Sunday, June 22, 2014

20,000 homicide bombers parade through Baghdad

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

Obama’s legacy — the left can say what they want, but Bush left behind a stable Iraq, which is why Obama thought he could toss it off and take credit for its success — until he got his grubby, greasy paws on it, that is.

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“Suicide bombers parade through Baghdad,” NY Post, June 21, 2014 (thanks to Christian)
IRAQ-UNRESTBAGHDAD — Thousands of heavily-armed Shiite militiamen paraded through several Iraqi cities on Saturday after Sunni militants seized a town on the Syrian border in what appeared to be the start of a new offensive in the western Anbar province.
The capture on Friday of the town of Qaim and its border crossing dealt another blow to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, which has struggled to push back against Islamic extremists and allied militants who have seized large swaths of the country’s north, including the second largest city Mosul.
Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a parade in Najaf
But while al-Maliki has come under mounting pressure to reach out to disaffected Kurds and Sunnis, the display of heavy weapons by the Shiite fighters indicated that forces beyond Baghdad’s control may be pushing the conflict toward a sectarian showdown.
In Baghdad, about 20,000 men, many in combat gear, marched through the Sadr City district with assault rifles, machine guns, multiple rocket launchers, field artillery and missiles. Similar parades were held in the southern cities of Amarah and Basra.
The parades were staged by followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who once led a powerful militia that battled U.S. troops and was blamed for some of the mass killing of Sunni civilians during the sectarian bloodletting that peaked in 2006 and 2007.
Mideast IraqPolice and army officials said the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, along with allied militants, seized Qaim and its crossing, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Baghdad, after killing some 30 Iraqi troops in daylong clashes Friday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media, said people were now crossing back and forth freely.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks about her new book "Hard Choices" on Friday, June 20, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)An alleged rape victim said in an interview Friday that Mrs. Clinton “took me through hell,” during her early days as a lawyer. The woman was referring to Mrs. Clinton’s major criminal case at age 27, in which she defended Thomas Alfred Taylor. The man, then age 41, was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in 1975, and ultimately plead guilty to lesser charges.

Audio tape of Mrs. Clinton talking about the case was provided by the Washington Free Beacon on June 15. During the tape, the former Secretary of State seems to suggest that her client was guilty.

“I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” she says in an interview archived at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Mrs. Clinton laughs at the remark and does so again after discussing DNA evidence that was accidentally destroyed by a crime lab.The interview was conducted by Arkansas reporter Roy Reed.

In her interview with the Daily Beast, the victim addressed Mrs. Clinton directly: “I would say [to Clinton], ‘You took a case of mine in ‘75, you lied on me… I realize the truth now, the heart of what you’ve done to me. And you are supposed to be for women? You call that [being] for women, what you done to me? And I hear you on tape laughing.”

The government normally doesn't care whether you or I accumulate large bills for home improvement, a new car or exotic vacations. But Barack Obama feels no hesitation in concluding that the cost of higher education has placed "too big a debt load on too many young people." Therefore, something must be done. 
The problem with Obama's analysis is defining "too big."

Compared to what? Most of these young people, often in conjunction with their parents, have voluntarily shouldered student loans to pursue their studies. If they thought the burden was too heavy, they didn't have to take it on.

They have done so not because they are careless wastrels, but because they place an accurate value on higher education. They comprehend that it is very likely to pay for itself and that forgoing it would be the most costly option of all.

The president says the debt burden makes it hard for these people "to start a family, buy a home, launch a business or save for retirement." But they would most likely have even less money for those purposes had they avoided borrowing by avoiding college.

That's because people with bachelor's degrees make more money than people without -- nearly twice as much, on average. Not only that, but the value of higher education has risen substantially. Over the past 50 years, the real value of a degree has tripled.

Some perspective is in order. Though some students acquire huge debts, two-thirds graduate owing $10,000 or less, and only 2 percent owe more than $50,000. Not all of the latter need to worry. A newly minted doctor, lawyer or MBA from a good school can expect an income more than adequate to the need.

Obama wants to let some five million borrowers cap their monthly repayments at 10 percent of their income and, after 20 years, be relieved of any remaining balance. What would the change cost?

"We'll figure that out the back end," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in one of the more alarming budget projections ever issued.

The administration blames the problem on the growing cost of higher education. It has a point. College costs have risen much faster than other prices. In 1973, annual resident tuition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was $496 -- which is $2,566 in today's money. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the sticker price for U of I freshmen was $11,834 -- four times more, in real terms, than their parents might have paid.

But thinking that more federal aid will make college affordable is like believing that a dog can catch its tail if it goes faster. One reason colleges charge so much more today is that federal aid makes it easier for students to cover the bill. The more the government does the less reason students have to demand cost control, and the higher tuition will climb.

Forgiving more debts after 20 years (10 for those in "public service" jobs), as Obama proposes, adds to the expense inflicted on taxpayers without doing borrowers much good in the meantime.

Among those taxed to provide these benefits are people who earn less than college graduates because they didn't go to college. If it seems unfair for people to shoulder big loans to finance their degrees, it's even more unfair for people without degrees to share the sacrifice.

A better idea than Obama's is to make repayments simpler and more efficient by shifting to paycheck deductions, like Social Security taxes, at a rate chosen by the borrower, for up to 25 years. This gives borrowers more flexibility in the short run and the long run. University of Michigan professors Susan Dynarski and Daniel Kreisman, who devised the plan, figure it would cost taxpayers no more than the current program and might cost less.

The other thing that would really help is a stronger economy, which would put more debt-ridden grads into the jobs they prepared for. Any loan terms are tough for the unemployed and underemployed.

But the rising cost of college mainly stems from the fact that people are willing to pay a lot because it's so valuable, and it won't stop going up until it declines in value or they become more cost-conscious.

Obama says he really cares about the issue because he and his wife paid off their loans just 10 years ago. Obviously he wishes their education had cost less. But note: He doesn't say it wasn't worth it.

It's often assumed that the kind of technology that automates the jobs that low income earners can do will come to replace the people who do those jobs. But is that really true?

The answer to that question is that it depends. The reason it depends is because new technologies can impact more than just the cost of labor for employers. They can also be used to generate more revenue than could be achieved without the use of the technology, allowing an employer to grow their business by enough of a margin so that no jobs need to be cut, or can even be added to facilitate the business' growth.

With that in mind, consider the arrival of thousands of table-based tablets at many U.S. restaurants, where the early indications is that they boost restaurant revenue by a large enough margin that the restaurants that have incorporated the technology have no plans to trim their wait staffs. Via Core77:
I learned a few things as a waiter in the '80s and '90s. One was that spiked hair and a fanny pack was not a good look. 
The other was that a server's job isn't just to take the orders and sling the chow—our job was to sell. Bigger checks meant bigger tips, and the manager was constantly coaching us on which high-margin specials to push, which desserts we needed to move, what the exciting new beer we had on tap was. 
Well, now the Chili's Grill & Bar chain has found that, surprise surprise, tablets are better than humans at selling. "When your server is a screen, you spend more money," as The Atlantic puts it. Since installing over 55,000 tablets at tables, the restaurant has found that diners order more appetizers and desserts and even leave bigger tips by going along with the default tip setting, which is of course jacked up. They also tie the kids up with unlimited on-screen games that run $0.99.
The tablets are manufactured by a company called Ziosk, the self-styled "industry leader for tabletop menu, ordering, entertainment and payment" for restaurants. (But they are not without competition, see below.) Ziosk reckons the tablets, which flash attractive-looking food photos to entice diners to click, boost appetizer sales by 20% and desserts by 30%. They also shave about 5 minutes off of each meal, presumably because one never needs to flag a waiter down. Add it all up and these babies essentially pay for themselves, as the company claims: "The Ziosk platform is a revenue center, not a cost center for the restaurant and our offering is 'less than free.'"
Night Watch
Iraq: Situation update. News sources indicate that some Iraqi government forces remain in the Baiji refinery complex, but are surrounded. Fighting also continues at Tal Afar in the northwest, where another Iraqi army unit remains.

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also are engaged with Kurdish militiamen south of Kirkuk.

Comment: Ultra-extreme Islamist propaganda still warns that the terrorists intend to attack Baghdad, but thus far they continue to work on consolidating the territory they claim to control. Multiple news services reported that Iraq is assembling forces and making preparations for a large counter-offensive to take back the north.

Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki over the phone and expressed his support for Iraq.

"Putin confirmed Russia's complete support for the efforts of the Iraqi government to speedily liberate the territory of the republic from terrorists," according to a Russian statement released after the phone call.

Comment: Longstanding Russian interests were disrupted by the US intervention. In the last three years, Putin has been rebuilding Russian ties with Iraq through arms assistance. The Iraqi helicopter gunships that are mentioned occasionally by the news media were bought from Russia last year in an arms contract worth more $4.3 billion. Iraq purchased at least 40 Russian helicopters, including Mi-28 NE Night Hunters.

The first Russian-trained Iraqi pilots, crews and technicians completed training last autumn. Without those gunships, Iraq would have little to no air power to bring against ISIL and its supporters.

Turkey: Thinking about a Kurdish state. Turkish political analysts and politicians are rethinking their longstanding hostility to the formation of an independent Kurdish state. This is a reaction to the ISIL incursion and the partial Sunni rebellion in northern Iraq.

One official said, "It has become clear for us that Iraq has practically become divided into three parts."

Comment: Kurdestan's stability has proven beneficial and profitable for Turkey. The Kurds made their second major sale of oil today. Kurdish oil is exported through Turkey. The ISIL incursion reportedly has prompted Kurdish insurgents in Turkey to return to Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region to help defend it. Iran and the Kurdish region are the only stable geo-political entities on Turkey's southern and southeastern borders.

Turkey has opposed the formation of an independent Kurdish state because Turkish leaders judged it would pose an instability threat to Turkey's Kurdish region. Now, even in Ankara, the idea of redrawing the borders of Iraq is more acceptable than it was before the ISIL incursion. A change in Turkey's policy from hostility to support of a Kurdish state would be more revolutionary than the creation of a Sunni state in Iraq.

Ukraine: Situation update. President Poroshenko ordered his forces to cease fire today and to halt military operations in eastern Ukraine for a week. This is part of Petroshenko's peace plan.
Russia immediately dismissed the peace plan, saying that it looks like an ultimatum and lacks an offer to start talks with the insurgents.

Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said on 20 June that Ukrainian security forces have shut down the Ukrainian-Russian border. Petroshenko promised the border would be closed by the end of this week.

Russia: The US State Department spokesperson said that the US has information that additional tanks have been prepared for departure. The US also said it has information that Russia has accumulated artillery at a deployment site in southwest Russia, including a type of artillery utilized by Ukrainian forces but no longer in Russia's active forces.

Comment: Separatists reported that Ukrainian forces ceased firing near Slavyansk, but conditions at other cities were not clear. The purpose of the ceasefire is to allow separatists to surrender and give up their weapons.

The Russian leaders distrust Petroshenko because he refuses to talk with the separatists. Russia appears to be making preparations to provide military equipment support to the separatists that will enable them to withstand the Ukrainian offensive and compel Petroshenko to negotiate with them.

If the Russians decide to send military equipment to the separatists, Ukrainian border guards would be noimpediment.

End of NightWatch

Weekend Edition: Obama – American Agent of Islam (Part 1)

By Craig Andresen / The National Patriot

tnp eagleFor 6 years now, Conservatives have been mocked, scorned, dismissed and called vile names for suggesting that one Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim. He is, of course but facts never get in between the insipid bond between liberal’s lips and Obama ass.

Were Obama NOT a Muslim, he would have to be a fool to have, over the years, uttered such lines as these:

“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.”

“Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”

“We will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities”

“These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”

“America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

“Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.”

“In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.”

“Throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”

And one of my favorites…“The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.”

Obama is no fool and to understand his most dangerous agenda…one must also remember two other Obama quotes as well.

Click on link to read full article:

Weekend Edition: Hey Obama…Who’s Your al-Baghdadi Now? (Part 2)

By Craig Andresen / The National Patriot

tnp eagleIraq is all but lost today. The green zone is all but awash in a sea of blood. Baghdad is falling, the people are fleeing…running for their very lives but to where? We don’t know. THEY don’t even know but they know they can’t stay there.

What started as maybe 1500 Sunni insurgents has turned into tens of thousands of them and as they continue to stream into Iraq from the northwest, from Syria, they gain strength, momentum and rage.

Having taken the Iraqi central bank in Mosul, ISIS is now the most well-funded terrorist operation on the planet. They, unlike so many other terrorist hoards, don’t have to rely on third party financial support because, from that bank in Mosul, they plundered more than $425 million dollars and as they extend their terror from one Iraqi city or town to the next, they gain more riches.

Into each town or city they enter, they carry the heads of those they have murdered on their bayonets and on poles. In their wake, they leave the mangled bodies of those they crucify and headless corpses litter the streets behind them.

The purple ink that once was a proud display of having voted has faded from the fingers of the dead though it never faded from their hearts and it is very much on the minds of those who flee.

I am sickened by those who, in their desperation to excuse Obama for this, attempt to blame Bush.

“Bush started an illegal war” they say. No…no he didn’t. Bush had the consent of congress to go to war in Iraq and that included a damn good number of liberals. “Bush LIED” they scream but, no…no he did not as he provided TO congress all intel gathered on Saddam and it wasn’t just our intel either. The world’s intel operations showed Saddam’s Iraq to be in possession of chemical weapons and trying to build nukes.

Then liberals try to claim that Bush falsely blamed Iraq for 9-11 but I have yet to have so much as a single one of them provide me with proof that Bush blamed Iraq for that. They can’t because, he never did and they know it.


Click on link to read to read full article: