May 1, 2012

May Day, May Day: That’s the Day (U.S. Time) OBL Was Killed (Update: ‘Loyalty Day’)

The Navy Seals conducted their raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan at about 4 p.m. Eastern Time in the U.S. on the afternoon of Sunday, May 1, 2011. President Obama’s White House speech came late that evening, but before midnight.

Although it happened to be 1 a.m. in Pakistan when the raid was carried out, it’s reasonable to ask why we should be celebrating the anniversary of his death one year and one day after it was carried out (per our time zones) and one year and one day after we were informed of it.

The only justification I can see for this is that the Obama administration wants to keep future May 1sts clear for May Day demonstrations. If that’s the case, it still doesn’t fly; V-J Day after World War II was celebrated on August 14, 1945 day the U.S., on U.S. time, learned that the Japanese were surrendering — not August 15, the day Japan surrendered per Japan time. The same should go for OBL’s demise.

They do seem quite determined, even dating the president’s speech at the White House’s web site May 2 even though the speech was delivered on May 1, and even though the time stamp on the same page says May 1:

WhiteHouseOBLdateDiffsMay2011

Here’s a far more fascinating question: Obama, informed of the strategy for taking Osama out, told his advisers and military folk that he would have to sleep on it before deciding whether to approve it. That 16-hour delay pushed the operation in May 2 Pakistan time. Was the real motivation behind sleeping on it to push the operation past May Day? Would you really put it past Barack Obama to do that?

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UPDATE, May 2: Now May 1 is “Loyalty Day,” according to a White House press release (HT Reason) supported by a Congressional resolution. I predict that a few years from now any attempt by a Republican or conservative administration to invoke “Loyalty Day” will be characterized as some kind of fascist or similar plot, and that its origins and the related presidential proclamation will be ignored.

FBI: Five Arrested in Plot to Blow Up Cleveland-Area Bridge (#OccupyCleveland Connection? Update: YES)

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:15 pm

Originally posted at 11:00 a.m. Carried to the top at 10:15 p.m.

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From WKYC in Cleveland:

The FBI says five people have been arrested in a plot to blow up the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

According to a written release, Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on April 30 on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.

The three are self-proclaimed anarchists, according to the FBI.

Charges against two other men, Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, are pending.

The arrests came as part of an FBI sting and federal officials say, “There was never any danger.”

The FBI says the explosive devices were in the control of an undercover FBI agent. The five were under close surveillance. The explosives the group allegedly purchased and allegedly attempted to use were inoperable.

It would be interesting to see where the five went for external encouragement.

It seems from a Facebook profile of a “Tony Hayne” (which I won’t link because I’m not sure) that the “Anthony Hayne” whose arrest is referenced above “worked at” #OccupyCleveland. If that’s the guy, score that as a big “/surprise.”

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UPDATE: From the FBI Cleveland office’s press release

According to that complaint, Wright, Baxter, and Hayne are self-proclaimed anarchists who formed into a small group and considered a series of evolving plots over several months.

The initial plot involved the use of smoke grenades to distract law enforcement in order for the co-conspirators to topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland, according to the complaint.

The plot later developed to the utilization of explosive materials. The defendants conspired to obtain C-4 explosives contained in two improvised explosive devices to be placed and remotely detonated, according to the complaint.

The defendants discussed various bridges and physical targets in and around the Cleveland metropolitan area over the course of several months. The final plan resulted in the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge being the designated target. This bridge crosses from Brecksville, Ohio to Sagamore Hills, Ohio over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to the complaint.

“The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” said U.S. Attorney Dettelbach. “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”

UPDATE 2: The bridge is 1,130 feet long, and 20 feet wide.

UPDATE 3, May 2, 7:20 a.m. (replaces original item posted on May 1 with better information): The photo found here at Facebook for a Tony Hayne who “worked at #OccupyCleveland” matches the mug shot of Anthony Hayne.

UPDATE 4: As seen here (scroll down a bit), “Tony Hayne” was a big enough fan of #OccupyCleveland to say that he would attend the group’s six-month anniversary.

UPDATE 5, 10 p.m.: Dan Riehl at Breitbart’s Big Government outpost confirmed yours truly’s suspicions this afternoon –

Another of today’s suspects is Anthony Hayne, named previously in a report on Occupy Cleveland. “I just want to be very clear: we are not occupying Lakewood,” said Anthony Hayne, who is organizing the information session. Hayne, a Lakewood resident since 2001, said there will be about six or seven members of Occupy Cleveland, which stems from the Occupy Wall Street movement, at the table Saturday.

Barack Obama embraced the Occupy Movement when he saw his poll numbers sliding. Now, with so called Occupiers calling themselves anarchists and hurling Molotov Cocktails, that’s still apparently not far enough for some. CBS has the names and official complaint here. The plot is now directly linked to the Occupy movement.

Hayne was also involved with #Occupy recruiting in suburban Cleveland in October of last year.

Another one of those arrested, Brandon Baxter, per the Breitbart link, was “one of the few remaining members of Occupy Cleveland’s physical presence downtown” when interviewed in March.

UPDATE 6, May 2, 7:50 a.m.: At the Smoking Gun — “Of the five men arrested, four were involved in the Occupy Cleveland movement, according to their Facebook profiles, a news story, and a federal criminal complaint.”

May 1: Best Commemorated as ‘Victims of Communism Day’

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:53 pm

At Volokh (HT Instapundit) Ilya Somin explains:

May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists. But over time, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes and used as a propaganda tool to prop up their regimes. I suggest that we instead use it as a day to commemorate those regimes’ millions of victims. The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the total at 80 to 100 million dead, greater than that caused by all other twentieth century tyrannies combined. We appropriately have a Holocaust Memorial Day. It is equally appropriate to commemorate the victims of the twentieth century’s other great totalitarian tyranny. And May Day is the most fitting day to do so. I suggest that May Day be turned into Victims of Communism Day

Agreed.

The number of victims of communism are greater than those of the Holocaust (11 million – 17 million) — in two countries:

  • China — 70 million (see below)
  • Soviet Union — 20 million

And there is, in a sense, far more denial, at least in the Western world (Islamists thus excluded), at work with communism than there has ever been with Nazi Germany. It takes the form of the academics’ tired assertion that “Well, communism hasn’t ever really been tried,” or “the people who ran it didn’t do it right.”

Horse manure. Communism “properly” applied (and it has been applied in virtually “pure” from numerous times, with uniformly disastrous results) will always have to deal with the problem of those who won’t go along with the inevitable totalitarian regime which must accompany any attempt to universally impose communism. Mass imprisonment, “reeducation” camps, and mass murder are inevitable, unavoidable by-products. In the Internet era, you see it in eliminationist rhetoric found in blog posts, tweets, and Facebook comments. Enough of them to matter don’t want those with whom they disagree defeated intellectually; they want them humiliated, stalked, and threatened — and if that doesn’t work, they want them dead.

Bill Ayers fully expected that if his Weather Underground group ever took over the country they would have to kill off 25 million Americans who would resist their rule.

Communism’s record of mass murder is also to an extent accepted as necessary evils by leftist elites. If you doubt, see this post from 2005, wherein I ripped Nick Kristof at the New York Times for his Mao excuse-making (“Mao’s legacy is not all bad”) in his response to a groundbreaking book. That book, “Mao: The Untold Story,” demonstrated that the Chinese communist regime’s death toll was far greater than originally thought:

Mao was responsible for the deaths of well over 70 million Chinese in peacetime, and he was bent on dominating the world. As China is today emerging as an economic and military power, the world can never regard it as a benign force unless Beijing rejects Mao and all his legacies.

… Mao caused the greatest famine in history by exporting food to Russia to buy nuclear and arms industries: 38 million people were starved and slave-driven to death in 1958-61. Mao knew exactly what was happening, saying: “half of China may well have to die.”

ISM Manufacturing Index Increases From 53.4% to 54.8% in April

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:21 am

From the Institute for Supply Management:

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 33rd consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 35th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.

… “The PMI registered 54.8 percent, an increase of 1.4 percentage points from March’s reading of 53.4 percent, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 33rd consecutive month. Sixteen of the 18 industries reflected overall growth in April, and the New Orders, Production and Employment Indexes all increased, indicating growth at faster rates than in March. The Prices Index for raw materials remained at 61 percent in April, the same rate as reported in March. Comments from the panel generally indicate stable to strong demand, with some concerns cited over increasing oil prices and European stability.”

PERFORMANCE BY INDUSTRY

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 16 are reporting growth in April …

So the roughly 15% of the economy which is manufacturing is, per ISM, doing fine. The Non Manufacturing report covering everything else comes out on Thursday.

Per Zero Hedge, expectations were for a reading of 53.0%, and today’s report runs counter to the Chicago-area report which showed a drop yesterday. For now, we’ll take it. I’m thinking this may be as good as it will get on the manufacturing side this year. We’ll see.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050112)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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President Obama is getting hammered from the sort-of right by John McCain (“the thing about heroes, they don’t brag”), the left by Arianna Huffington (“despicable”), and the SEALS who did the dirty work (“the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, ‘Come on, man!’”) for his spiking-the-football act and blatant politicization of the killing of Osama bin Laden a year ago. He deserves every hit he’s receiving.

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In the Wall Street Journal on Sunday (Warren Stephens: How Big Banks Threaten Our Economy) wrote “We should promote competition and innovation in the financial industry, not protect an oligopoly.”

Agreed. But Stephens took it way too far when he asserted that “eliminating the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that separated investment and commercial banks, was a mistake.” No, the mistake was letting any bank get bigger than 5% of total deposits, which at the time would have been a limit everyone could easily have agreed with (even 3% would have worked at the time).

For those who think that limiting bank size is unduly interventionist and anti-free market, look at the interventionist consequences of having banks which are bigger: the “too big to fail” mentality, which gave us TARP and which hasn’t gone away despite Dodd Frank, which big banks quietly love because they have the resources to comply and at least to an extent the legal teams to fight Uncle Sam in dispute situations their smaller competitors definitely don’t.

Stephens’ suggestion that banks with more than 5% of all deposits need to be brought down below that size is appropriate, and his belief that the broken-up parts are worth more than the whole is probably correct.

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At Best of the Web on Friday, Jim Taranto, observing the President’s appearances on entertainment shows, his and his campaign’s attacks on individual politicians and citizens, and the vacationing overindulgence of the first family, asked: “.. [I]s anything beneath the dignity of the Obama White House?” That answer would be “No.”

He insightfully adds: “Obama could end up losing because sycophantic media encouraged him to act in such an unseemly way,” and that “the way the media have strained to play down bad economic news” may cause also lead many who know how awful it is in the real world to turn on him.

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At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson totally understands Obama’s impact on business decision-making (“Sitting Out Obama“). I would only quibble that the sea change in mindset bega in May or June of 2008, when what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy began.

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Antagonistic Al “Crucify Them” Armendariz “resigned” yesterday. We still know all we need to know about the Obama administration’s regulatory mindset, because it’s clear that Armendariz’s sacking five days after the release of his “crucify” video was a political calculation and not an act driven by outrage over his comments or regulatory approach.

As Don Surber wrote in the run-up to Van Jones’s “resignation” in 2009 after Powerline first surfaced comments which in essence said that the country deserved the 9/11 attacks 40 hours after they occurred, “(This is) the smoking gun that will either bring down Van Jones or Barack Obama. It is President Obama’s choice.” In this case, it was either Obama or Armendariz — and again, the choice was easy.

Positivity: Pepsi Stops Using Aborted Fetal Cell Lines to Test Flavors

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Life News:

4/30/12 9:53 AM

After months of pro-life protests and opposition, PepsiCo has indicated it will no longer contract with biotech firm Senomyx Inc., which uses cells from a baby killed in an abortion to conduct flavor testing.

The second largest beverage company in the world contracted with the firm in a $30 million deal in August 2010 and once Debi Vinnedge of the pro-life group Children of God for Life uncovered the connection, numerous pro-life groups, including LifeNews, joined together to promote a boycott of Pepsi until it ends the Senomyx contract.

Vinnedge informed LifeNews today of Pepsi’s decision and hailed it as a major breakthrough and achievement by thousands of concerned consumers who have been writing and boycotting PepsiCo beverages since last May.

In a letter to her group, PepsiCo’s VP of Global Public Policy, Paul Boykas stated that “Senomyx will not use HEK cells or any other tissues or cell lines derived from human embryos or fetuses for research performed on behalf of PepsiCo.”

“We took the matter very seriously,” stated Mr. Boykas. “We have an official Statement on Responsible Research and we intend to live by that policy.”

That policy precludes any research by PepsiCo — or third parties they fund — from using human tissue or cell lines derived from embryos or babies who are victimized by abortions.

Vinnedge told LifeNews the PepsiCo decision means an immediate end to the boycott that began in May 2011– welcome news to both PepsiCo and their customers who have abstained from their favorite beverages in protest.

“We are absolutely thrilled with PepsiCo’s decision. They have listened to their customers and have made both a wise and profound statement of corporate integrity that deserves the utmost respect, admiration and support of the public.” …

Go here for the full story.