Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pat Buchanan... Mitt Romney... Israel... Iran...

Another thought provoking column
by Patrick J. Buchanan

Has Mitt Romney given Israel a blank check for war?

So it seemed from the declaration in Jerusalem by his adviser Dan Senor, who all but flashed Israel a green light for war, signaling the Israelis that, if you go, Mitt’s got your back:

“If Israel has to take action on its own in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision.”

“No option would be excluded. Gov. Romney recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself and that it is right for America to stand with it.”

What does “stand with” Israel, if she launches a surprise attack on Iran, mean? Does it mean the United States will guide Israeli planes to their targets and provide bases on their return? Does it mean U.S. air cover while Israeli planes strike Iran?

This would make America complicit in a pre-emptive strike and a co-belligerent in the war to follow.

What Dan Senor said comes close to being a U.S. war guarantee for Israel, while leaving the decision as to when the war begins to them.

This country has never done that before.

And what does Senor mean by Israel’s need to act “to stop Iran from developing (the) capability” to acquire nuclear weapons?

“What does “stand with” Israel, if she launches a surprise attack on Iran, mean?”

The collective decision of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies in 2007—that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon — reportedly reaffirmed in 2011 — has never been rescinded. Nor has the White House produced any hard evidence Iran is building a bomb.

* * * REPEAT * * *

The collective decision of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies in 2007—that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon — reportedly reaffirmed in 2011 — has never been rescinded. Nor has the White House produced any hard evidence Iran is building a bomb.


Moreover, Iran’s known nuclear facilities are under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Does the government know something the American people are not being told?

Undeniably, Iran, by enriching uranium to 3.5%, then up to 20%, has a greater “capability” than five years ago of building a nuclear weapon. But Japan, South Korea and Brazil also have that capability — and none has decided to build a nuclear weapon.

Gov. Romney did not go as far as Dan Senor, but he, too, seems to be saying that not only is Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon a casus belli for the United States, even an Iran that is capable of building such a weapon is intolerable.

“The regime in Iran is five years closer to developing nuclear weapons capability,” said Romney. “Preventing that outcome must be our highest national security priority.”

Preventing what outcome is “our highest national security priority”?

Stopping Iran from building a bomb? Or stopping Iran from being able to build a bomb years from now?

The governor seems to be aligning himself with Israel’s hawks who are demanding that not only must Iran swear off nuclear weapons forever, Iran must cease all enrichment of uranium, and dismantle the facilities at Natanz and Fordow.

Romney’s policy is zero enrichment, said Dan Senor. Tehran must understand that “the alternative to zero enrichment is severe, and that’s why the threat of military force has to be critical.”

This is tantamount to an ultimatum to Tehran: Either give up all enrichment of uranium and any right to enrich, or face war.

Here we come to the heart of the issue, which may be impossible to resolve short of war.

Unlike its neighbors Israel and Pakistan, Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has no nuclear weapons. The ayatollah has said they are immoral and Iran will not acquire them. But under the NPT, Iran claims the right to enrich uranium and seek the benefits of nuclear technology. And in that decision, the people of Iran stand behind their government.

Is denying Iran the right to enrich uranium a reason for America to plunge into its fifth war in that region in a generation?

That appears where we are headed.

Reportedly, Obama’s national security adviser recently briefed Bibi Netanyahu on the specifics of U.S. contingency plans to attack Iran.

Has Congress been briefed?

Have the American people been consulted... or are we simply irrelevant?

A decade ago, this country sent an army up to Baghdad to overthrow Saddam and strip Iraq of a vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons we were told it had and was preparing to use.

We were misled; we were deceived; we were lied to.

Before we outsource to Bibi and Ehud Barak the decision to take us to war with a country three times the size of Iraq, we need to know:

Was the U.S. intelligence community wrong in 2007 and 2011? Is Iran hell-bent on building nuclear weapons? If so, where are they constructing and testing these weapons?

Finally, if Iran is willing to permit intrusive inspections of its actual and suspected nuclear sites, but insists on its right to enrich uranium, should we go to war to deny them that right?

[I]f we are going to go to war again, this time with Iran, the decision should be made in America, according to our Constitution, not by any other country.

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mornin', folks!

Let's see what the day brings!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pat Buchanan on Why We're Probably Doomed

And, folks... like me... Patrick J. Buchanan is usually right!

Since 1928, only Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush have won the presidency while capturing both houses of Congress for the GOP.

In his 49-state landslide, Richard Nixon failed to take either House.

In his two landslides, Ronald Reagan won back only the Senate.

Yet... Mitt Romney is even money to pull off the hat trick.

With this hopeful prospect, why the near despair among so many Republicans about the long term?


In his New York Times report, “In California, GOP Fights Steep Decline,” Adam Nagourney delves into the reasons.

In the Golden Land, a state Nixon carried all five times he was on a national ticket and Reagan carried by landslides all four times he ran, the GOP does not hold a single statewide office. It gained not a single House seat in the 2010 landslide. Party registration has fallen to 30% of the California electorate and is steadily sinking.


Why [the GOP weakness in California]?

It is said that California Republicans are too out of touch, too socially conservative on issues like right-to-life and gay rights.

“When you look at the population growth,” says GOP consultant Steve Schmidt, “the actual party is shrinking. It’s becoming more white. It’s becoming older.”

Race, age and ethnicity are at the heart of the problem. And they portend not only the party’s death in California, but perhaps its destiny in the rest of America.

Consider. Almost 90% of all Republican voters in presidential elections are white. Almost 90% are Christians. But whites fell to 74% of the electorate in 2008 and were only 64% of the population. Christians are down to 75% of the population from 85% in 1990.

The falloff continues and is greatest among the young.

Consider ethnicity. Hispanics were 15% of the U.S. population in 2008 and 7.4% of the electorate. Both percentages will inexorably rise.




Yet in their best years, like 2004, Republicans lose the Hispanic vote 3-to-2.

In bad years, like 2008, they lose it 2-to-1.

Whites are already a minority in California, and Hispanics will eventually become the majority. (Say goodbye to the Golden Land!)

Asian-Americans voted 3-to-2 for Obama, black Americans 24-to-1.

(The Asian population in California and the nation is growing rapidly.)

(The black population, 13% of the nation, is growing steadily.)

Whites, already a minority in our two most populous states, will be less than half the U.S. population by 2041 and a minority in 10 states by 2020.



Consider now the Electoral College picture:

Of the seven "mega-states," California, New York and Illinois appear lost to the GOP.


Pennsylvania has not gone Republican since 1988. Ohio and Florida, both crucial, are now swing states. Whites have become a minority in Texas. When Texas goes, America goes.


This year could be the last hurrah.


The GOP must work harder to win Hispanic votes, we are told. But consider the home economics and self-interest of Hispanics. Half of all U.S. wage-earners pay no income tax. Yet that half and their families receive free education K-12, Medicaid, rent supplements, food stamps, earned income tax credits, Pell grants, welfare payments, unemployment checks and other benefits. Why should poor, working- and middle-class Hispanics, the vast majority, vote for a party that will reduce taxes they don’t pay, but cut the benefits they do receive?


The majority of Latinos, African-Americans, immigrants and young people 18 to 25 pay no income taxes yet enjoy a panoply of government benefits. Does not self-interest dictate a vote for the party that will let them keep what they have and perhaps give them more, rather than the party that will pare back what they now receive?


What are the historic blunders of the Grand Old Party that may yet appear on the autopsy report as probable causes of death?

First, the party, intimidated by name-calling, refused to stop a tidal wave of immigration that brought 40 million people here whose families depend heavily on government. We needed a time-out to assimilate them and see them move out of the tax-consuming sector of the nation.

Republicans acquiesced in the importation of a new electorate that may provide the decisive votes to send the party to the ash heap of history.

Second, Republicans, when enacting tax cuts, repeatedly dropped millions of taxpayers off the rolls, creating a huge class that contributes little to pay for the expanding cornucopia of benefits it receives.

Third, the social revolution of the 1960s captured the culture and converted much of the nation. According to a new Pew poll, the number of Americans who profess a belief in no religion at all has tripled since the 1990s and is now one in five of our countrymen.

If your racial and ethnic voter base is aging, shrinking and dying, your moral code is being rejected, and the tax-consuming class has been allowed to grow to equal or to dwarf the taxpaying class, the Grand Old Party has a problem. But then so, too, does the country.

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, July 30, 2012

Had a great weekend in New Hampshire!

Hit a bit of traffic going up... took 4.5 hrs. to get to Ted's and Mary's house. Spent Friday evening at Chateau Steubing swimming, lounging, eating (steak tips off the grill!), drinking (Dogfish 90 minute ales and more!), and watching Season One episodes of Barney Miller!

Saturday... after a morning dip (pool temp 86-degrees!), coffee, and bagels time for a trip to the supermarket and of course... (*DRUM ROLL*)... the New Hampshire State Liquor Store...


..then back to the house (after a stop to buy a couple extra Champagne flutes; more on that later) arriving just in time to greet Carl upon his arrival shortly after noon.

More swimming... more drinking... (Pimm's Cups!)... lunch... (roast beef, "hot pastrami ala Bill," Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, turkey... fresh baked breads...)...  more swimming... more drinking... the arrival of Kim and Shaky... more drinking... Olympics on TV... waiting impatiently for sunset so that Shaky could break his fast...

Oh... the Champagne! Opened up my birthday bottle of Dom '02 at around 5:00 p.m. and toasted ourselves!

Carl is now a Dom convert. (Me... I still wanna try Krug!) (HOWEVER... Dom is now the official "Bill's Mimosas" Champagne!)

ODM is now a Dom convert. (Not sure if Ted was as impressed...)

MDM liked it more than she's ever liked any Champagne or sparkling wine... but since she's not a big Champagne or sparkling wine fan in the first place...


Kim liked it... (Don't guess she'll be stocking her fridge with it on her pre-school teacher's salary though...)

And then there was Shaky!

By sheer iron will and self-restraint I was able to protect and preserve a bit of the Dom for Shaky so that upon breaking his fast at precisely 8:10 p.m. e.s.t. on Saturday, July 28, 2012 he could join us in finishing off the bottle!

(Am I not the greatest, most generous guy on earth...?!?!)

Once the Dom was kaput... it was off to the River Road Tavern in Bedford, NH where a happy, happy night was had by all!

Suffice it to say that our party of seven was loud enough to be mistaken for a party of seventeen... and with the number of appetizers we ordered (plus beers... cocktails... entrees... extra sides of bacon... homemade maple syrup and bourbon donuts...) the chefs no doubt thought there were more of us than there actually were!


(Suffice it to say... we will be visiting RRT again...)

Well... after dinner and dessert, the kids (Kim and Shaky) went home and upon our return to Chateau Steubing the gals "retired" to their rooms while we manly men refilled our glasses (who doesn't enjoy a frozen mango-orange daiquiri as a post-dessert dessert?) and Ted and I jumped in the pool for a late evening swim while Carl poured us some post-post-dessert-dessert scotches.

After a swim we "retired" to the living room and caught a half hour's or so worth of Kelly's Heroes before each of us making our ways to our respective beds - and wives. (Well... not Carl... but since Ted and Mary have three dogs and what happens in Amhurst, NH stays in Amhurst, NH... I refuse to speculate...)

Next morning... a bit of a slow start... but after a plunge into the pool it was time to greet a new day!

After breakfast we packed up the cars and the four of us (ODM stayed home; she didn't wanna leave Willfy the puppy home) and headed up to Portsmouth to attend Operation Thank You!

Sponsored by The Meat House and Redhook Brewery, OTY is New England's largest yearly Veterans' Appreciation Event, featuring Redhook ales, Meat House meats, live music, and various other foods and entertainment. We really had a great time! (Thanks Ted...!!!)

Well... after spending a few hours at the festival it was time to head home. We hit the road not long after 3:00 p.m. and arrived home a bit before 8:00 p.m. (after one stop for gas and coffee).

All and all... a wonderful weekend!

As always... many thanks to ODM and Ted! 

Carl... thanks for splitting Saturday's dinner check with me...


And, yes... you're all welcome for my amazing show of friendship and generosity...


...in sharing my Dom with you guys!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, July 27, 2012

Off to New Hampshire later today!

Live Free or Die!

Hopefully a few newsbites prior to heading out...

"See" ya all on Monday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bill O'Reilly is a moron.

Yeah... I'm riffing off the previous post... the Beck/Nugent transcript.

Worse than being ignorant... O'Reilly is a weasel. By now he's well aware that his facts were wrong - but far from taking his medicine like a man, he's been doubling down - but in a deflective sort of way... repeating the lies in a sentence here, a sentence there.

Folks... understand... as positive a force as Fox News is in the greater scheme of things, as I've always warned you, you can't take everything you hear on Fox at face value - particularly when the info is coming from the likes of O'Reilly.

Fox News is not a monolith! Besides the many liberals who appear on Fox to serve as "balance," many of the hosts (both straight news... the anchors and the pundits) are at best "right of center" - many are obviously "establishment Republicans" - some are even RINOs (at best!)

Repeat after me, folks... Fox News is in business to...


...make money!

Yep. To make money... and also to play the same power games, the same status games, as the rest of the media plays... as the rest of society plays.


So... beware. That's all I'm saying! Use caution. If you must trust... trust but verify.

Keep reading "Newsbites" - keep reading "Usually Right" - because you can trust me!

But, folks... even with me the same rule applies; trust but verify!

If you read something here that sounds fishy... do your own research.

If you believe I'm wrong and can prove your point... do so! When I'm proven wrong (which happens very, very infrequently) I'm quick to chide myself and "correct" the record.

Folks... my ego flourishes on being right... not simply being seen to be right. That's part of what sets me apart from most people.

Anyway... enjoy the blog... learn from the blog... learn from the newsbites within the comment sections of each "Newsbites" post.

Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent Discuss Aurora... and Bill O'Reilly

Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent recently discussed the Aurora shooting, gun laws, and media ignorance on Beck's radio show:


NUGENT: Greetings, Glenn, from the greatest rhythm and blues rock‑androll tour in the history of noise!

GLENN: Where are you today?

NUGENT: I’m in the swamps of Jackson, Michigan, cleansing my soul prior to heading for Wisconsin to continue the rock‑androll celebration.

GLENN: Okay. Now, do you have to cleanse your soul after Wisconsin?

NUGENT: I do it daily anyhow, whether I need it or not.

GLENN: Okay. Just, I didn’t know. Some people just cleanse their soul on, you know, Saturdays or Sundays.

NUGENT: I wash my hair on Saturday.

GLENN: Okay. Good. Ted, you have been ‑ and I’m sorry that I haven’t had a chance to return any of your phone calls this week,  it’s been nuts because of the thing that we’re doing this weekend, but you ‑ I believe you are close to a brain aneurysm on this story coming out of Aurora, Colorado.

NUGENT: Well, yes. Number one, I can’t go further without saying that the Nugent family and everybody I know, I mean literally everybody says prayers for the victims and their families in the face of such a tragedy, but now we need to go on to the vile intentional misrepresentation of what did happen. And I think as soon as you can, Glenn, you need to talk to your friend Bill O’Reilly because I’ve never heard such nonsense in all my life and I think it epitomizes the ignorance out there when Bill O’Reilly states as a fact that anybody can go buy a bazooka and a machine gun without the government knowing it unless, of course, you’re in the crips and the bloods. My God in heaven, since 1934 machine guns... and by the way, bazookas are not available this week and they never have been.

GLENN: Really?

NUGENT: To buy a machine gun, you have to go through such a vetting, such a federal BATF and local law enforcement, national law enforcement review, background check, fill out all kinds of documents and buy a $200 transfer tax certificate per purchase if they allow it. So this kind of information is just loony. And let me state as if fact that I know for a fact that most of the damage done by this devil in Aurora was done with the number one pheasant shotgun in the world, a Remington 870. His AR‑15 Smith & Wesson rifle is now the most popular sporting rifle in America. It is the number one competition, number one in self‑defense, it’s the number one sporting rifle for big game and small game. And if they keep calling it an assault weapon, I may have that aneurysm.

GLENN: You know why they call it that? Because of the way it looks. That’s it. I was out shooting, what, two weeks ago and that’s exactly ‑ that’s the gun we were using. And we were target practicing. I mean, that is the gun we would use. If I was going hunting, that would be the gun that I would use.

NUGENT: Oh, and most sporters do, but let me ‑  let me talk about the way it looks. Dianne Feinstein who’s just literally going berserk on the misinformation about the weapons and the ammunition. This is the woman who had a concealed weapons permit but denied California citizens the right to have a concealed weapons permit. She demonized the concept of concealed weapon permit when she had one, Glenn, and she sat in a room with a friend of mine who will remain unnamed, unidentified, a Democrat congressman from one of my favorite states and she took out a copy of shotgun news. This is a publication that, you know, lists the different types of firearms available, legal firearms, and she got out a Sharpie and circled the ones she wanted banned in the original assault weapon ban and she circled ones that were black with folding stocks when, in fact, the exact same weapon, exact same rate of fire, exact same caliber, everything was the same but it was made out of wood.. she didn’t want to ban those. This is lunacy. And remember, Glenn, this monster in Aurora took 20 minutes to do his evil. In 20 minutes you don’t need an assault weapon, you don’t need a machine gun, which he didn’t have either of, but you could do more damage with a single shot or a bolt action because he had 20 minutes.

GLENN: You know, here’s the thing. If ‑ and nobody I hear is talking about this except people like us - if you had more people carrying a weapon... if people had a gun in their back and they were and they were licensed to carry it... that guy wouldn’t have gotten off more than four shots.

NUGENT: And I’m sure you’ve covered it because there was a shooting like that in a church in Aurora this year earlier.


NUGENT:  That was stopped because a guy had a gun. And I know the hysteria about tear-gas and it was dark in the theater. Glenn, I am not making this up. Last week my wife Shemane and I were filming a segment for our Spirit of the Wild show and we were shooting at watermelons surrounded by human silhouette targets just as kind of a competition and from 20 feet and from 20 yards and we were shooting from every imaginable angle, undercover, from sitting, from squatting, from prone position, from behind cover and from in the open, and we never hit an innocent and we never missed the watermelon.  And I’m just a guitar player. If a guitar player can neutralize a watermelon from 20 feet... And this is with live fire, by the way!

GLENN: Do you...

NUGENT: We would shoot while the other would take the target shots. So there was that tension of live fire. And this was done in a scenario... and I understand it wasn’t real bullets coming at us and it wasn’t people screaming, running around.

GLENN: Please.

NUGENT: But dear God in heaven, doing nothing is not an option. Training, having a firearm to neutralize an evil gun maniac is a way to go, and we train for that. And I wish is I would have been in the theater that day.

GLENN: So do I. So do I.

NUGENT: Glenn, I don’t mean to monopolize here, but heroism, warrior action was performed that day by men who dove in the line of fire to save their loved ones. They were warriors but they were unarmed warriors.

GLENN: Look. Ted, this is the same story over and over and over again, and you know as well as I do one of the safest countries in the world is Switzerland. Because you’re required to have an automatic weapon.

NUGENT: A real machine gun.

GLENN: Right. You’re required to have it. Why? Because they know the best way to defend ‑ why do you think Switzerland is never overrun? Because they’re all defended every home is defended by the people in the home. And let’s look at Chicago.  Play the audio from Chicago, will you, Pat? Listen to this audio from Chicago. And nobody’s talking about this. Here’s a city that’s got gun control out the wazoo.

NUGENT: It’s a gun‑free zone.

GLENN: Yeah. Listen to the audio here:

VOICE: Six people are shot within 15 minutes on the city’s south side. One teenager is dead.

REPORTER: Nancy Lou is at area two police headquarters. She has details.

REPORTER: The city’s homicide rate is up by about 39% so far this year. Faith leaders called for a stop to the gun violence, and one pastor said bluntly, “We are tired of doing funerals.” Community activist Andrew Holmes is also urging local radio stations to stop playing gangsta rap music which he believes has only encouraged all this shooting and killing.

GLENN: Of course it has. I mean, Ted, you know, does music affect people?

NUGENT: God knows it affects me, but in a beautifully positive way.

GLENN: Right.

NUGENT: And it does affect people negatively. If you talk about crime and you celebrate crime and you glorify, you know, evil and criminal activity, yeah. And it’s been going on for years now.

GLENN: And nobody’s talking about that. Nobody on the... nobody in the news. They’re talking about gun control, gun control, gun control. I’m not talking about music control. I’m not talking about movie control. I’m saying, can you recognize that that plays a role? You should be licensed? You should be licensed to make a movie? You should be licensed to make music? How ridiculous is that?!

NUGENT: It’s all ridiculous. Well, bottom line is Chicago is a gun‑free zone but Rahm Emanuel - like Mayor Daley - uses tax dollars from citizens who they force into unarmed helplessness to pay for their armed security detail. This is unbelievable.

GLENN: Okay.

NUGENT: And more people should join the NRA.

GLENN: Okay.

NUGENT: More people should do their homework about real firearms and real legality of firearms and ammunition. Everything reported about this shooter and his so‑called armorpiercing ammo. And remember, Glenn, they wanted to ban hollow points because it does too much damage. Well, hollow points won’t go through the walls because they disrupt in the target.  There’s so much misinformation out there that I pray to God you’ll talk to Bill O’Reilly because his...

GLENN: I’m on his show tomorrow night.

NUGENT: He’s screaming that people can go to the local florist and buy a bazooka.


(Unrelated chit-chat...)

GLENN: Ted, thanks very much. I’ll talk to you soon, my friend.

NUGENT: Ytah, God speed, Glenn. Carry on, my friend.

GLENN:  Have a good rest of the tour.