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Friday, May 26, 2017

US plans first test of ICBM intercept, with NKorea on mind (from @AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) - With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.

The plan is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland. The test is scheduled for next Tuesday.

The U.S. interceptor has a spotty track record, having succeeded in nine of 17 attempts since 1999 and only one in the last four. The most recent test, in June 2014, was successful.

North Korea is now the focus of U.S. missile defense efforts because it vows to soon field a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching American territory. It has yet to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Pros and Cons of Trump's Budget and Cons of Dem Demagoguery

David Limbaugh 

Demagoguery and propaganda are enemies of good governance, but nowhere is that more apparent than in the federal budget, on which Democrats are shameless and too many Republicans are feckless.

Sages from American history presciently predicted that our republic would be in jeopardy if voters acquired the power to vote themselves money from the public trough. The U.S. Constitution did not contemplate that the federal government and federal politicians would be able to secure their elective offices through legislative transfers of wealth, but the sordid practice has been with us for decades, and we are paying the price.

Politicians can safely argue, in general terms, that we must balance the budget, but when they dare to provide specifics, they face charges of heartlessness. Well, it used to be heartlessness. Now Democrats have sunk to further depths to describe Republican efforts to cut or even just reduce the rate of spending increases as hateful, mean-spirited and simply evil. Never mind that if we don't quit this recklessness, someday we'll witness a fiscal catastrophe that will devastate the very people Democrats are pretending to protect.

Some sanguine politicians and pundits through the years have glibly dismissed concerns over the explosive growth of the deficits and debt as hyperventilating. "We'll be fine. What's all the fuss?"

Sadly, these experts on everything except common sense fail to recognize that when you continue to ignore the main drivers of federal spending, eventually they are going to be virtually impossible to reform, and in the meantime, they will severely retard economic growth.

Liberals have an easy job. All they need to do is promise benefits and apply dishonest marketing strategies to paint themselves as caring and their opponents as ogres. They don't need to designate how those benefits will be funded, and they slam the so-called rich for not paying their fair share -- an abominably false claim.

With health care, for example, they make insurance coverage the issue rather than affordable, accessible health care with maximum consumer choice over health care providers and insurance plans. This insurance coverage criterion is grossly misleading but effective at deceiving the public.

Our health care system under Obamacare is unsustainable, yet Democrats will not help reform it. Our federal fiscal condition is unsustainable, yet Democrats actively obstruct any real remedies.

President Obama didn't even try to balance the budget with any of his unrealistically optimistic projected budgets. He didn't even bother because he wasn't worried about the government's living within its means. He was focused on transferring wealth and using taxpayer money to fund a smorgasbord of leftist projects, from environmental boondoggles to dangerous Iranian nuclear deals.

President Trump's first budget, however, exposes fault lines throughout the political system, not just among Democrats. To his credit, Trump at least aspires to balance the budget within 10 years based on certain growth assumptions. He proposed substantial spending reductions (at least reductions in the rate of increase and some actual cuts -- e.g., $1.4 trillion from Medicaid, $1.5 trillion from nondefense discretionary spending, $274 billion from certain welfare programs and some from Social Security disability) in certain areas that even some Republican politicians have previously been afraid to tackle, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the State Department, including welfare reform.

Democrats and liberal commentators didn't wait half a news cycle to descend on Trump with full-throated moral condemnation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump's budget is "literally a killer" for the American people. The always winsome Hillary Clinton denounced the budget as "an unimaginable level of cruelty." MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said Trump's budget is "hateful" and people are "scared as hell." Where have you gone, Joe (DiMaggio)? MSNBC's Chris Matthews said the budget was written for "the wealthy people." Republican John McCain and sidekick Lindsey Graham piously pronounced the proposal DOA.

So plaudits for Trump for these relatively bold proposals. Regrettably, however, Trump did not include any provisions to reform Medicare or Social Security retirement benefits. This is no surprise, because Trump campaigned on protecting these entitlements. The current proposals for health care reform also cloud the issue in a way that can't yet be measured.

So here's where we are. Trump deserves serious credit for his proposed action on discretionary spending -- credit because these necessary cuts are the very type that lend themselves to Democratic and media demagoguery. He also deserves credit for at least trying to balance the budget in the next decade. We need to call out demagogic leftist critics for fraudulently framing these efforts as cruel and for deliberately ignoring that we have a duty to rein in spending.

On the other hand, conservatives need to talk truth to Trump about the entitlements that his present budget fails to address. Admittedly, the Democrats' reaction to these proposed cuts in discretionary spending is just a foretaste of what they'd do if Trump were to propose reforming entitlements. Regardless, if Trump wants to make a long-term impact on America's fiscal stability, he must address entitlements within the next few years.

With that caveat, I'm praising Trump for the good-faith incremental steps he's taken with this budget. Let's give praise where it's due and constructively criticize when appropriate.

After the Confederates, Who's Next?

Pat Buchanan 

On Sept. 1, 1864, Union forces under Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, victorious at Jonesborough, burned Atlanta and began the March to the Sea where Sherman's troops looted and pillaged farms and towns all along the 300-mile road to Savannah.

Captured in the Confederate defeat at Jonesborough was William Martin Buchanan of Okolona, Mississippi, who was transferred by rail to the Union POW stockade at Camp Douglas, Illinois.

By the standards of modernity, my great-grandfather, fighting to prevent the torching of Georgia's capital, was engaged in a criminal and immoral cause. And "Uncle Billy" Sherman was a liberator.

Under President Grant, Sherman took command of the Union army and ordered Gen. Philip Sheridan, who had burned the Shenandoah Valley to starve Virginia into submission, to corral the Plains Indians on reservations.

It is in dispute as to whether Sheridan said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." There is no dispute as to the contempt Sheridan had for the Indians, killing their buffalo to deprive them of food.

Today, great statues stand in the nation's capital, along with a Sherman and a Sheridan circle, to honor these most ruthless of generals in that bloodiest of wars that cost 620,000 American lives.

Yet, across the South and even in border states like Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri, one may find statues of Confederate soldiers in town squares to honor the valor and sacrifices of the Southern men and boys who fought and fell in the Lost Cause.

When the Spanish-American War broke out, President McKinley, who as a teenage soldier had fought against "Stonewall" Jackson in the Shenandoah and been at Antietam, bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War, removed his hat and stood for the singing of "Dixie," as Southern volunteers and former Confederate soldiers paraded through Atlanta to fight for their united country. My grandfather was in that army.

For a century, Americans lived comfortably with the honoring, North and South, of the men who fought on both sides.

But today's America is not the magnanimous country we grew up in.

Since the '60s, there has arisen an ideology that holds that the Confederacy was the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany and those who fought under its battle flag should be regarded as traitors or worse.

Thus, in New Orleans, statues of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, and General Robert E. Lee were just pulled down. And a drive is underway to take down the statue of Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans and president of the United States, which stands in Jackson Square.

Why? Old Hickory was a slave owner and Indian fighter who used his presidential power to transfer the Indians of Georgia out to the Oklahoma Territory in a tragedy known as the Trail of Tears.

But if Jackson, and James K. Polk, who added the Southwest and California to the United States after the Mexican-American War, were slave owners, so, too, were four of our first five presidents.

The list includes the father of our country, George Washington, the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, and the author of our Constitution, James Madison.

Not only are the likenesses of Washington and Jefferson carved on Mount Rushmore, the two Virginians are honored with two of the most magnificent monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C.

Behind this remorseless drive to blast the greatest names from America's past off public buildings, and to tear down their statues and monuments, is an egalitarian extremism rooted in envy and hate.

Among its core convictions is that spreading Christianity was a cover story for rapacious Europeans who, after discovering America, came in masses to dispossess and exterminate native peoples. "The white race," wrote Susan Sontag, "is the cancer of human history."

Today, the men we were taught to revere as the great captains, explorers, missionaries and nation-builders are seen by many as part of a racist, imperialist, genocidal enterprise, wicked men who betrayed and eradicated the peace-loving natives who had welcomed them.

What they blindly refuse to see is that while its sins are scarlet, as are those of all civilizations, it is the achievements of the West that are unrivaled. The West ended slavery. Christianity and the West gave birth to the idea of inalienable human rights.

As scholar Charles Murray has written, 97 percent of the world's most significant figures and 97 percent of the world's greatest achievements in the arts, architecture, literature, astronomy, biology, earth sciences, physics, medicine, mathematics and technology came from the West.

What is disheartening is not that there are haters of our civilization out there, but that there seem to be fewer defenders.

Of these icon-smashers it may be said: Like ISIS and Boko Haram, they can tear down statues, but these people could never build a country.

What happens, one wonders, when these Philistines discover that the seated figure in the statue, right in front of D.C.'s Union Station, is the High Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Christopher Columbus?

Unadulterated Evil: Remembering Manchester

Raymond Ibrahim Video: The History of Islamic Jihad

Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, recently appeared on Colliding Worldviews, hosted by Tony Gurule.  A number of important topics—ranging from the Crusades and Islamic history to contemporary politics and U.S. foreign policy—were discussed in the one-hour long interview, which follows:

Remember When The Media Used To Love Russia And Ignored Foreign Election Interference?

It is instructive to place the current hysteria over Russia’s meddling in American elections and other internal affairs in historical context. There is nothing new about Russia meddling in American politics or resorting to dirty tricks to reach its goals. However, when similar incidents occurred in the past, the “progressive” media was, remarkably, on the opposite side of the ideological divide.

Rewind the clock all the way back to the late 1940s and early 1950s. The United States and the Soviet Union were in the middle of the Cold War. This is just a small sample of what happened in the world then: the Berlin blockade; the Korean War; Mao Zedong’s Communist forces defeated Chiang Kai-shek; and pro-Soviet parties took full control of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania and executed their opponents after brief show trials.

There was no shortage of brazen incidents in the United States involving Soviet agents and American law enforcement. Many groups with innocuous names like the “World Peace Council” were set up or supported by the Communist Party and fronts for KGB programs. This is what Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB general, said in an interview with CNN:

In that sense, the Soviet intelligence [was] really unparalleled. … The [KGB] programs — which would run all sorts of congresses, peace congresses, youth congresses, festivals, women’s movements, trade union movements, campaigns against U.S. missiles in Europe, campaigns against neutron weapons, allegations that AIDS … was invented by the CIA … all sorts of forgeries and faked material — [were] targeted at politicians, the academic community, at [the] public at large.

Yet the progressive media in the United States mocked and dismissed such accusations by calling them “looking for a Red under every bed;” “witch hunt;” “red menace;” and even “better Red than dead.” It did not just circle the wagons, they glorified the Soviet Union. Here are two striking examples illustrating the aura of that time and the mindset of progressive America.

My Friend’s Death Is Nothing to the Soviet Union

As a child living in Moscow, I remember songs recorded by Paul Robeson, an actor and singer with a beautiful bass voice. Robeson was a darling of the American Left because he praised the Soviet Union. He was accorded a hero’s welcome during his concerts in Moscow where, among other songs, he sang a famous Soviet patriotic song proclaiming, “I know of no other such country where a man can breathe so freely.”

Robeson knew, or should have known, that millions of Soviet citizens could not breathe freely, as they were languishing in the Gulag for “crimes” like having been prisoners of war in World War II. Here is an especially tragic episode described in several books (see references to them in this Wikipedia article).

One of the Gulag prisoners was Soviet poet Itzik Feffer, who happened to be Robeson’s personal friend. Soviet propaganda denied Feffer’s arrest, but Robeson knew the truth. Yet when Robeson returned to the United States, he flatly denied the fact that Feffer or any other political prisoners were in Soviet jails. Robeson’s biographers attribute that to his reluctance to criticize the Soviet Union.

A couple of years later, Feffer was executed, along with a group of 12 other Jewish poets and writers in what became known as “The Night of the Murdered Poets.” Had Robeson spoken out against Feffer’s persecution, he may have saved his life. Instead, he chose to betray his friend for the sake of political expediency.

Of Course You’ve Heard of the Rosenbergs

The second example is more widely known. It involves the ultimate martyrs of the progressive causes of that time: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. They were U.S. citizens convicted of passing atomic weapons secrets to the USSR and executed for treason in 1953. The progressive media portrayed the Rosenbergs as victims of McCarthyism and even anti-Semitism. Many activists had insisted on the Rosenbergs’ total innocence up until their court transcripts were released. Now they generally admit Julius’s guilt, and just claim Ethel played a relatively minor role and thus should have been spared execution.

Examples aside, what is a rational explanation of this love-hate reversal? The media usually cites such reasons as Russia’s intimidation of its neighbors, taking over their territory and murdering dissidents, including journalists. Although the same applies to other countries, notably to China, the progressive American media does not show nearly as much indignation toward them as it does toward Russia.

In 2015, for example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that 21.7 million personnel records of government employees were stolen. The records included personal data and even fingerprints, which, for example, could be used to identify Central Intelligence Agency agents in China. The breach was linked to the Chinese military, but it did not generate nearly as much indignation as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) breach.

And Where Is the Outrage about China?

One may argue that interference in the electoral process is so egregious that it eclipses all Chinese wrongdoings. Alas, the Chinese have interfered in the electoral processes in the United States, too. During the 1996 campaign there was a scandal called Chinagate, when the DNC received an illegal donation. The donor was a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Taiwan and named Johnny Chung, but the money was traced to the Chinese military. The DNC had to return the donation, but it was hardly a major event in 1996.

Chinagate was not about financial improprieties. When the Chinese military gave money to a certain candidate, it tried to influence the election. The same Johnny Chung visited the White House 49 times between 1994 and 1996. Nearly half of those visits were authorized by the office of the first lady. Chinagate involved many other brazen elements, but no independent investigator was ever appointed.

Hence, we have to conclude that, while Russia may be guilty of all or many wrongdoings attributed to it, there is no rational justification for the current hysterical wave of Russophobia the progressive media is fueling. The explanation must lie not with Russia per se, but rather with the “mysterious progressive soul.” Instead of psychoanalyzing this soul, let me just rephrase Winston Churchill’s famous quote: The progressive soul is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Read More Here

Trump's Budget Seeks Big Cuts to UN Funding


The dictator-dominated United Nations is in a panic, claiming that it will be “impossible” for it to continue its allegedly “essential work” under budget cuts outlined in President Donald Trump's proposed budget for next year. While the proposed cuts to U.S. taxpayer funding of the UN are not quite the 50 percent rollbacks previously discussed by the administration, the savings could nevertheless play a significant role in reining in the out-of-control UN. All funding for UN “global warming” schemes, for instance, would be slashed. However, globalists in Congress and the establishment media are already howling, ensuring a battle ahead as the UN meddles more and more in U.S. affairs.

Read More Here