On Wednesday, the trial of former Soviet military officer and arms dealer Viktor Bout, 45, opened in the U.S. district court in Manhattan with a strong assertions from Assistant Attorney Brendan McGuire. “One hundred surface to air missiles, 20,000 machine guns, 20,000 grenades, 740 mortars, 350 sniper rifles, 10 million rounds of ammunition and five tons of C-4 explosives,” McGuire told the jury in his opening statement. “Viktor Bout wanted to provide all of it to a foreign terrorist organization he believed wanted to kill Americans. He had the experience to do it, he had the expertise to do it, he had the will do it. He wanted to do it.” McGuire asked the court, “Why — for the money?” According to Viktor Bout’s own words, as recounted by the undercover DEA agent responsible for Bout’s capture, Louis Milione, in a television interview on the CBS show 60 Minutes, prior to his arrest Bout told Milione that he would be able to supply "anti-personnel mines. Fragmentation grenades. Armor-piercing rockets. Money laundering services. And all within the context of speaking about a shared ideology of communism and fighting against the Americans.” (Emphasis added.)
Now that the Senate has officially and resoundingly defeated President Obama’s jobs bill (The American Jobs Act), the question remains: just how do real jobs grow? Matt Welch, writing in the November issue of Reason magazine, reminds his readers of what doesn’t work: government promotion of ideology. The Solyndra debacle is the most recent but not the only example. In May 2010 the President gushed over the positive impact Solyndra was having in growing jobs in the “green” sector:
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been pressuring the National Park Service to locate sites related to the histories of women and minorities, particularly Latinos, which could be added to the National Register of Historic Places or otherwise preserved as parks or properties.
The UN's list of climate-change tricks continues to grow with news this week from the World Climate Report. It accuses the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of predicting exaggerated risks of extreme weather attributed to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). In its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), IPCC made the claim that "intense precipitation events" have been increasing in severity across more than half of the globe since 1950. It based the finding on a method called the fixed bin approach, which categorizes average daily rainfall into ranges or "bins" (e.g., one-half to one inch, one to two inches, or more than two inches) and ranks these bins as a percentile of all precipitation events. However, when used to determine trends in annual precipitation, the fixed bin method can produce false results indicating extremely severe storms that were not actually so harsh. Long before AR4's publication, researchers with the University of Virginia, the University of Colorado, the Cato Institute, and New Hope Environmental Services exposed fixed bin flaws in the 2004 International Journal of Climatology.
Pennsylvania’s Messiah College provoked some fierce controversy when it invited leftist professor Frances Fox Piven to speak during its annual American Democracy Lecture. During Piven’s appearance on Tuesday night, she was greeted cordially by students and faculty alike, but the overwhelming opposition to her message was made clear by pointed questions and well-placed boos. The college, which is a Christian higher education facility located in Grantham, Pennsylvania, described Piven as a “Distringuished professor of political science and sociology at the graduate school and University Center of the City University of New York.” Piven is well-known for her radicalism and continued push for a nationwide embrace of extreme leftism. Piven is famous for her 1960s Cloward-Piven Strategy, named after Piven and her husband Richard Andrew Cloward, of “deliberate economic sabotage.” The Cloward-Piven Strategy sought to “hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the renegade Catholic who is not permitted to receive communion, told a group of abortion advocates that she joined them in being "at war” with Republicans on the abortion issue. Speaking before the radically pro-abortion organization NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League), Sebelius accused Republicans of trying to “roll back” women’s rights and the “progress” they have made during the sexual revolution.
Breaking news yesterday revealed that U.S. law enforcement officials thwarted a plot to kill Adel A. Al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the story as it went viral. According to the FBI and DEA, the plot, allegedly backed by the Iranian government, was to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States in a conspiracy involving a secret Iranian military unit and a citizen of the Islamic republic with a U.S. passport. Holder reported that the plan “was directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government. High-up officials in those agencies, which is an integral part of the Iranian government, were responsible.” He added, “In addition to holding these individual conspirators accountable for their alleged role in this plot, the United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions.”
Oh happy day! A check from the government! No, not a welfare check or a “stimulus” check, but a refund check to your editor from the U.S. Department of the Treasury — for tax year 2007. Seems the IRS — a division of the Treasury — with which this scribbler has had a running feud, has surrendered. After years of dunning me with claims that I owe thousands in back taxes and penalties, the good folks at the IRS have shown mercy; they have agreed with me that I overpaid my taxes. And they have generously deigned to return several thousand dollars of my meager salary that they had previously confiscated — with interest, no less! What’s not to love about a government so kind, and munificent? Of course, in order to obtain the refund (of my own money), yours truly was forced to spend a couple hundred hours of indentured servitude researching, copying, and documenting records and receipts. Not to mention hundreds of dollars in accounting fees. Even worse though is the incredible invasion of privacy one faces for the decision to itemize deductions and business expenses, in the hope of retaining a fraction more of one’s hard-earned income. But after all, Big Brother must know of, and approve of, every penny earned and spent by the taxpayer — to keep us all honest, and keep us all paying our “fair share,” so that the government can keep doing all the wonderful things it does for us, right? That’s the “American way,” yes?
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills into law that will dramatically impact how normal people are forced to deal with cross-dressers, sex-change recipients, and others labeled “transgendered” throughout the state. One of the laws, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, “takes existing protections based on gender identity and expression and enumerates them as protected categories in nondiscrimination laws,” explained the bill’s sponsor, California Assemblywoman Toni Atkins. “In addition, the bill clarifies that gender identity and expression are included in the definition of gender and sex in all California codes.” What that all boils down to, explained Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, is that “employers have to allow men to dress like women at work, if that’s their means of ‘gender expression.’” The pro-family group explained that six governmental departments—civil, education, government, insurance, labor, and penal — will be affected by the new law.
A Maryland commission will be offering a recommendation to increase the state’s gas taxes, raise vehicle registration fees, and employ a catalog of new tax hikes to augment roughly $870 million a year in new transportation revenue. Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding settled on a 15-cents-a-gallon tax hike over three consecutive years, which if approved, would inflate the current 23.5-cents-a-gallon tax to 38.5 cents. Maryland officials plead that the state needs $12 billion to fulfill its transportation needs, and they are predicting a $1 billion shortfall in fiscal 2013. The commission will make their recommendation to the Democrat-led General Assembly and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) next month. "I think this is a really balanced and reasonable approach," said Gus Bauman, the commission’s chairman. "It gives the governor and the General Assembly something to start debating." Mr. Bauman said the assembly will make a formal endorsement of the plan at its next meeting in late October. "We all knew this day was going to come, and we’re going to have to make tough decisions," said Bauman, referencing the group’s onerous charge to rescue the state’s exhausted Transportation Trust Fund.