Sunday, July 11, 2010

Political Digest July 11, 2010

I post articles because I believe they will be of interest, not because I agree with every—or even any—opinion in them.

I was able to grab a little computer time on the road. As noted, on vacation, so can’t guarantee a post every day.

New Black Panther leader praising bin Laden: 'If the enemy hates him...mathematically he’s your friend’
These racists are as American as the KKK.

Boring Barry
Excerpt: I wrote recently about the political dangers to President Obama when people stop liking him. Many of us, me included, found it impossible to like Obama as soon as it became clear that he was a disciple of prophets of evil like Saul Alinksy. Many Americans (too many, in fact) are mesmerized by television. Good-looking, relaxed, well-spoken people have a big advantage in national politics. This does not mean that the leftist establishment media does not create false images which enhance the likability of leftist politicians. Camera angles, editing, selection of questions asked, choice of news covered, and a dozen other tricks can make a candidate more likable. Magazine covers treat Obama like a rock star and show adoring photos of his wife and children. Marvel Comics, Tiger Beat, Vanity Fair, GQ, Rolling Stone, and Vogue are magazines supposedly not connected with partisan politics, but Barack and his family find their photographs in good poses, smiling amiably at readers of those magazines. Conservatives know how politicized all of American life has become. The propagation of leftism in America means that Obama is never shown in unattractive poses or losing his temper at underlings. He answers few questions, and when he deigns to talk to his subjects, it is always through a safe, politically correct organization. A fair and objective media would have pulled Obama's likability down long ago, but even with fawning coverage, nearly all polls show a steady erosion of personal support for Obama, artificially obstructed by the leftist establishment. Obama will become unlikable as people tire of fluff news stories or smiling photos of Barack and Michelle on the cover of Vogue. Much worse for Obama than becoming unlikeable is becoming boring -- and he will become more and more boring every day. Why? Marxists like Obama have nothing new to say. The whole sum of human problems, according to the goateed gurus of radical socialism on college campuses, is the unfair distribution of wealth, and the only solution to this "problem" is coercive redistribution.

How the spy Swap Plays in Russia: Darkly
Excerpt: Virtually every Russian analysis of the events included a comparison to pulp fiction or Hollywood spy movies. Everything in the story seemed improbable. Would highly-trained spies be using Morse code and invisible ink – in the 21st century? Would Russia's foreign intelligence service, the SVR, really rely upon such minor and clumsy operatives? That the spies apparently lacked any obvious access to social or political circles was lost on no one. The comment made by one of the defense lawyers that the FBI's evidence "essentially suggests that they successfully infiltrated neighborhoods, cocktail parties and the PTA" has been widely repeated in the Russian press. In particular, the Russian press and its Soviet and Russian intelligence sources agreed that the alleged instructions from Moscow, as "decoded" by the FBI, "appear overly naïve and Hollywoodish," as the newspaper Vremia novoste put it. It struck Russians as unbelievable that Moscow "apparently" or "purportedly" expected its suburban agents to report on Obama's ideas and tactics, the state of its nuclear technologies, and much more.... Once the Foreign Ministry admitted that most of those arrested were Russian citizens, and especially after news of an impending swap, doubts about the veracity of the allegations subsided. They were replaced by incredulity at the apparent incompetence of the SVR and by deeper questions about the manner in which events unfolded.

Illegal Workers Swept From Jobs in ‘Silent Raids’
Excerpt: While the sweeps of the past commonly led to the deportation of such workers, the “silent raids,” as employers call the audits, usually result in the workers being fired, but in many cases they are not deported. Over the past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has conducted audits of employee files at more than 2,900 companies. The agency has levied a record $3 million in civil fines so far this year on businesses that hired unauthorized immigrants, according to official figures. Thousands of those workers have been fired, immigrant groups estimate. Employers say the audits reach more companies than the work-site roundups of the administration of President George W. Bush. The audits force businesses to fire every suspected illegal immigrant on the payroll— not just those who happened to be on duty at the time of a raid — and make it much harder to hire other unauthorized workers as replacements. Auditing is “a far more effective enforcement tool,” said Mike Gempler, executive director of the Washington Growers League, which includes many worried fruit growers. Immigration inspectors who pored over the records of one of those growers, Gebbers Farms, found evidence that more than 500 of its workers, mostly immigrants from Mexico, were in the country illegally. In December, Gebbers Farms, based in this Washington orchard town, fired the workers. “Instead of hundreds of agents going after one company, now one agent can go after hundreds of companies,” said Mark K. Reed, president of Border Management Strategies, a consulting firm in Tucson that advises companies across the country on immigration law. “And there is no drama, no trauma, no families being torn apart, no handcuffs.”

How Russian Spies Trick Americans
[Note from Daily Beast: The events leading up to Friday's Cold War-style spy trade on the airport tarmac in Vienna may have seemed like the product of a frenzied bout of negotiations and last-minute discussion. But for the U.S., it was all part of the plan. The spy swap had reportedly been on the table for the U.S. government for over a month, even before any arrests were made, as a tactic to leave delicate Russian-American relations unharmed. The idea was first laid out in the same Oval Office meeting that saw President Obama approve the plan to round up the largest ring of Russian sleeper agents since the Cold War. "There was a full discussion about what was going to happen on the day after," one senior White House official said. The Daily Beast's Julia Ioffe reports on how espionage is a part of everyday life for Western diplomats in Moscow.] Excerpt: Soon after his arrival, Sam was sitting in a Moscow café when he realized that his briefcase, which had been sitting on the floor between his feet, the shoulder strap wrapped around his ankle, was gone. He panicked. That briefcase had his iPod, his press badge, his digital recorder, and some Russian homework. The next day, he received a call from a friendly woman who said her father had found Sam’s briefcase and would Sam mind picking it up? With chocolates and flowers in hand, Sam met the man, and got his briefcase back, but his iPod and recorder were missing. He thought nothing of it, until he had dinner later with an American diplomat who was not surprised by his story. “Oh, yeah,” the diplomat said, in Sam’s recounting, “It’s your turn. That’s the FSB”—the security service that succeeded the KGB. “They do that to new diplomats and new journalists when they first get to Moscow. They just want to let you know they’re around.” And that’s when Sam realized that something had been a bit weird: The man had called Sam’s landline, which was not listed on any document in the briefcase.... But perhaps the most troubling detail of the Hatcher campaign was that someone had collected these video materials before Hatcher even began to work for the American embassy. What this suggests, of course, is that someone in Russia is playing a longer game, gathering incriminating details on anyone of potential interest, hoarding these nuggets of weakness (be they related to money or drugs or sex) only to use them years later when the target has gained strategic importance. {They are aided in their efforts by our own unwillingness to recognize the evil intent of others. If you read the comments after earliest articles describing the activities of the now traded-back Russians, you'll see posts like "they must be victims of FBI harassment/entrapment" because "they couldn't be foreign agents" and, besides, "they didn't really do anything." The good news is they ALL pled guilty, and they ALL accepted repatriation, a hard combination to overcome armed only with FBI conspiracy theories. I'd like to know the status and current whereabouts of their children, some of whom were born here. If the children have left too, are those children US citizens who can return later? If not, why not? If so, how do we protect against them, knowing they will have many years to train first? No easy answers here. Ron P.}

The Obama-Pelosi Lame Duck Strategy
Excerpt: Democratic House members are so worried about the fall elections they're leaving Washington on July 30, a full week earlier than normal—and they won't return until mid-September. Members gulped when National Journal's Charlie Cook, the Beltway's leading political handicapper, predicted last month "the House is gone," meaning a GOP takeover. He thinks Democrats will hold the Senate, but with a significantly reduced majority. The rush to recess gives Democrats little time to pass any major laws. That's why there have been signs in recent weeks that party leaders are planning an ambitious, lame-duck session to muscle through bills in December they don't want to defend before November. Retiring or defeated members of Congress would then be able to vote for sweeping legislation without any fear of voter retaliation. "I've got lots of things I want to do" in a lame duck, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.) told reporters in mid June. North Dakota's Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, wants a lame-duck session to act on the recommendations of President Obama's deficit commission, which is due to report on Dec. 1. "It could be a huge deal," he told Roll Call last month. "We could get the country on a sound long-term fiscal path." By which he undoubtedly means new taxes in exchange for extending some, but not all, of the Bush-era tax reductions that will expire at the end of the year. In the House, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters last month that for bills like "card check"—the measure to curb secret-ballot union elections—"the lame duck would be the last chance, quite honestly, for the foreseeable future."

What You Can't Say About Islamism
Excerpt: In our present Age of the Zipped Lip, you are supposed to avoid making any of the following inconvenient observations about the history and doctrines of the Islamist movement:
You are not supposed to observe that Islamism is a modern, instead of an ancient, political tendency, which arose in a spirit of fraternal harmony with the fascists of Europe in the 1930s and '40s. You are not supposed to point out that Nazi inspirations have visibly taken root among present-day Islamists, notably in regard to the demonic nature of Jewish conspiracies and the virtues of genocide. And you are not supposed to mention that, by inducing a variety of journalists and intellectuals to maintain a discreet and respectful silence on these awkward matters, the Islamist preachers and ideologues have succeeded in imposing on the rest of us their own categories of analysis.

Former Congressman Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Justice, Acting as Unregistered Foreign Agent
Republican for Jihad. Excerpt: A former congressman and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations pleaded guilty in federal court today to obstruction of justice and to acting as an unregistered foreign agent related to his work for an Islamic charity with ties to international terrorism, announced Beth Phillips, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Mark Deli Siljander, 59, of Great Falls, Va., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to one charge contained in an Oct. 21, 2008, federal indictment, and an additional charge filed today, involving his work for the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) of Columbia, Mo. Siljander was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan and was a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly. Co-defendant Abdel Azim El-Siddig, of Chicago, Ill., a former IARA fundraiser, also pleaded guilty today to conspiring with Siljander and others to hire Siljander to lobby for IARA’s removal from a Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of having terrorist ties, while concealing this advocacy and not registering with the proper authorities.

Released Gitmo detainees may be allowed to enter U.S. territory
Excerpt: According to a front page report in Thursday’s edition of the German daily Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has said that two Guantánamo detainees who are to be released in Germany in the coming weeks will not “in principle” be denied the possibility of traveling to the United States. One day earlier, on Wednesday, de Maizière announced that Germany would be accepting the two men. Reports of an impending transfer of Guantánamo detainees to Germany had been circulating in the German news media for months. But the move had been delayed by opposition, above all, from members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own Christian Democratic party and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union. Interior Minister de Maizière is also a Christian Democrat. Opponents of the plan have insisted that the detainees could be dangerous and have argued that Germany should not agree to accept persons that the United States itself refuses to allow in its territory.

Must Read: Aliens Cause Global Warming: A Caltech Lecture by (the late) Michael Crichton
Excerpt: I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

Six detainees would rather stay at Guantanamo Bay than be returned to Algeria
What!!!??? They’d rather stay at that version of hell (as depicted by liberals and the media) than go back to their Islamic paradise? But isn’t Gitmo the worst place in the world? Have we been lied to? Excerpt: The Obama administration would quickly send home six Algerians held at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but for one problem: The men don't want to go. Given the choice between repatriation and incarceration, the men choose Gitmo, according to their lawyers.

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