on: May 23, 2013, 06:25:31 AM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by objectivist1
|Do You Feel Lucky? The Threat of EMP
Frank Gaffney - March 22, 2013 - www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org
In 1987, Ronald Reagan mused that, if the world were about to be devastated by an alien force – perhaps a collision with a large asteroid, peoples of all nations, ideological persuasions and political parties would come together to save the planet and our civilization. We may be about to test that proposition.
At the moment, no asteroid is known to be hurtling our way. But a naturally occurring phenomenon is, one that may be as fatal for modern industrial societies and for the quality of life they have made possible – thanks principally to electrification. The technical term for this threat is geomagnetically induced currents (GMIC) generated by the coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that laymen call solar eruptions or flaring.
Think of it as “space weather.” And there is a strong possibility that some of the heaviest such weather in hundreds of years is headed our way.
GMIC engenders intense bursts of electromagnetic energy. No fewer than five studies mandated by the executive or legislative branches have confirmed that such electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is lethal for the electronic devices, computers and transformers that power everything in our 21st Century society. Since these things are generally unprotected against EMP – whether naturally occurring or man-induced, they would almost certainly be damaged or destroyed. The U.S. electrical grid could, as a result, be down for many months, and probably years.
We know that this EMP-precipitated effect could also be achieved by the detonation of a nuclear weapon high over the United States. And actual or potential enemies of this country – notably Russia, China, North Korea and Iran – understand our acute vulnerability in this area, and have taken steps to exploit it.
“Catastrophic” is a term often used to describe the repercussions for our country of the cascading shut-down, first of the key elements of the grid, then inexorably, all of the electricity-dependent infrastructures that make possible life as we know it in this country. That would include those that enable: access to and distribution of food, water, fuel and heat; telecommunications; finance; transportation; sewage treatment and cooling of nuclear power plants.President Reagan’s Science Advisor, Dr. William Graham, who chaired a blue-ribbon congressional commission on the EMP threat, has calculated that within a year of the U.S. electrical grid being devastated by such a phenomenon, nine out of ten Americans would be dead.
Did that get your attention? Or, as Dirty Harry would say, do you feel lucky?
Unfortunately, we have no way to prevent such an event – any more than we could if we knew an asteroid were headed our way. Persisting in our present state of vulnerability is an invitation to disaster, if not at the hands of some foe, then as a result of the cycle of intense solar storms in which we now find ourselves.
The good news is that there are practical and affordable steps we can take to mitigate these threats, if only we have the will and the wit to adopt them before we are hit by heavy space weather or its man-caused counterpart.
The present danger and our options for defending against it will be the subject of an extraordinary conference in Washington this week: the Electric Infrastructure Security Summit. Many of the nation’s foremost authorities on EMP will participate, including: bipartisan champions of this issue in Congress; nuclear physicists and other experts; executive branch officials from the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Department of Homeland Security; and representatives from the quasi-governmental North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and from the utilities industry.
The single biggest challenge to date has been the lack of public awareness of the EMP peril. This is particularly ironic since a television program envisioning life in America after the lights go out, NBC’s “Revolution,” has been quite popular. But most viewers seem to think the precipitating event is the stuff of science fiction. An intensive effort is needed now to disabuse them of this comforting, but unfounded notion, and to enlist them in the corrective actions that are necessary on an urgent, bipartisan and nation-wide basis.
To that end, some discernible progress is being made. For example, on May 16th, at the instigation of Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, the FERC issued a final rule that, in the words of the trade publication Power Magazine, “orders the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to develop, by the end of the year, reliability standards that address the impact of geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) on the nation’s bulk power system.”
The Maine state legislature is poised to adopt legislation that would require the FERC to submit a plan by the end of June to insulate Maine’s grid from that of the rest of the Northeastern states and harden it against EMP. This measure could serve as model for similar state-level initiatives elsewhere and help catalyze counterpart legislation at the federal level along the lines of that introduced in the last session of Congress by Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), dubbed the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage (SHIELD) Act.
Important and necessary as these measures are, they are not sufficient to contend fully with the urgent threat our country is now facing. We are on a collision course for catastrophe of a magnitude, if not exactly of a kind, with that that could be inflicted by the kind of dangerous asteroid President Reagan envisioned decades ago. There is simply no time to waste in joining forces and implementing the steps needed to ensure we are not counting on luck to keep America’s lights on.
on: May 22, 2013, 11:04:09 PM
Started by DougMacG - Last post by DougMacG
The IRS targeting scandal is a blockbuster that is sweeping the nation. Imagine if the reaction to it now was the reaction to it then, if made public heading into the summer before the election, when Obama was ripping Romney's business background and Sandra Fluke was making her plea for free birth control - at a Catholic College.
The President's Chief of Staff knew and the President didn't.
A special prosecutor in the IRS matter is inevitable
By Ed Rogers, Published: May 22, 2013 at 10:56 amE-mail the writerhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/05/22/the-insiders-a-special-prosecutor-in-the-irs-matter-is-inevitable/
This administration’s management of the Obama Internal Revenue Service scandal so far consists of a slow-walking, rolling disclosure of facts; equal parts equivocation, amnesia and indignation from IRS witnesses; deer-in-the-headlights non-responses by the White House press secretary; parsed, lawyerly statements from the president himself; and now one of the central key players is taking the Fifth. And all this comes from what the president claimed would be the “most transparent administration ever…”
If we give the president the benefit of the doubt and assume he knows the truth is going to come out, the question remains: Does the administration appoint the special prosecutor sooner or later? The calculus inside the White House is how to best protect the president’s political interests. They have two options. They could delay the appointment and let more of the story develop, weather the ugly piecemeal disclosures, give the players time to get their stories straight and lawyer-up and hope Republicans continue their overreach, giving the whole affair a nutty partisan patina. Or, they could accelerate the appointment of a special prosecutor, thereby slowing the congressional inquiries and giving Jay Carney some relief from his daily embarrassing routine by supplying him with the escape hatch of not being allowed to comment on matters associated with the special prosecutor’s ongoing investigation. Not to mention, the White House all the while could blast the appointed counsel as a partisan ideologue à la the hatchet job that was done on Ken Starr.
Anyway, if the president is innocent, he will end up needing and wanting a special prosecutor sooner rather than later. If he and his White House already have too much to hide, then they must clam up, cry partisanship and hope their allies on the Hill and in the media have the stamina for the long, hard slog ahead.
- – - – -
My personal favorite of all the new revelations from the Obama IRS scandal is that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the impending IRS inspector general report, but of course the White House chief of staff did not tell the president.
I sat in a White House chief of staff’s office every day for more than two years. The only reason the legal counsel would tell the chief of staff about an impending report or disclosure would be so the chief of staff could tell the president. The legal counsel would assume the chief of staff would know how and when to bring up the matter. The chief of staff would be expected to know if there were additional factors surrounding the issue that needed to be considered before the president was told, or whether or not others needed to be included in the conversation when the information was shared with the president. There are many valid reasons why the chief of staff would tell the president, but I can’t think of a reason why he and the legal counsel would both agree that this news nugget would go no further. It’s very odd.
The legal counsel would never assume that information shared with the chief of staff would not go to the president. In my experience, a legal counsel never would believe that there was information that was appropriate for the chief of staff to know but that was inappropriate for the president to know. Out of all the news that has emerged regarding the Obama IRS scandal, this is the most curious whopper I’ve heard so far. I can’t wait to hear the real story.
on: May 22, 2013, 11:00:36 PM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
Blacks, Conservatives and Plantations
By CHARLES M. BLOW
Published: May 22, 2013 7 Comments
Why do Republicans keep endorsing the most extreme and hyperbolic African-American voices — those intent on comparing blacks who support the Democratic candidates to slaves? That idea, which only a black person could invoke without being castigated for the flagrant racial overtones, is a trope to which an increasingly homogeneous Republican Party seems to subscribe.
Charles M. Blow
The most recent example of this is E.W. Jackson, who last weekend became the Virginia Republicans’ candidate for lieutenant governor in the state.
In a video posted to YouTube in 2012 titled “Bishop E.W. Jackson Message to Black Christians,” Jackson says:
“It is time to end the slavish devotion to the Democrat party. They have insulted us, used us and manipulated us. They have saturated the black community with ridiculous lies: ‘Unless we support the Democrat party, we will be returned to slavery. We will be robbed of voting rights. The Martin Luther King holiday will be repealed.’ They think we’re stupid and these lies will hold us captive while they violate everything we believe as Christians.”
“Shame on us for allowing ourselves to be sold to the highest bidder. We belong to God. Our ancestors were sold against their will centuries ago, but we’re going to the slave market voluntarily today. Yes, it’s just that ugly.”
(Jackson also took swipes at the gay community and compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan.)
The Democrat Plantation theology goes something like this: Democrats use the government to addict and incapacitate blacks by giving them free things — welfare, food stamps and the like. This renders blacks dependent on and beholden to that government and the Democratic Party.
This is not completely dissimilar from Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments, although he never mentioned race:
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
Star Parker, a Scripps Howard syndicated columnist, failed Republican Congressional candidate and author of the book “Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can do About It,” argued in an article in 2009 on the conservative Web site Townhall:
“A benevolent Uncle Sam welcomed mostly poor black Americans onto the government plantation. Those who accepted the invitation switched mind-sets from ‘How do I take care of myself?’ to ‘What do I have to do to stay on the plantation?’"
Mackubin Thomas Owens, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R. I., put it more bluntly in an editorial on the Ashbrook University Web site in 2002:
“For the modern liberal Democratic racist as for the old-fashioned one, blacks are simply incapable of freedom. They will always need Ol’ Massa’s help. And woe be to any African-American who wanders off of the Democratic plantation.”
That last bit hints at the other part of Democrat Plantation theology: that black Democrats and white liberals are equal enforcers of enslavement.
A 2010 unsigned article published on the Web site of the conservative weekly Human Events reads:
“If black Americans wish to be Democrats, that is their choice — or is it? Despite the fact that Democrats enjoy the support of over 90% of black America, the other 10%, those who dare to ‘stray from the plantation,’ have been routinely vilified — by other black Americans.”
The article continued:
“The not-so-subtle message? Support liberal dogma — or face social ostracism.”
Dr. Ben Carson, who delivered a speech blasting the president during the National Prayer breakfast this year and quickly became a darling of the right (The Wall Street Journal declared: “Ben Carson for President”), said of white liberals in a radio interview:
“They are the most racist people there are. Because they put you in a little category, a little box. You have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”
(Carson also got in trouble for comparing homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. He later apologized for those comments, “if anybody was offended.”)
Unfortunately, the runaway slave image among many black Republican politicians is becoming ingrained and conservative audiences are applauding them for it.
Herman Cain, for example, built an entire presidential campaign on slave imagery.
C. Mason Weaver, a radio talk show host, failed Republican Congressional candidate from California and author of the book “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation,” said of President Obama at a 2009 Tea Party rally in Washington: “You thought he was saying was ‘hope and change’; he was saying was ‘ropes and chains,’ not ‘hope and change.’ ” Weaver continued: “Decide today if you’re going to be free or slaves. Decide today if you’re going to be a slave to your master or the master of your own destiny.” Weaver would repeat the “rope and chains” line on Fox and Friends that year.
The Rev. C.L. Bryant, a Tea Party member and occasional Fox News guest, even made a movie called “Runaway Slave,” in which he says that America should “run away from socialism, run from statism, run away from progressivism.”
While these politicians accuse the vast majority of African-Americans of being mindless drones of the Democrats, they are skating dangerously close to — if not beyond — the point where they become conservative caricatures.
The implication that most African-Americans can’t be discerning, that they can’t weigh the pros and cons of political parties and make informed decisions, that they are rendered servile in exchange for social services, is the highest level of insult. And black politicians are the ones Republicans are cheering on as they deliver it.
Now who, exactly, is being used here?
on: May 22, 2013, 10:48:02 PM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
Eli Lake: "While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover. That purposeful ambiguity between diplomatic and intelligence efforts abroad has meant that at home, the State Department has taken almost all of the public blame for an error that was in part the fault of the CIA."http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/21/exclusive-cia-honored-benghazi-chief-in-secret-ceremony.html
Democrat Walter Russell Mead: "[Benghazi] scandal still has legs."http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/05/22/benghazi-theres-more-to-come/
"This is a combustible situation. In the struggle to defend themselves, each of these dueling bureaucracies is likely to leak information that casts its rival in a poor light—and there are some signs that there may indeed be more shadows in need of illumination. More headlines about Benghazi are the last thing that Team Obama, as well as Team Hillary, want to see right now. But if Benghazi can’t be buried, these teams, too, will get in on the Blame Game.
And finally, as the top brass at State, CIA, Camp Clinton and the White House all try to wash their hands of the scandal, they will deal with the problem of underlings who refuse to be scapegoated. Furious at taking the fall for decisions made far above their pay grade, lower level officials will reach out to the press. Stories like this are like a fire in an ash tray; its flames may not reach all that high, but it can smolder for a long time and really stink up the room.
Don’t count Benghazi out of Scandal Season yet. So much went so wrong in so many ways, and the administration has tried so hard to keep a lid on the whole smoldering mess, that we suspect there are plenty more details waiting to emerge."
on: May 22, 2013, 10:40:53 PM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
Raul Labrador warns that Obamacare could kill immigration bill
(Doug: Let's do it the other way around, let immigration reform kill Obamacare.)
Also Labrador pledged that he would not support a bill that breaks the so-called Hastert Rule – meaning that for him, immigration reform legislation must have the backing of at least half of House Republicans.
By SEUNG MIN KIM | 5/22/13 2:13 PM EDT
A key House Republican negotiator on immigration is warning Democrats that the health care law – a favorite boogeyman of the GOP – could be the downfall of comprehensive immigration reform.
“What might be the story at the end of this year, at the end of this session, is that Obamacare killed immigration reform,” Rep. Raul Labrador said Wednesday. The Idaho Republican is one of eight House lawmakers who have engaged in private talks on immigration reform.
The health care law has flared up as a major problem in those talks; group members declared last week that they had struck a deal “in principle” but have yet to work out the fine print.
House Democratic leaders are uneasy with the idea of blocking undocumented immigrants from accessing publicly-subsidized care – such as health coverage if they have to be treated in an emergency room. That could have the effect of deporting the immigrants if they can’t afford those expenses, Democrats worry.
Republicans, however, are insisting that no public dollars – from federal to the local level – will fund the tab for health coverage for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Negotiators are looking at an end-of-the-week deadline to smooth out the differences on health care between the two sides.
While the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared a major hurdle Tuesday by passing the Gang of Eight legislation and sending it to the Senate floor, the House group is struggling to finalize its tentative agreement.
One of its members, Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), floated the idea of releasing a plan in the first week of June, but this latest dispute over health care throws that timeline into doubt.
“I think [Democrats] just need to accept that the American people are not going to be responsible for the health care costs of the people that are here illegally,” Labrador said Wednesday. “That’s been a fundamental issue for me from day one, that it’s not going to come out of the pockets of the American people.”
Labrador also pledged that he would not support a bill that breaks the so-called Hastert Rule – meaning that for him, immigration reform legislation must have the backing of at least half of House Republicans.
On one issue – a new guest-worker program for lower-skilled immigrants – the two parties have already decided to go separate paths. The Democrats will present the plan in the Senate bill that was negotiated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and major labor unions.http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/raul-labrador-obamacare-immigration-bill-91748.html#ixzz2U5DigERf
on: May 22, 2013, 03:11:00 PM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Stickgrappler
Newsday: Matt Serra, former UFC champ, 'walking away' from MMA
2013-05-22 19:51:57.957 GMT
By Mark La Monica
May 22--Matt Serra felt pain while sitting in the corner
during an MMA fight. Nothing unusual for the lifelong fighter,
except for one unique distinction this time: he wasn't the one
Instead, the former UFC welterweight champion from East
Meadow was cornering one of his fighters at Ring of Combat in
Atlantic City on April 5. It was a pain that would put Serra in
the emergency room for four days, lead to the surgical removal
of one of his ribs and now, cause his exit from mixed martial
"It's hard to say it," Serra told Newsday. "It's like you
can't say it, even though it probably is true. I would love to
put closure on my career with one last fight at the Garden, but
at the same time, if that doesn't happen, I definitely consider
myself done. It's hard to say the 'R word.' I might never say
the 'R word.'"
That thrill of fight night, when the adrenaline pumps
through the veins, the fans scream and invincibility consumes
the brain and body -- putting that in the past is never easy.
Not for Serra, the only man on the planet to knock out Georges
St-Pierre in a pro fight. Not for many athletes, regardless of
"I really think I'm walking away," he said. "I'm going to
be 39, I just had my rib taken out. I'm having my third kid. My
schools are doing well. What am I doing, looking for another
pay day? It's not really for that. I mean, it doesn't stink,
but it's not really for that. Am I still trying to hold on for
the glory? Glory is a drug, dude. I'm telling you, that's the
problem. It really is. I know why guys can't walk away. I
absolutely get it."
Serra had always contemplated one more fight, but the
ordeal of the past six weeks has forced him to face a new
Serra first felt pain in his left arm after a Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu training session at one of his academies two days
before the Ring of Combat event. He figured he had just pulled
He came home to Massapequa after the fights. The pain
never left. It intensified. Serra couldn't bend his arm. He
couldn't lift his hand to touch his neck. He got out of bed
around 2 a.m. and drove to the emergency room at Winthrop
University Hospital in Mineola. Tests revealed two blood clots
in his arm and another in his lungs.
"Then I got freaked out," Serra said. "You don't catch
that [and] after the lung, that stops your heart or your brain.
Then you're done. I'm very fortunate to, basically, be here.
Sounds kind of morbid. If I didn't catch that -- I was about to
go to bed. I'm like, man, something's not feeling right."
Serra was put on blood thinners to address the clot in his
lungs. He must now inject himself in the stomach with Lovenox,
an anticoagulant, every day for the next three months.
The clots in his arm created a significant health issue as
well. Serra's collarbone and first rib were compressing a blood
vessel and restricting blood flow, a condition known as
thoracic outlet syndrome. Serra had the first rib on his left
side removed in early May, a procedure performed by Dr. George
Hines, chief of vascular surgery at Winthrop. Hines estimated
that Winthrop does about six of these surgeries a year.
"It's like taking out the floor of the whole area," Hines
said. "You remove the rib and everything drops into place."
The procedure can take up to two hours to complete, and
patients typically return home the following day.
"They had to cut me open through my armpit and cut through
whatever they had to cut through and get my rib out," Serra
said. "It's definitely strange and I'm feeling it in there."
Doctors told Serra he would need six to eight weeks just
to recover from the rib removal. A month or so after that,
Serra is expected to no longer need to take blood thinners and
can resume active jiu-jitsu teaching and training.
"I need my jiu-jitsu, man," Serra said. "I don't need to
spar. I don't need to kickbox or box every day. Even if you see
me with some pasta, I'm still strangling and arm-locking people
at least five days a week and I need that."
Serra could not bring himself to actually say the word
"retire," but his active MMA career is essentially over. Serra
(17-7, 7-7 UFC) last fought Sept. 25, 2010, a
unanimous-decision loss to Chris Lytle at UFC 119. He turns 39
next month and doesn't want to be one of those athletes who
hangs around too long.
"An aging fighter?" Serra said. "You know, it's like an
aging stripper, but not as funny. Not a lot of people want to
The biggest moment of Serra's career also serves as one of
the greatest upsets in UFC and MMA history. On the night of
April 7, 2007, inside the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas,
Serra did the unthinkable. A 9-1 underdog, Serra took
St-Pierre's welterweight title with a first-round knockout.
St-Pierre has since credited Serra with helping him become
the fighter he is now, one who beat Serra in the rematch and
has eight straight title defenses, second best in UFC history
behind Anderson Silva's 10.
Serra earned that title shot by winning Season 4 of "The
Ultimate Fighter." That comeback season, the only one in the
show's history, featured fighters who had competed in the UFC
but never won a title.
"I know I can be beat by some of these guys, but I know I
can still knock some of these guys out and be a threat on the
ground," said Serra, the first American to earn a black belt
under Renzo Gracie. "But at the same time, it used to be that
the thing that made me happiest was the next fight. Now, I
whistle to work going to my schools. I love hanging out with my
kids, my family. That's something you never really anticipate
or understand it until you have a family. I love spending time
with my girls. I'm a very involved dad."
Serra runs successful BJJ academies in Levittown and
Huntington and recently opened a third in Bayside. He is also
working to create affiliate Serra BJJ schools across the
country, a system where those who earned their black belts
under him would open academies under the Serra BJJ flag.
Serra and his wife, Ann, have two daughters with a third
due in June. Angelina is 4, Maria is 2.
"Angelina is already arm-locking me, and I have her
teaching Maria," Serra said. "They're doing it on the teddy
bears. It's awesome."