American Elephants

Navy SEAL Found Not Guilty of Punching a Terrorist. by The Elephant's Child
May 8, 2010, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Military, National Security, Politics | Tags: , ,

A Virginia military jury has found a Navy SEAL not guilty Thursday on all charges that he punched an Iraqi suspected in the 2004 killings of four U.S. Contractors in Fallujah.

Matthew McCabe was the third and last Navy SEAL to be prosecuted in the case.  He had faced charges of assault, making a false official statement and dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee.  The Iraqi McCabe was accused of punching is Ahmed Hashim Abed, the suspected mastermind of the grisly killings six years ago, when the bodies of four Americans were burned and dragged through the streets, and two were hung from a bridge over the Euphrates.

These cases are enormously complicated, for terrorists are trained to accuse their captors of abuse.  Our military are well-trained mot only to avoid any abuse, but in how to avoid it. Our military is as infiltrated with concepts of political correctness and multiculturalism as the prissiest human resources department.  But the enemy is fully aware of our carefulness while sharing none of our restraint.

Each of the SEALS were given the opportunity to face Non-Judicial Punishment which would have been a slap on the wrist and an end to their SEAL service — and accepting the idea that they did something wrong.  Instead they exercised their right to a court martial and the chance to clear their names.  They did not accept dishonor for something they didn’t do.

The case against the three SEALS was always thin at best.  It has gone on far too long, and has defied common sense, but is what a politically correct military requires.  We wish Petty Officer McCabe well, and share his relief that it’s over.

Two Botched Attempts Don’t Mean Terrorism is Not Serious. by The Elephant's Child

In almost six months, there have been two unsuccessful attacks on American soil,  the Detroit Christmas Day bombing, and last  Saturday’s  Times Square attempted bombing.  Warnings were ignored, facts were not put together.

Our first line of defense is the Visa Security Program which puts Homeland Security officers at U.S. Consulate offices to perform background checks on visa applicants.  To date, the Administration has only deployed officers at 14 high risk countries, out of 57 likely candidates.

Jurisdictional disputes between the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security have interfered with the process.  James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation emphasizes that “visas …are part of a layered national security system for fighting transnational terrorism.” Effective management of visas and passports has a vital role to play.

Obama is planning to freeze the program’s budget for fiscal 2011.  It’s hard to avoid the idea that the administration does not take terrorism very seriously.  There is a constant attempt to over-reassure, and play down the attacks that have taken place. It would seem that this is part of Obama’s efforts to reach out to Muslim countries in hopes of — successful talks someday?

Senators Lieberman and Collins are considering suing the administration to get information about why the signs of Major Nidal Hassan’s increasing radicalism were ignored or sloughed off. Shahzad was dismissed as an amateur, dismissed as a one-off attempt by a lone wolf angry about health care, and Abdulmutallab was given a visa in spite of warnings from his own father that he was dangerous. And at that, because his attempt to bring down an airliner over Detroit failed, it was again sloughed off as unimportant. The terrorist attempt in Times Square is referred to on the White House website as “The Times Square Incident.” Another ‘Man-Caused” Event?

We just have different priorities.  Will they change before there is another successful attack?

The Jobs Numbers Are Deceiving, and Depressing! by The Elephant's Child
May 8, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Politics, Taxes | Tags: ,

On Friday the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics released its monthly jobs report.  The nation’s unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent in April, despite the addition of 290,000 jobs.  66,000 of those were temporary Census 2010 jobs.

The increase in the unemployment rate was driven by 195,000 previously discouraged unemployed folks beginning to look for jobs again.  In total, the U.S. economy has lost a net of 2.6 million jobs since President Barack Obama signed his $862 billion stimulus plan. We are 7.6 million jobs short of the 137.8 million that he promised the economy would “save or create” by 2010.

There is 1). no statistical correlation between unemployment and how the $862 billion stimulus was spent; 2). Democratic districts received one-and-one-half times as many awards as Republican districts; 3). an average cost of $286,000 was awarded per job created.  $286,000 for each job created!

The statistics are not, in many ways, very informative.  I have a somewhat jaundiced view about who pays the bill, so since every government employee’s salary comes out of taxpayer pockets, I think government jobs should be a net negative, but that’s not how it works. People who are not looking, or whose unemployment has run out are simply not counted.  The estimate of total unemployed runs around 17.1 percent.  The one sector of the job market that is growing vigorously is the federal government.

The White House, for example, has hired somewhere around 34 Czars.  These are separate from department heads, Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Assistance and so on.  The White House has 1,700 aides — not regular staff, but aides.  The IRS has added 160,000 workers, the better to see that you pay every cent that you owe.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that governments are increasing public sector pay at far faster rates than the private sector.  President Obama specifically designed the stimulus to preserve government union jobs.

Washington jobs are increasing as private firms have been forced to hire legions of lawyers and lobbyists to try to protect themselves from Obama’s new agenda.

Most of the administration’s approach to the financial crisis has inadvertently  contained large elements of job destruction.  In the last seven  recessions, small businesses have led the recovery.  Taxes on capital gains are set to increase to 20 percent.   Obamacare not only inflicts $503 billion in new taxes by 2019, but $87 billion of that come from employer mandate penalties.  New laws make it harder for small businesses to hire independent contractors, and they are afflicted with new 1099 paperwork every time they do more than $600 in business with another entity. They do not intend to destroy jobs, they just don’t understand how jobs are created.

The current administration has a remarkable lack of experience in the private sector.  No administration has had so little, and it shows.  They seem to have little understanding of how jobs are created or what to do to encourage hiring in the private sector.

I went to the White House website to see what they had to say about the new job numbers.  There was a lot of crowing about improved job numbers, no mention of numbers of unemployed and lots of promises.  I did notice that under the “Issues” headline, neither employment nor unemployment nor jobs were listed, but I’m sure that was just an oversight, aren’t  you?

%d bloggers like this: