Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Taliban claim blasts killing Americans, Canadians

Taliban claim blasts killing Americans, Canadians
December 31, 2009 by AMIR SHAH

KABUL (AP) – The Taliban claimed responsibility Thursday for bombings that killed 14 people, including eight Americans and an Afghan in a suicide attack in the volatile east, and five Canadians in the south. CIA employees were believed to be among the victims.

It was unclear how the bomber at U.S. Forward Operating Base Chapman at the edge of Khost city was able to circumvent security. Khost is the capital of Khost province, which borders Pakistan and is a Taliban stronghold.

foreign affairs, news, terrorism, war

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Filed under: foreign affairs, news, terrorism, war

Sen. Dodd, D-Conn., slashed aviation security funding for pet constituency

Sen. Dodd, D-Conn., slashed aviation security funding for pet constituency
December 28, 2009 by Mark Hemingway (hat tip to Lux Libertas)

Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it’s worth mentioning that one senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of a constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way.

Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants — a notoriously inneffective program. In fact, the money was specifically “for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems.” The amendment was also sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be singled out here because the firefighters union is a pet constituency of his. In 2007 he campaigned all through Iowa with the firefighters union. It was one of the few distinguishable features of Dodd’s ill-fated presidential bid.

Democrats, bias, bureaucracy, campaign, corruption, funding, government, national security, news, pandering, politics, scandal, security, spending

Filed under: bias, bureaucracy, campaign, corruption, Democrats, funding, government, national security, news, pandering, politics, scandal, security, spending

Staggered Blasts Kill At Least 23 In Western Iraq

Staggered Blasts Kill At Least 23 In Western Iraq
December 30, 2009 by AP

Staggered explosions killed 23 people – 13 of them policemen – and injured the governor of Anbar on Wednesday, Iraqi officials said, the worst violence in months to hit the western province as it struggles to stamp out the remnants of the al-Qaida insurgency.

Anbar is strategically important because it was once the heartland of support for al-Qaida linked militants before American officials paid Iraqi fighters to join a pro-government force. The governor is the most senior Sunni leader to be attacked since then.

extremism, foreign affairs, iraq, islam, news, terrorism, war

Filed under: extremism, foreign affairs, iraq, islam, news, terrorism, war

NPR panders to left wing narrative on racial profiling of terrorism

Chertoff Seeks Full-Body Scanners At Airports
December 29, 2009, by Robert Siegel, NPR

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is pushing for full-body scanners to be installed at airports in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack aboard an airliner on Christmas Day. Chertoff is also urging investigators to look into why the alleged terrorist did not have his U.S. visa revoked after negative information about him was passed to U.S. officials.

SIEGEL: How should the U.S. reconcile reasonable, ethical restraints on profiling with some obvious facts that this sort of thing has been done by Muslim men, typically, and also of a certain age. One could focus pretty heavily on Muslim men under 40 and come up with lots of the people who are posing threats.

Mr. CHERTOFF: Actually Robert, I’m going to argue that this case illustrates the danger and the foolishness of profiling because people’s conception of what a potential terrorist looks like often doesn’t match reality. In this case we had a Nigerian, for example, not a person from the Middle East or from South Asia. If you look at the airline plot of 2006, two of the plotters were a married couple that were going to get on a plane with a young baby. The terrorists understand that the more they vary the kind of operative they use, the more likely they’re going to be able to exploit prejudices if we allow those prejudices to guide the way we conduct our investigation.

SIEGEL: Your objection to profiling is not just as an ethical matter, it’s a point of efficacy also. You’re saying it doesn’t work.

Mr. CHERTOFF: I think it’s not only problematic from civil rights’ standpoint, but frankly, I think it winds up not being terribly effective.

Robert forgot to challenge the assertion that racially profiling terrorist suspects isn’t effective. And apparently Mr. Chertoff doesn’t know that people’s conception of what a terrorist looks like DOES often match with reality. The vast majority of known terrorists are middle eastern males. Despite this statistically logical course, there are the occasional divergences from the template which should be taken into account. Our intelligence agencies do follow relevant leads, they apparently just have trouble acting on those leads. It is not racial profiling that is to blame for this latest embarrassing failure of our security system; it is government bureaucracy, and possibly political correctness.

bias, bureaucracy, extremism, foreign affairs, gaffe, government, ideology, islam, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, national security, news, news media, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, propaganda, scandal, terrorism, war

Filed under: bias, bureaucracy, extremism, foreign affairs, gaffe, government, ideology, islam, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, national security, news, news media, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, propaganda, scandal, terrorism, war

British private schools hampered by incessant government regulation

Private schools hindered by Whitehall regulation, says top head teacher
December 29, 2009 by Joanna Sugden (hat tip to Education Watch International)

Private schools are losing their independence because of endless government regulation and a tick-box culture, according to a leading headmistress.

Gillian Low, the new president of the Girls’ Schools Association, warned that a barrage of rules from Whitehall was diverting teachers away from education. Such rules were counterproductive and robbed independent schools of the idiosyncrasies that were the key to their success, Mrs Low said.

She added: “Each school is a bit different and demands a slightly different approach.” The problem was that the Government started from the point of not trusting people, she said.

Head teachers and teachers in the majority of schools were experienced professionals who knew how to deal with issues such as bullying and parental complaints, according to Mrs Low. “The problem is [that] the regulations keep changing. We are on our third variation of regulation guidance this year, and the fourth is coming.”

bureaucracy, education, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, news, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, regulation

Filed under: bureaucracy, education, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, news, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, regulation

Teaching America as ‘hellhole’ called ‘brainstorming’

Teaching America as ‘hellhole’ called ‘brainstorming’
December 26, 2009 by Bob Unruh (hat tip to Education Watcher International)

A lawyer for the University
of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus has confirmed to an educational rights organization that a plan described by a critic as teaching America as a “hellhole” hasn’t been adopted, and came about because of brainstorming efforts by the education department.

The issue of the program at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities was raised by officials with The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The group questioned President Robert Bruinicks about the legality of the program. The proposal included the suggestion of examinations of teacher candidates on “white privilege” as well as “remedial re-education” for those who hold the “wrong” views.

The FIRE today announced that in response to its pressure on the university, officials there are backing away from their plans “to enforce a political litmus test.”

“The plans from its College of Education and Human Development involved redesigning admissions and the curriculum to enforce an ideology centered on a narrow view of ‘cultural competence,” the FIRE announced.

bureaucracy, corruption, diversity, education, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, news, oppression, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, propaganda, relativism, scandal

Filed under: bureaucracy, corruption, diversity, education, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, news, oppression, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, propaganda, relativism, scandal

Iran seeking to smuggle raw uranium

Report: Iran seeking to smuggle raw uranium
December 29, 2009 by GEORGE JAHN

VIENNA (AP) – Diplomats are concerned about an intelligence report that says Iran is trying to import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan in violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

Such a deal would be significant because Tehran appears to be running out of that material, which it needs to feed its uranium enrichment program.

A summary of the report obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday said the deal could be completed within weeks. It said Tehran was willing to pay $450 million, or close to 315 million euros, for the shipment.

An official from the country that drew up the report said Kazakh government employees acting on their own were behind the deal. The official demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing intelligence matters.

After-hours calls put in to offices of Kazatomprom, the Kazak state uranium company, in Kazakhstan and Moscow, were not answered. There was no immediate reaction from Tehran.

Iran is under three sets of Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze its enrichment program and related activities that could be used to make nuclear weapons. Tehran denies such aspirations.

foreign affairs, news, politics, wmd

Filed under: foreign affairs, news, politics, wmd

Obama administration grants Miranda rights to detainees in Afghanistan

Not Right
June 10, 2009 by Stephen F. Hayes

When 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was captured on March 1, 2003, he was not cooperative. “I’ll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer,” he said, according to former CIA Director George Tenet.

Of course, KSM did not get a lawyer until months later, after his interrogation was completed, and Tenet says that the information the CIA obtained from him disrupted plots and saved lives. “I believe none of these successes would have happened if we had had to treat KSM like a white-collar criminal — read him his Miranda rights and get him a lawyer who surely would have insisted that his client simply shut up,” Tenet wrote in his memoirs.

If Tenet is right, it’s a good thing KSM was captured before Barack Obama became president. For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today — foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them and they’re reading them their rights — Mirandizing these foreign fighters,” says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.

Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer, says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. “I was a little surprised to find it taking place when I showed up because we hadn’t been briefed on it, I didn’t know about it. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of it, but it is clearly a part of this new global justice initiative.”

Miranda Warnings for Terrorists — Thank Sen. McCain
June 10, 2009 by Andy McCarthy

Obama Administration Says Some Detainees Overseas Are Being Mirandized — and Bush Did It, Too
Jake Tapper, June 11, 2009

The ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., told Hayes that he was concerned about this news.

“It would seem the last thing we want is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other al-Qaeda terrorist to remain silent,” Hoekstra said. “Our focus should be on preventing the next attack, not giving radical jihadists a new tactic to resist interrogation–lawyering up.”

In March, President Obama told 60 Minutes that “the whole premise of Guantanamo promoted by Vice President Cheney was that somehow the American system of justice was not up to the task of dealing with these terrorists. I fundamentally disagree with that. Now do these folks deserve Miranda rights? Do they deserve to be treated like a shoplifter down the block? Of course not.”

Democrats, bureaucracy, constitution, foreign affairs, gitmo, government, hypocrisy, ideology, military, nanny state, news, philosophy, political correctness, politics, public policy, relativism, scandal, terrorism, war

Filed under: bureaucracy, constitution, Democrats, foreign affairs, gitmo, government, hypocrisy, ideology, military, nanny state, news, philosophy, political correctness, politics, public policy, relativism, scandal, terrorism, war

Dem Rep Reportedly Takes Stanford’s Message To Chavez

Special Delivery: Dem Rep Reportedly Takes Stanford’s Message To Chavez
December 29, 2009 by Zachary Roth

We’ve already told you about Rep. Pete Sessions’s email to Allen Stanford in the wake of charges being filed against the banker for running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. “I love you and believe in you,” wrote the GOP congressman to the alleged fraudster.

But Stanford may have had an even tighter bond with another member. After all, you have to be pretty close with someone to ask them to carry a message to Hugo Chavez on your behalf. Especially when that message is that you want the Venezuelan president to open a criminal investigation into an associate with whom you’ve fallen out. But according to McClatchy, that’s what Stanford asked Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) to do. And, say the news outlet’s sources, Meeks agreed.

McClatchy reports that in 2006, Stanford’s entire operation was put at risk, after the president of his bank in Venezuela, Gonzalo Tirado, threatened to go rogue. After being accused of stealing from the company, Tirado filed a lawsuit and publicly suggested that Stanford might be orchestrating a fraud.

In order to fix the problem, Stanford turned to a close ally in Congress: Meeks. The banker asked Meeks to go to Chavez, and urge him to pursue a criminal investigation against Tirado. Two former federal agents working for Stanford listened to the call on speakerphone. And they tell McClatchy that Meeks agreed to the request.

A month later, Meeks, a member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, traveled to Venezuela as part of a mission to thank Chavez and other leaders for a program that provided heating oil to Americans. A year later, Tirado was indicted in Venezuela on charges of swindling and tax-evasion.

In 2008, Meeks received over $12,000 in campaign contributions from Stanford and his employees.

Meeks is also a member of the “Caribbean Caucus”, a group of lawmakers essentially created by Stanford, which has focused on issues of interest to the Caribbean region, and has enjoyed lavish trips to the region funded by a Stanford-created non-profit. Meeks himself has gone on six such trips since 2003.

Democrats, campaign, corruption, funding, pandering, politics, scandal

Filed under: campaign, corruption, Democrats, funding, pandering, politics, scandal

Everyone will pay into abortion-coverage fund

Sebelius: Everyone will pay into abortion-coverage fund
December 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

What constitutes the notion of “public funds”? If the government forces us to pay into a fund, and then controls the distribution of those funds, are those funds not “public”? Morgen at Verum Serum catches a portion of an interview between HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and BlogHer interviewer Morra Aarons-Mele yesterday, in which Sebelius praises the abortion-funding language in the Reid bill, as it maintains a flow of funds for abortion coverage that everyone — and she means everyone — supplies:

How many times have we been told there would be no public funding of abortion with this new health care legislation? It sounds like we were lied to.

Democrats, abortion, budget, bureaucracy, congress, false, fraud, funding, government, health care, ideology, left wing, legislation, liberalism, lies, nanny state, news, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, propaganda, regulation, socialism, tragedy, video

Filed under: abortion, budget, bureaucracy, congress, Democrats, false, fraud, funding, government, health care, ideology, left wing, legislation, liberalism, lies, nanny state, news, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, propaganda, regulation, socialism, tragedy, video

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