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Liberal Syntax: A Noun, a Verb, and a Bush Smear

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2010-01-14 16:25:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Number of terrorist incidents for 2009 (Januar...
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by Scott Spiegel
ScottSpiegel.com
January 9. 2009

When conservatives correctly pointed out that one disastrous terrorist attack and another catastrophic but thwarted attack both happened during President Obama’s first term in office, because his agencies overlooked the perpetrators’ jihadist intentions or failed to act on relevant intelligence, liberals responded with an argument that was discredited nearly a decade ago: “But 9/11 happened on George Bush’s watch!”

Obama supporters mocked Rudy Giuliani’s recent claim to George Stephanopolous “We had no domestic attacks under Bush,” stubbornly avoiding Giuliani’s obvious implication that he was speaking post-9/11.  Until last week, Democrats loved to excoriate Giuliani for making endless references to the terrorist attack that occurred while he was mayor of New York; now they claim he forgets it happened.  Which is it?

Conservatives’ point is that Obama has forgotten the lessons of 9/11, which Bush did not have available to him until, surprisingly—9/11.  The Ft. Hood and Flight 253 attacks happened in the first year of Obama’s administration, and 9/11 happened in the first year of Bush’s administration, but Obama had the example of 9/11 to learn from, and Bush did not.  (Even if you count the thwarted attack by the shoe bomber in December 2001, that bomber tried to strike just months after 9/11, when fully revamped security procedures were not running as smoothly as they are now; also, the bomber used the novel, unprecedented technique of wearing the bomb on his person so that it would not be detected by luggage screeners.)

Obama not only had the example of 9/11, he had seven years in which to witness and debate and vote on the implementation of the policies his predecessor devised that kept the country safe in the years after 9/11.  Obama denounced and campaigned against these tactics every chance he got.  He hasn’t revoked all of the Bush policies—upon assuming the Presidency, he must have received access to hair-raising intelligence that made him realize the suicidal folly of reversing Bush on everything—but he has slackened up enough, rhetorically and policy-wise, that our security standards have slipped and our enemies have become emboldened.

It is not enough to say that Obama has forgotten the lessons of 9/11.  He has actively rejected them.  He has argued that doing the opposite of what Bush did will keep us safer.  We are seeing how well the Obama Doctrine is working out in his first 11 months in office.

Another error in the “Bush-was-bad-so-Obama’s-off-the-hook” argument is that Bush did not do anything to actively facilitate the occurrence of 9/11.  In contrast, the Ft. Hood shootings were aided by the politically correct refusal of the U.S. Army—under Commander-in-Chief Obama—to recognize murderous jihadist sentiments expressed by Major Nidal Hasan openly and repeatedly while in medical school and residency, and the promotion Hasan received despite his poor performance reviews.  The Flight 253 near-attack was made possible by the Obama administration’s failure to act on numerous warnings available to it, such as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s father having called the U.S. Embassy to report him, Abdulmutallab’s not having a passport or luggage, and his having bought a one-way ticket with cash.

But there’s an even more damning flaw to the contention that Bush should have been able to prevent 9/11, and is therefore as bad as or worse than Obama on national security.  Namely: just what would Bush opponents have preferred that he do in his first eight months in office to prevent terrorist acts, when they now scream bloody murder at the slightest suggestion of profiling at airports, accuse Bush of being Big Brother for trying to monitor terrorist communications, and express their clear disapproval of any war Bush started abroad to target Al-Qaeda?  Are liberals implying that they would have been fine with Bush doing all of these things in a pre-9/11 world?  They’re not even fine with The One doing these things in a post-9/11 world.

The left have been digging up examples of localized attacks carried out by truly isolated (not Abdulmutallab-style “isolated”) loonies—such as Bruce Ivins’ anthrax-laced letters to news broadcasters in September 2001, Hesham Hadayet’s shooting of two Israelis at LAX in July 2002, the Beltway sniper attacks in October 2002—as proof that Bush didn’t keep us safe.  Ignore for the moment that when each of these incidents happened, the same people criticized Bush for using these events to “hype” the threat of terrorism to justify extra security measures.  Instead ask: what level of government intervention into our lives would have been necessary to prevent every one of these attacks?  And how likely is it that liberals would have supported Bush’s carrying out such interventions at the time?


Scott Spiegel writes for the ScottSpiegel.com blog
Article published with the author’s permission.

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Are Volcanoes Subject to Cap-and-Trade

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2010-04-21 22:04:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Scott Spiegel
ScottSpiegel.com
April 20, 2010


As the Senate gears up to introduce its version of the House’s cap-and-trade global warming legislation next week, it’s instructive to consider the impact of myriad geological, meteorological, and astronomic effects on climate change, as exhaustively chronicled in Australian scientist Ian Plimer’s essential new book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming: The Missing Science.

Plimer’s book, published last year, boasts 2,000 footnotes from an array of sources including top peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, and Geophysical Research Letters; journals on solar physics, hydrological science, and glaciology; books on climate change, environmentalism, and the history of science; and research by dozens of climate change skeptics. Plimer also dissects the various contradictory iterations of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reports.

His evaluation of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis? Pure, unadulterated waffle.

If “agnostic” is to “atheist” what “skeptic” is to “denier,” then Plimer would happily plant himself in the denier camp.

Plimer demolishes AGW by broadening the scientific timeline under consideration to incorporate thousands, at times millions, of years to show how climate has been changing through hot and cold swings much wider than anything we’ve seen in recent centuries, and all in the absence of disposable Starbucks cups.

In graph after graph, Plimer depicts the cyclical effects of sunspots, glaciation, tilts in the earth’s orbit, ocean currents, CO2 reabsorption by the oceans, plate tectonics, clouds, and volcanic eruptions on global temperature. He covers the Medieval Warming period from 900 to 1300 AD, which was warmer than today, and points out the vastly higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere during previous Ice Ages. He details the beneficial effects that warmer periods historically have had on crop growth, species survival, and human longevity. He documents the inadequacy and inconsistency of land temperature measurements, relative to satellite measurements, the latter of which show global cooling. He notes the utter failure of any global warming model to correctly predict that the earth would start cooling in 1998.

Plimer mentions Al Gore’s camp classic An Inconvenient Truth, and cites a British court’s 2007 ruling that there are nine major factual errors in the movie, and that in order to be shown in public classrooms the film has to be accompanied by a written manual and teacher instruction to correct all of the alarmist falsehoods. One of the nine gaffes is the movie’s failure to note that CO2 emissions have not been shown to cause temperature increases, but rather have historically lagged behind temperature increases. That’s right—a British court actually ruled that there is no evidence that carbon dioxide emissions, human or otherwise, cause or even precede temperature increases—only that they lag slightly behind.

And Plimer’s book was published before last November’s Climategate, in which a whistleblower in the UK publicly exposed researchers from one of the three leading climate data collection centers in the world as having evaded Freedom of Information requests, colluded to keep skeptics’ research from being published, and failed to be able to reconstruct tortuous data manipulations they had applied in order to generate the conclusions they wanted.

Lest closed-minded warmists dismiss Plimer as a religious, right-wing knuckle-dragger, Plimer has also authored books deconstructing the scientific case for creationism, and has received criticism from conservatives for this line of work.

Plimer’s thesis also happens to be perfectly embodied by last week’s historic volcano eruption in Iceland. The eruption at Eyjafjallajkull, whose name is almost as long and complicated as the House’s cap-and-trade bill, left Europe covered in clouds of dark ash and shut down virtually all air transportation across the continent.

In his book, Plimer delineates the historic effects of volcanic activity on climate. For example, in just a few days, a major volcano can spew more CO2, dust, and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere than humans can in a year. Yet significant volcanic eruptions typically lead to years-long drops in temperature, due to the extra cloud cover and solar reflection they create, which means that skiing in St. Moritz should be lovely this winter.

Last year the Australian parliament considered and, in large part thanks to the efforts of Plimer and other skeptics, narrowly rejected a cap-and-trade scheme that would have crippled the continent’s energy production systems.

Due to U.S. Congressional Democrats’ politically suicidal stubbornness, cap-and-trade is evidently going to be this year’s health care reform.

To reiterate the point crystallized in Plimer’s book: if there’s so much uncertainty regarding whether human carbon dioxide emissions have any measurable influence on temperature increases, and a greater probability that temperature increases are beneficial than harmful, why are we rushing to shoot the world’s greatest economies in the foot?

Molecular biologist Henry Miller wrote in Forbes last week, “Every schoolchild these days seems to be a devoted environmentalist, able to spell ‘sustainable’ before ‘dog.’ However, much of the indoctrination about environmentalism—especially in schools—is of the passion-is-more-important-than-fact variety… Too often the objective of student projects seems to be ‘empowering’ the kids and giving them a feeling of accomplishment instead of getting the right answer and learning scientific principles.” In other words, the first step to “empowerment” in the natural world is learning what you can and can’t change through being empowered. It seems many adults have yet to learn that lesson.

Though I regret the disruption caused by Eyjafjallajkull to Western Europe’s economies (such as they are), I have to chuckle at the fact that terrible, wasteful, carbon dioxide-emitting air travel has been suspended throughout the sacred Continent of the Greens—and during the same week as Earth Day, at that. I only wish it had happened right before the Copenhagen summit.


Scott Spiegel is the editor of the ScottSpiegel.com blog.

Article published with the author’s permission.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed, Fail, Fail Again!

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-07-26 19:18:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Scott-Spiegelby Scott Spiegel
ScottSpiegel.com

Five months after the stimulus bill was passed, we can now say that we’ve witnessed the following under-stimulating results.

Payrolls are falling more than forecast, with employers having cut 467,000 jobs in June, following a 322,000-job decline in May. Factory jobs fell by 136,000 after dropping 156,000 in May.

Unemployment is at 9.5%, the highest level in 15 years, and is projected to exceed 10% by the end of 2009.  Some economists expect it to remain at historically high levels for years.

The average workweek is at 33 hours, the lowest in 45 years.

Average weekly earnings are down to $611.

The national debt is $11.5 trillion.  The Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit for 2009 to be almost $2 trillion and for 2010 to be more than $1.4 trillion.

The Treasury is increasing its sale of debt to pay for spending.  Treasury offered $1 trillion in notes and bonds in the first half of 2009 and plans to offer another $1 trillion by the end of 2009.

Colin Powell, of all people, is alarmed that Obama’s spending orgy may be swelling government and the national debt: “I’m concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them…  [We have] a huge, huge national debt that, if we don’t pay for [it] in our lifetime, our kids and grandkids and great-grandchildren will have to pay for…”  Now he tells us!

Jared Bernstein, chief economic advisor to Joe Biden, whose office is managing the stimulus, says, “It’s working, it’s demonstrably working.”  According to Bernstein, $200 billion in stimulus money has already been obligated or spent.  Case closed!

Note to Bernstein: In order to demonstrate causality, you have to show that: (1) there was a cause, (2) there was an effect, and (3) the cause influenced the effect.  Defenders of the stimulus bill are still stuck on #1: as of June, only 10% of all stimulus funds had been distributed.  Bernstein’s $200 billion “obligated or spent” figure—eerily reminiscent of the administration’s “jobs saved or created” trope—is untrustworthy, because the administration has already been caught lying about money committed to spending projects.

Given the miserable failure of the stimulus bill, naturally Congressional Democrats want… another stimulus bill!  According to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, “We need to be open to… further action.”  Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said that another stimulus would “probably take place towards the end of the year.”  Second-ranking Senate Democrat Dick Durbin said he would leave any decisions on passing another stimulus bill to “the president’s evaluation”—and we all know how cautious Barack “Fiscal Restraint” Obama will be.  Stan Collender, former Congressional budget analyst, said that another stimulus bill may be possible if the economy gets worse: “Right now it doesn’t seem to be justified…  Come September, it might be.”

The first stimulus package was “a bit too small,” according to Laura Tyson, member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times, “O.K., Thursday’s jobs report settles it.  We’re going to need a bigger stimulus.”  Biden advisor Bernstein says, “There is no conceivable stimulus package on the face of this earth that would fully offset the deepest recession since the Great Depression.”

Let’s see: the stimulus bill committed a record $787 billion in spending.  Tyson says it should have been “a bit” bigger.  Congressional Democrats and Krugman wanted it much bigger.  Bernstein admits it would have to be infinitely big to work.  Can we give Bernstein the award for inadvertent honesty on this one?

The clincher that the stimulus bill was an abject failure—and that another stimulus bill would be a repeat failure—is the fact that Wall Street has just hit a 10-week low after talk of a second stimulus package recently began.  Amateur analysts suggest that chatter about another stimulus bill is making investors nervous, because—get this—it shows that the economy might not be recovering.  According to Hugh Johnson of Johnson Illington Advisors, “When there’s talk about another stimulus plan, that adds fuel to that fire, it intensifies the concerns about the timing and strength of the recovery.”

Is it possible, just possible, that investors are nervous, not because Congress’ hinting at a second stimulus package implies the economy is not recovering—which I think they can figure out on their own—but because Congress is hinting at a second stimulus package?

If Democrats aren’t persuaded by Republicans’ argument, backed up by ample historical data, that spending vast quantities of wealth not yet created does not stimulate the economy in the long term, could they at least admit their little experiment failed and try the Republican option for a change?

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Scott Spiegel is the editor of ScottSpiegel.com

Article has been published with permission


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Democrats Demand Sartorial Handicap in Health Care Reform Debate

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-08-11 21:21:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Scott-Spiegelby Scott Spiegel
August 8, 2009
ScottSpiegel.com

Senator Barbara Boxer recently declared that, before the current round of town hall meetings on health care reform, the last time she had seen such suspiciously well-dressed protestors was during the 2000 Florida election recount. Well, yes—until Obama’s presidency, that’s the last time Republicans showed up en masse to get really angry about something; screaming and chanting are political tactics more naturally suited to the left.

As for the couture angle—here’s a newsflash for Boxer: Republicans have higher standards than Democrats. A typical left-wing protest involves twenty-somethings in ratty T-shirts and shredded jeans breaking windows at a local Starbucks during the midmorning rush.

The typical right-wing protest—invariably held in the evening, since attendees have jobs in the daytime—involves adults who dress as though they would like to elevate community standards, not degrade them. Participants address their concerns directly to those in power, such as legislators, rather than assailing defenseless third parties, such as coffee franchise employees. The fact that most conservative protestors come directly from work may explain why they wear suits and skirts; but apparently Senate Democrats believe opinions are valid only if expressed by people sporting “Kill Bush” buttons and Birkenstocks.

When Boxer and other Congressional Democrats realized that Americans don’t view “well-dressed” as an epithet, they moved in the opposite direction: they claimed that the protestors were scruffy rabble-rousers after all. House Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted that she had seen demonstrators “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.” Translation: One protestor had a swastika with a slash through it, and others were displaying American flags and ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ banners—you know, symbols like swastikas.

Saddling protestors with the “brownshirt” label didn’t work, so Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina warned Democrats who were planning town hall meetings, “If you get hit… punch back twice as hard.”

Evidently some representatives took this message literally: at a town hall meeting in Ohio, Representative Russ Carnahan hired union organizers to deny entry to citizens who looked as though they might oppose health care reform legislation, several of whom were promptly mauled by union thugs and sent to the hospital. Outside, black conservative Kenneth Gladney was racially slandered and physically attacked and sent to the emergency room by an unidentified opponent for handing out ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags. Protestors were also roughed up at a meeting held by Florida Representatives Kathy Castor and Betty Reed.

Naturally, Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid’s response to this onslaught of leftist violence and intimidation was… to blame Republicans for not minding their manners. Reid accused protesters of attempting to “sabotage” the process; he said, “These are nothing more than destructive efforts to interrupt a debate… They are doing this because they don’t have any better ideas.”

Well, yes, actually, we do have one or two, which you may not have heard, because we’ve only been ranting about them for the past, oh, two decades: malpractice tort reform, Medicare reform, health savings accounts, healthcare tax credits, vouchers for private insurance, and pay for performance. More generally, competition in the private market for health insurance, and individual autonomy regarding level and type of coverage and risk tolerance. Other than that, we’re flush out of ideas!

In an effort to quell dissatisfaction among constituents, Democrats in Congress finally decided to listen to town hall participants’ ideas and give thoughtful responses that address their concerns. Just kidding! The latest tactics being employed by congressmen across the nation are: (1) showing up at town hall meetings, reciting a few talking points, claiming the crowd is too boisterous when they open their mouths, and leaving; (2) announcing meetings at the last minute in the hope that no one will attend; and (3) holding “virtual” town hall meetings.

For example, Representative Kathy Castor’s spokeswoman defended Castor’s abbreviated appearance in Florida by stating, “We said all along our role was to come and give an update on the bill in Congress… [T]hat’s what we did.” And that’s what websites are for.

Michigan Representative John Dingell waited to announce last Thursday’s 6pm town hall meeting until Thursday morning. Word of mouth spread, however, and Dingell faced hundreds of constituents who were not impressed by his deceitful maneuver.

At least Castor and Dingell showed up in person; other congressmen, such as Representative Brian Baird of Washington, are planning virtual “meetings” with constituents. According to The Columbian, “If you happen to be sitting near a publicly listed Clark County telephone line on the right day at the right time, your phone will ring… [T]he exact date and time will be kept secret from the public… [A]n automated message will ask whether you have a question… Sitting at his own telephone at an as-yet-undisclosed location, Baird then will choose a name based on its location and the topic… After the call is over, the recording will be posted on his Web site.”

Baird helpfully notes that this system will allow for “a much better cross-section of the public”; by which he means “a cross-section of the public that is not knowledgeable or concerned enough to attend a town hall meeting.” Note to Baird: There’s a reason they’re called “town hall meetings,” not “prescreened anonymous secret one-way teleconference recordings.”

In the end, some congressmen have decided to simply give up on their constituents. New York Representative Tim Bishop chose to suspend town hall meetings in his district until late August—you know, when just everyone will be around—because he concluded that there was no point in facing an “unruly mob.” Senator Claire McCaskill similarly issued a last-minute cancellation of a scheduled event due to “safety” concerns.

In the same way that Democrats denigrate protestors who adhere to a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” standard, they have sunk to a new low: projecting their own party’s historic propensity for mob rule and violent agitprop onto frail, elderly grandparents in bowties and cardigans.

 

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Scott Spiegel is the editor of ScottSpiegel.com

Article has been published with permission

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Hasan Lawyer Considers Twinkie Defense, “American Panic Defense”

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-11-11 22:47:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Moment of Silence for Fort Hood

Image by The U.S. Army via Flickr

by Scott Spiegel
ScottSpiegel.com
November 11, 2009

The problem with hate crime legislation is that it creates special classes of minorities who receive greater protection from harassment via harsher penalties for their would-be assailants.  One upshot of this approach is that groups perceived as chronically threatened because of their identity are given greater benefit of the doubt in bias-motivated crimes they commit against other groups.

If there were ever a group that U.S. law should consider shielding through hate crime legislation, it is: Americans.  The U.S. should be uniquely interested in protecting its citizens against attacks for being residents of this country, in the same way it protects its citizens against foreign attacks and its soldiers against enemies on the battleground.

If there were ever a setting in which pro-American hate crime protections should be enforced, it is in the military.  American soldiers, more than any other group, actively display dedication to pro-American ideals.

If there were ever a cultural group in modern times that has demonstrated persistent, widespread hostility toward and willingness to engage in violent attacks against Americans, especially Americans in the military, it is radical Islamists.

Naturally, army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, who adhered to extremist Islamist ideology, sought connections with Al Qaeda, and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he massacred 13 soldiers and wounded dozens at Fort Hood last week, is being portrayed by the mainstream media and the present administration as a guy who needs OSHA counseling.

Muslim apologists have been telling us to not jump to conclusions (except that the killings were caused by stress), that the murders weren’t related to Islam, that it’s “speculation” that the military ignored warning signs regarding Hasan.  We get clueless gems like this from the New York Times on Monday: “It is unclear what might have motivated Major Hasan.”  Wusses like Lindsey Graham don’t help by claiming that the murders were “not about his religion—the fact that this man was a Muslim.”  (Wait—isn’t that a conclusion?)  It takes a hawk like Joe Lieberman to initiate hearings into Hasan’s conduct and the military’s failure to eject him for anti-American actions in which he engaged for years.


In the interest of preventing future attacks, I propose that we learn from the following warning signs:

•    Hasan identified as an Islamic fundamentalist, advocated for Muslims to “rise up and attack Americans” in retaliation for war against Muslims abroad, and espoused anti-Semitic views.

•    Hasan rejoiced over the murder of an army recruiter in Arkansas in June by an American convert to Islam.  According to Colonel Terry Lee, who worked with Hasan at Fort Hood, after the attack Hasan helpfully suggested, “Maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Times Square.”

•    In 2003 Sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar—another American convert—slaughtered two U.S. soldiers and wounded 14 more in a grenade and rifle attack on a base in Kuwait in retaliation for the war in Iraq.  (I wonder how Hasan felt about that?)

•    Classmates in Hasan’s master’s program complained of his anti-American views and his insistence that Sharia outweighs U.S. constitutional law.

•    Fellow psychiatrists reported that, at a Grand Rounds talk during his residency, Hasan lectured his audience on Koranic justice, including the proscription to behead nonbelievers and/or pour hot oil down their throats and set them on fire.  Hasan defended suicide bombers, a position he has taken in postings on jihad-themed websites.

•    Hassan called the war on terror a war on Islam and said that military service for the U.S. is incompatible with Muslim beliefs.  (He may be on to something!  About 0.6% of the country identifies as Muslim, compared to only 0.25% of the military.)  Hasan argued that Muslim soldiers should be exempted from combat due to their status as conscientious objectors.

•    At Fort Hood, Hasan received warnings from supervisors for attempting to convert his patients to Islam, though he maintains it was entirely their choice whether to receive castor oil or hot oil for their remedies.

•    The FBI had been investigating Hasan since 2008 and was aware he had sent dozens of e-mails to Al Qaeda spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki.  Hasan and his family attended the mosque in Falls Church, Virginia where al-Awlaki served as imam in the months leading up to September 11 and two of the 9/11 hijackers worshiped.

Even if Hasan’s admonitions to slaughter infidels were not evidence enough to convict him of some kind of crime, he should have been ruled unfit for his position by military officials.

Hate crime legislation has been justified as necessary due to specious defenses offered for crimes against minority groups, such as the claim by lawyers for Harvey Milk’s assassin that junk food contributed to his inability to control his actions, or the “homosexual panic defense” that some who feel threatened by advances from a gay person enter a state of irrationality that prompts them to murderously strike out.  Hate crime laws have also been offered to cover minority groups whom police might not adequately protect due to racial bias.  The solution to specious legal defenses and lapses in police enforcement is to treat members of all groups equally, not some better than others.

As a consequence of this inverted mentality, we are warned by our political leaders to ignore the cause of obviously jihad-motivated killing of U.S. soldiers and swallow spurious explanations for the massacre such as stress over anticipated deployment in Afghanistan or the inability of a trained psychiatrist to listen to stories from combat veterans.

The latest enlightened word, from Fort Hood base commander Lieutenant General Robert Cone, regarding the military’s plan to prevent future violence: “What we’re looking for is people with personal problems, not at all related to their religion—not at all.”

I hear the sugar rush from the Halloween candy civilians sent soldiers in care packages can lead them to do some crazy things.


Scott Spiegel writes for the ScottSpiegel.com blog
Article published with the author’s permission

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