quoted by Osama bin Laden – that people will always follow the strong horse.  It's accurate.  That's what people do.

So it's not surprising that leaders in the region, and beyond, even "allies" of the United States, are succking up to Iran now that we're starting to pull out.  They're aware that even in our leaderless, rudderless, Republican Party, there are signs of a new isolationism.  From Fox:

Washington – Iran is moving to cement ties with the leaders of three key American allies -- Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq -- highlighting Tehran's efforts to take a greater role in the region as the U.S. military pulls out troops, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Afghan and Pakistani presidents, visiting Tehran, discussed with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "many issues … that might come up after the NATO military force goes out of Afghanistan," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

"The three presidents were very forthcoming in carrying out the cooperation and contacts so as to make sure things will go as smoothly as it could," he said.

That comment was seen as a jab at Washington, which is increasingly in competition with Tehran for influence in the region, particularly as popular rebellions have surged across the Middle East and North Africa since January.

The overtures by U.S. nemesis Iran come amid tensions between Washington and three governments that have each received billions of dollars in U.S. aid.

COMMENT:  That reference is to Pakistan, Afhanistan, and Iraq.  The new isolationist crowd will tell us that, if only we had minded our own business and not sent in the troops, these countries would have no anti-Americanism.   Yeah, right.  We recall the pro-American policies of Saddam Hussein.  We revel in the warmth we received from the Taliban government of pre 9-11 Afghanistan.  And of course all Americans know of our longtime close "alliance" with the Islamic-influenced government of Pakistan, which hid and protected Osama bin Laden. 

If we move toward a "come home America" strategy, some Americans will cheer for a time, but our children will pay a terrible price.

June 27, 2011       Permalink

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SNIPPET – AT 9:40 A.M. ET: 

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Los Angeles Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt cites Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig's interference with club operations and refusal to approve a Dodgers TV deal with Fox Sports as the cause for Monday's bankruptcy filing.  In a news release, the team says Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will provide the Dodgers with a process to address its immediate financing requirements and obtain the capital necessary to ensure the baseball franchise's long-term financial stability.

For those of us born-in-Brooklyn types who never forgave the Dodgers for leaving us 54 years ago, or, as we call it, "yesterday," the news is bittersweet.  You know, fellas, there's plenty of room in Brooklyn for a new stadium.  Comfortable seats, bright lights, and adoring fans.  I mean, who wants to have a crowd filled with Hollywood agents?  How about it?  I'll buy the first ticket.

 

FIND HIM ON THE POST OFFICE WALL – AT 9:05 A.M. ET:  The exalted leader of Libya is in more legal trouble this morning.  Calling Perry Mason.  From Fox:

DEVELOPING: The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants Monday for Muammar Qaddafi, his son Seif, and his intelligence chief for crimes against humanity in the Libyan leader's four-month battle to cling to power.

Gee, didn't these legal wizards notice anything about the Qaddafi bunch before this war began?

Judges announced that the three men are wanted for orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians during the first 12 days of an uprising to topple Qaddafi from power, and for trying to cover up the alleged crimes.

The warrants turn Qaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam Qaddafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi into internationally wanted suspects, potentially complicating efforts to mediate an end to more than four months of intense fighting in the North African nation.

But...

Libyan officials rejected the court's authority even before the decision was read in a Hague courtroom, claiming the court had unfairly targeted Africans while ignoring what they called crimes committed by NATO in Afghanistan, Iraq "and in Libya now."

"The ICC has no legitimacy whatsoever. We will deal with it. ... All of its activities are directed at African leaders," government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told reporters Sunday.

COMMENT:  The bottom line here is this:  The ICC doesn't really have any power.  Qaddafi will go only if he's dislodged by NATO, and NATO thus far hasn't been able to do the job, absent American leadership.  Obama has botched the entire issue by refusing to get Congressional approval for his early military action in Libya, and by refusing to lead, or even explain this action to the American people in a formal, Oval Office speech.  So right now we're nowhere, which is where the age of Obama has taken us.

June 27, 2011       Permalink

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BACHMANN ANNOUNCES – Michele Bachmann formally announces her candidacy for president in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa, this morning.

Waterloo, by the way, is famous as the home of the Sullivan boys, the five brothers killed aboard the light cruiser USS Juneau in the South Pacific in World War II. 

We will be watching Bachmann.  Love her or loathe her – and there are plenty on both sides – she's the most fascinating candidate to emerge thus far, very much the Sarah Palin of this campaign.  As much as I like Sarah, I must concede that Michele comes to the party better prepared.  She does her homework. 

Let us also concede that one reason for all the attention she receives is her good looks, which clearly is also the case with Sarah.  I don't know why journalists are so frightened to say that.  Maybe it's the politically correct rigidity of modern journalism.  Looks count, whether they belong to a man or woman.  I recall the Kennedy campaign of 1960, when Kennedy's presumed appeal to women was discussed quite openly, and frequently.  (In fact, the women's vote went for Nixon.  Kennedy is reported to have sighed, when watching teenaged girls jump with joy when he passed, "I wish they were old enough to vote.") 

From Bloomberg:

Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman whose attacks on President Barack Obama and his policies made her a favorite of Tea Party activists, pivots from talk to action today as she formally enters the 2012 Republican presidential contest in a state critical to her bid.

Bachmann will begin her campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, the city where she was born and the state where a strong finish in its caucuses would solidify her place as a major challenger to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in polls in the Republican race.

“My focus will be on turning the economy around and job creation,” Bachmann said yesterday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” Obama, she said, “doesn’t seem to have an understanding of how to do the job.”

The political fire will now start coming at Bachmann.  You may be sure that opposition researchers are hard at work, delving into her past.  I have no doubt that the same people who worked to destroy Sarah Palin are at it again.  Bachmann represents the same kind of threat to their world – she's a pro-life female conservative.

She has much to overcome.  There's a history of gaffes and seemingly over-the-top statements.  Her record, although deeper than Obama's when he ran, is not extensive.  She did well in the New Hampshire debate several weeks ago, but not that well on "Face the Nation" yesterday, in part because of a maddening tendency to evade questions.  She will have to deal directly with verbal challenges.

But she excites people and motivates them, and therefore she's important to this race.  And now I wonder whether Sarah will jump in as well.

June 27, 2011     Permalink

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JUNE 26,  2011

LIBYAN POSITION TOUGHENS – AT 11:01 P.M. ET:  Perhaps in reaction to Barack Obama's weakness and NATO's inability to wage effective military action without American leadership, the Libyan regime today toughened its terms.  From Reuters:

TRIPOLI - Muammar Gaddafi is the historical choice of the Libyan people and cannot be moved aside, his government said on Sunday, stepping back from earlier statements offering an election on his future role.

"Muammar Gaddafi is Libya's historical symbol, and he is above all political actions, above all political and tactical games," government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said in a statement issued late on Sunday.

"In this current stage and in the future, Gaddafi is the historical choice which we cannot drop."

"As for the current and future Libya, it is up to the people and the leadership to decide it, and it is not up to the armed groups, nor up to NATO to decide it," the statement said.

Gaddafi, who has run his oil-producing country since coming to power in a military coup in 1969, is under pressure to relinquish power from rebels who rose up against his rule and from a NATO bombing campaign.

But cracks are emerging within the Western alliance too, with some NATO member states anxious about civilian casualties, the cost of the campaign and the fact Gaddafi has not been dislodged after more than three months of air strikes.

Libya's rebel leadership in its eastern stronghold of Benghazi has said it is in indirect contact with Gaddafi's government, raising the possibility of a political settlement to the conflict, which has killed thousands of people.

But the government spokesman said in the statement that talk of a deal was premature.

COMMENT:  Unbelievable, just unbelievable.  Obama initially said that Gaddafi had to go.  It's three months later.  He's still there.  The world watch as Obama delivers a "pullout" speech on Afghanistan, saying America must come home to rebuild our own country.  No wonder the Libyan regime is getting tougher.  They're up against a marshmallow, who decides military policy based on polls.

What a pathetic situation.  Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like a lion.  And the Republicans have not been much help.  There is an utter failure of leadership on foreign policy within the Republican Party, and the mush makers, the party's presidential candidates, haven't stepped in to provide that leadership.  The nerve of some of these people to invoke the name of Ronald Reagan.  Reagan wasn't perfect, and he made his share of mistakes, but he had a clear view of America's role in the world, and he pursued it through to the successful end of the Cold War. 

Margaret Thatcher warned us against "going wobbly."  Wobbly?  We're tripping and rolling down the street, politically drunk and directionless.

June 26, 2011      Permalink

 

GERGEN DISSES OBAMA – AT 11:44 A.M. ET:  The best analysis I've read of Obama's cynical and McGovernish speech on Afghanistan was done by David Gergen, now of CNN.   Gergen, who has worked for both Democratic and Republican administrations, was clearly repelled by the Obama speech, and let us know it:

There was something deeply unsettling about President Obama's speech on Afghanistan and much of the commentary that surrounded it -- or at least there was to me, as someone who clings to some old-fashioned traditions about U.S. foreign policy.

And...

As someone who has seen a lot of military decisions made in the White House, I am accustomed to presidents paying great heed to the views of their commanders on the ground.

In this case, Petraeus was not just the commander on the ground -- he is one of the very best American generals in modern history, a man who has turned around the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. One might think that given his extraordinary success and the great respect in which he is held on Capitol Hill and around the country, Obama would give Petraeus the benefit of the doubt and go with his preferred option.

But that is exactly what the president decided not to do. Instead of a 3,000-5,000 troop withdrawal this year, as Petraeus is understood to have recommended, Obama went for 10,000. And instead of protecting two full seasons of strong American troop presence in Afghanistan, Obama set forth a plan that almost certainly will compromise next season's fighting.

And...

Politics ever intrudes in policy-making. But in foreign policy, the tradition has usually been that a president's role is to figure out what is in the nation's security interest and do that. A strong president tries to rally public opinion behind him, not bend to the latest shift in the winds.

What we are starting to see now in politics is a stampede toward the exits in Afghanistan. The wars are bleeding us dry, it is said -- over $1 trillion over the past 10 years. Never mind that during those same years, a bloated government spent about $40 trillion in total. The public doesn't like Afghanistan anymore, it is said. Never mind that the public soured on Iraq, too, but President George W. Bush (despite his other faults) had the gumption to stick to his guns and order up a surge, and Iraq today is in much better shape than if we had retreated back when.

Bush was a leader.  Obama is not.  And it is obvious.

No doubt, Obama's speech will appeal to many, many Americans. He is right that we do have to engage in more nation-building here at home. But we dare not head for the exits too quickly.

I wish he had listened to Gen. Petraeus.

COMMENT:  Very well put.  But Obama is a politician first.  He is clearly not a man of deep conviction or strategic sense.  He governs from day to day.  Michael Barone compares him to the Peter Sellers character in "Being There."  He's just kind of...there.   What a way to run the United States.

June 26, 2011       Permalink 

 

NOT IN DUTCH ANYMORE – AT 11:07 A.M. ET:  The mainstream media simply refuses to deal with a phenomenon occurring in Europe – the abandonment of the "multiculturalist" experiment.  There is a limit to what even Europeans can take from the effete elites who have tried to sell them the multiculturalist bill of goods. 

Recently both the British prime minister and German chancellor have openly, and unequivocally, declared multiculturalism a failure.  Now the Netherlands are actually taking action to reverse the failed experiment.  From Thomas Lifson at American Thinker:

In a landmark turnabout, one of the cornerstones of contemporary liberalism is being rejected by one of the fountainheads of liberalism. The politically correct doctrine of multiculturalism is heading for decline, as Holland, one of the most socially liberal societies on earth, is reversing its former policy of multiculturalism. Soeren Kern, writing for Hudson New York, covers an important story that has gotten almost no notice from the American media, which wishes to pretend that multiculturalism works just fine:

A new integration bill (covering letter and 15-page action plan), which Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented to parliament on June 16, reads: "The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people. In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role. With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society."

The letter continues: "A more obligatory integration is justified because the government also demands that from its own citizens. It is necessary because otherwise the society gradually grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands. The integration will not be tailored to different groups."

The new integration policy will place more demands on immigrants. For example, immigrants will be required to learn the Dutch language, and the government will take a tougher approach to immigrants to ignore Dutch values or disobey Dutch law.

At least the Dutch have the guts to say it openly, and to take action.  Britain, another country overwhelmed with multiculturalist hooey, is not yet at the action stage, and the old leftists in the Labour Party and at the BBC will mightily resist. 

In America, we need to get a grip on the multiculturalism being shoved down our kids' throats in schools, and, especially, in colleges.  I'm more concerned about the elementary and high schools, where kids are too young to form independent judgments. 

Multiculturalists claim that they simply favor "understanding" of other cultures.  No, that's not what they favor.  They want acceptance of other cultures.  In their world view, all cultures have their own "validity."  And, after all, who are we to question?  All multiculturalists, from what I've observed, are on the political left, and their new pitch is simply a rewording of old leftist doctrine, placing the United States as no better, and probably worse, than the rest of the world. 

This must be soundly rejected.  I'm glad to see a liberal country like the Netherlands taking the lead.  But don't expect much following from California or Massachusetts, or, for that matter, from the Ivy League.

June 26, 2011       Permalink

 

IOWA STUNNER – AT 10:18 A.M. ET:  A new poll shows Michele Bachmann virtually tying Mitt Romney in Iowa, where the early, and important, Iowa caucuses will be held.

Now, it is true that Bachmann was born in Iowa and has made some recent appearances there.  The significance of the poll lies not only in her rise, but in Romney's weakness.  From Andrew Malcolm at the L.A. Times's Top of the Ticket blog:

She hasn't even officially announced her presidential campaign yet, but already Rep. Michele Bachmann is virtually tied with Mitt Romney in the 2012 Iowa caucus polling season.

In the first summer poll, published just minutes ago, the Minnesota congresswoman who was born in Iowa has 22% to Romney's 23% lead in the still developing field of Republican presidential prospects, according to the closely-watched Des Moines Register Iowa Poll.

Business executive and tea party favorite Herman Cain finished well behind with 10% in the poll. No other Republican attracted double-digit support.

The former governor from next door Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, lags at 6%.

Bachmann will appear on two of the Sunday morning talk shows. And then formally launch her run for the Republican nomination Monday in Iowa. After, she'll do the same in New Hampshire and South Carolina, three early states that have historically played major roles in deciding the nominees of both parties.

COMMENT:  I am aware, from information sent to Urgent Agenda by very knowledgeable readers, that Bachmann has a controversial past, and is disliked by many within her own party.  She has a history of being a loose cannon, and is hardly a team player.  The question is whether she can grow beyond some of the mistakes she's made.  So far, a chunk of the Republican electorate seems willing to give her a serious look.  We'll follow.

But do expect to see a press attempt to do to Bachmann what was done to Sarah Palin.  The difference is that Bachmann comes very well prepared, and is a skilled debater.  It should, at minimum, be fun.

UPDATE:  I just had a chance briefly to watch Michele Bachmann interviewed by Bob Schieffer on CBS's "Face the Nation."  Yes, Schieffer is a liberal, and some of his questions were petty, but most were fair.  I would rate Bachmann's performance as only average.  She was articulate, but maddeningly evasive, refusing to directly answer in a number of instances.  This is going to be a problem, as the liberal press dredges up old and sometimes questionable statements.  The same challenge is almost never thrown at Barack Obama.

June 26, 2011     Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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