Monday, January 3, 2011

Political Digest for January 3, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Don’t bother me with this—I’m still trying to figure out why American jobs are going overseas. ~Bob. Excerpt: Liberals loot the most successful people in our country, give their tax money away in exchange for votes, and then congratulate themselves for being so generous while they accuse the people they’ve robbed of being selfish. If liberals were left to their own devices, they would take this just as far as the Communists did and they’d make the mantra of this country, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Want see some evidence that’s the case? Well, you know how evil, selfish, and greedy our corporations are? Sure you do. The Democrats talk about it all the time. They practically never stop yammering on about how these people “need to pay their fair share.” Yet, these businesses ALREADY pay the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the developed world (39.25%) and guess what? Our corporations will soon be paying the highest tax rates of any nation that has a free market economy, Japan will cut its corporate income tax rate by 5 percentage points in a bid to shore up its sluggish economy, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said here Monday evening.

Stalin statue blown up in Ukraine: Communists
How does a Commie catch a break? You murder far more people than Hitler (though fewer than Obama-icon Mao) starve millions to death, and still enough counter-revolutionaries survive to blow up your statue. It ain’t fair, comrade! ~Bob. Excerpt: Extremists blew up a controversial monument to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on New Year's night in southeastern Ukraine in an "act of terror", the local Communist Party said on Saturday. The bust in the city of Zaporizhia, unveiled this May, caused a heated controversy in Ukraine which is still split between its nationalist west and the more Russian orientated east which fondly remembers the Soviet past. "A criminal broke into the grounds of the Communist Party regional headquarters, and laid an explosive charge which detonated after a few minutes," the Communist Party said.

You can’t bother the President with this stuff. He has more important things to do, like calling dog-killer Michael Vick to offer support. ~Bob. Excerpt: This American flight from reality skews everything, whether large and obvious, like waging a sanity-defying war, or small and easily overlooked, like refusing to bestow a medal on a deserving fallen soldier. I refer to the appalling fact that Pvt. William Long, slain by an avowed jihadist outside an Arkansas military recruitment center in June 2009, hasn't received a Purple Heart from the U.S. government. When Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad fired his AK-47, killing Pvt. Long and wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula (no Purple Heart, either), he was committing an act of war. The U.S. refuses to recognize this fact even as Muhammad, in interviews, statements and letters to media, has never shut up about it. The U.S. failure to recognize Pvt. Long's sacrifice is my year-ending outrage. It symbolizes the others that propelled this column through 2010. In this denial of jihad reality and callousness toward those who bear the brunt of sacrifices most Americans escape, we may see broader government failures toward the people on every front involving life and death.

Braun's race for mayor now gets more attention
The two other better-qualified black candidates have dropped out and united behind Braun as the “consensus” black candidate for Mayor of Chicago. OK, she was pretty inept in her term as a US Senator, but she has the major qualifications—she’s black AND female. What more would you want in a mayor. No word yet if white politicians are going to try to unite behind a consensus white candidate—wouldn’t that play well in the press—though Hispanics may give it a go. So the mayoral runoff is likely to be Rahm Emanuel, vs. Braun. God save Chicago. ~Bob. Excerpt: Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has become the "consensus" black candidate in Chicago's mayoral race, a position that African-American leaders believe will give her a shot at winning against a strong field that includes former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. But now that she is in the spotlight, Braun will have to answer questions about her qualifications, as well as problems that led voters to boot her from the Senate in 1998 after one term and why voters should hand City Hall's keys to someone who hasn't been elected to anything for years.

At what cost ethanol?
Another liberal chimera—thank you Al Gore—about to go belly up after raising the cost of food for poor people world wide. Though Obama and the democrats just extended the taxpayer subsidy for this waste, so you pay twice for it. ~Bob. Excerpt: Ethanol, the alternative fuel made from corn, may be a victim of its own success. Or rather, motorists who buy ethanol may be the victims. For the first time since the push to use more ethanol in American vehicles began five or six years ago, ethanol costs more than gasoline. E-85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, has recently been priced higher than regular gasoline at some area stations. "It's not going to last," said Wallace Tyner, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. The reason it won't last is that E-85 is a bad deal for motorists when it costs as much as gasoline. Ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline. A gallon of ethanol normally will propel a vehicle fewer miles than a gallon of gasoline.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s End-Run Around Democracy
Excerpt: The Endangerment Rule is EPA’s official finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. Logically, given that premise, EPA must now develop national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for greenhouse gases, and then compel states to reduce atmospheric levels within five or at most 10 years. The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups are petitioning EPA to establish a NAAQS for carbon dioxide (CO2) set at 350 parts per million (ppm) — about 40 ppm below the current concentration (390 ppm). Yet not even a severe depression cutting global GDP and emissions to, say, 1970 levels, would stop CO2 concentrations from rising. In short, applying the CAA [Clean Air Act--RGP] to greenhouse gases threatens to turn the Act into a de-industrialization mandate, a national economic suicide pact. Yet one of the statute’s core purposes, declared in the first section, is “to promote . . . the productive capacity of the population.” When did Congress vote to rescind that provision?

NOW: Oil's surge in 2010 paves the way for $4 gasoline
Remember the good old days (see next item), when the media and Democrats were blasting Bush for $2 a gallon gas? If only we could go back there. ~Bob. Excerpt: The price of oil is poised for another run at $100 a barrel after a global economic rebound sent it surging 34 percent since May. That could push gasoline prices to $4 a gallon by summer in some parts of the country, experts say. Flying, shipping a package and ordering a pizza all likely would get more expensive in the new year if that happens and companies pass along higher energy costs. Some economists say rising energy prices will slow economic growth. The U.S. is the world's largest oil consumer, but prices since spring have been on a roll primarily because of rising demand in developing countries, especially China. China's oil consumption is expected to rise 5 percent next year; that compares with less than 1 percent growth forecast for the U.S.

THEN: Gasoline jumps above $2 a gallon
Excerpt: May 18, 2004. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has been criticized for not taking action to find consumers some relief at the pump. Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry's campaign said Monday the administration's national energy plan, which was announced three years ago this week, has not reduced U.S. reliance on foreign oil or lowered gasoline prices. "When it comes to crafting consumer-friendly energy policies, George Bush has been an abject failure," a Kerry spokesman said. "While gas prices skyrocket and consumers get pinched, oil companies are raking in record profits."

Excerpt: A woman drowned after trying to cross a flooded causeway in Australia, becoming the first victim of relentless flooding that one official has described as reaching "biblical proportions," police said Sunday. Days of pounding rain last week left much of northeastern Australia swamped by a sea of muddy water, with flooding affecting about 200,000 people in an area larger than France and Germany combined. The rain has stopped, but rivers are still rising and overflowing into low-lying communities as the water moves toward the ocean.

'Don't ask, don't tell' has been repealed. ROTC still shouldn't be on campus.
Excerpt: Now that asking and telling has ceased to be problematic in military circles, ROTC has resurfaced as a national issue: Will universities such as Harvard, Yale and other Ivy League schools be opened to Reserve Officers' Training Corps since colleges can no longer can argue that the military is biased against gays and therefore not welcome? The debate reminds me of an interview I conducted over parents' weekend at the University of Notre Dame in 1989. I sat down with Theodore Hesburgh, the priest who had retired two years earlier after serving 35 years as the university's president. Graciously, he invited me to lunch at the campus inn. During our discussion, he took modest pride at having raised more than a billion dollars for Notre Dame, and expressed similar feelings about the university's ROTC program. More than 700 student-cadets were in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Few universities, public or private, had a larger percentage of students in uniform then. The school could have been renamed Fort Hesburgh. When I suggested that Notre Dame's hosting of ROTC was a large negative among the school's many positives, Hesburgh disagreed. Notre Dame was a model of patriotism, he said, by training future officers who were churchgoers, who had taken courses in ethics, and who loved God and country. Notre Dame's ROTC program was a way to "Christianize the military," he stated firmly. (Every now and then we get the benefit of having those who disdain the military and believe in a fairy tale world where the study of "Peace" in our society will enable us to deal with enemies who hate and wish to destroy us in some magical manner that involves no violence, keep us perfectly safe, and makes everyone happy. Below is a really lovely example of this. Note the key sentence the writer puts right in front of us as he tries to tell us he is most certainly not antimilitary- "I admire those who join armies, whether America's or the Taliban's". Apparently he does not think any reader is capable of seeing that this is an implicit insult to those who serve in our military, to make them no different than the religious fanatics who use terrorism to advance their cause and when they were in power, implemented horribly repressive policies on the population. The other line that I really love is "ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school", a truly monumental example of combining arrogance and idiocy in a single sentence. So he wants to exclude some of our brightest youth from the opportunity to serve and therefore, by his own standards, having our military use only less gifted people to serve and protect us. That this is illogical and elitist never crosses his mind, but for the dedicated pacifist, which is what he is, this is no problem; because, after all, we don't need and should not have a military anyhow. I may be a bit optimistic, but my hope is that the great majority of intelligent people who read this article will see what an elitist idiot this man is, and reject his silly presentation. –Del. When their freedoms are taken from them, and they are being stood against a wall, they will wet their pants and wail, “Why didn’t someone do something?” ~Bob.)

The Five Best Arguments Against Sharia in the United States
Excerpt: I shouldn’t have to write this essay. But a judge in Oklahoma forced me into it. Last month, 70% of the voters in Oklahoma approved State Question 755, which bans Sharia law (and international law) from being used in the state’s legal system. Almost immediately afterward, CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) sued to have the vote overturned, based on the bizarre claim that the measure is “unconstitutional.” U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange then sided with CAIR and issued an injunction preventing the measure from taking effect until all lawsuits against it are resolved. Since the suits will likely take years to play out, the new measure (and the will of the voters) will be stymied for the foreseeable future. Those who oppose Sharia in the United States often argue their point by highlighting how misogynistic, backward, cruel and discriminatory Islamic law can be under most interpretations. And while all that may be true, it is the wrong argument to make. I get so frustrated watching pundits, politicians and bloggers making the weakest argument in what should be a slam-dunk debate that I’ve decided to write this brief outline of what I think should be the prioritized hierarchy of arguments against the use of Sharia in the United States. In order, these are the arguments that Sharia’s opponents should be using, not just in Oklahoma but anywhere else in the country where the same issue crops up:

While the President, the left and the media fret about Islamophobia, the real target of hate crimes is Jews. As usual. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: Hate crimes across New York state jumped 14 percent in 2009, led by an increase in attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions, state records released yesterday show. There were 683 hate crimes reported to police authorities across the state in 2009 compared with 599 in 2008, according to a report released by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services…..Anti-Semitic incidents, which made up 37 percent of the reported hate crimes, were up 15 percent in one year, from 219 in 2008 to 251 in 2009. The report found anti-black crimes, 21 percent of the total, were down slightly from 147 in 2008 to 144 in 2009. Anti-white hate crimes increased from 21 to 29. Anti-gay hate crimes were up sharply, with those targeting male homosexuals jumping 32 percent, from 62 to 82, and those aimed at lesbians up by more than 200 percent, from eight to 25. Crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment rose from eight to 11. (Yet more evidence that the "rise in Islamophobia" theme that the mainstream media keeps returning to is just a shell game to divert attention from Islamic jihad violence and supremacism—Robert Spencer, www.JihadWatch.com.)

Exploding misconceptions
Poverty doesn’t cause terrorism, but that fits the leftist media’s socialist agenda. So you’ll continue to pay in dollars and lives for “fighting terrorism” through international welfare. ~Bob. Excerpt: “EXTREMELY poor societies…provide optimal breeding grounds for disease, terrorism and conflict.” So said Barack Obama, arguing in favour of more development aid to poor countries….. Social scientists have collected a large amount of data on the socioeconomic background of terrorists. According to a 2008 survey of such studies by Alan Krueger of Princeton University, they have found little evidence that the typical terrorist is unusually poor or badly schooled. Claude Berrebi of the RAND Corporation compared the characteristics of suicide-bombers recruited by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the West Bank and Gaza with those of the general adult male Palestinian population. Nearly 60% of suicide-bombers had more than a high-school education, compared with less than 15% of the general population. They were less than half as likely to come from an impoverished family as an average adult man from the general population.

2010: Year of the Black Center-Right
Good news, but probably too little, too late. The black community will suffer worst in the coming collapse, mostly at the hands of black thus. ~Bob. Excerpt: One of the most underreported stories of 2010 is how the black center-right gained significant ground around the globe. We are aware of the historic victories of Congressmen-elect Allen West and Tim Scott, the first black Republicans to be elected from the South since Reconstruction. Florida Lieutenant Governor-elect Jennifer Carroll also had an historic year. Many political observers note the growing number of black Tea Party activists. The year also marked the rise of “urban conservative” activists. An increasing number of American black conservatives are calling themselves “urban conservatives”/“urban right”/“hood conservatives.” They are outlining a city-focused, center-right agenda, with a particular emphasis on community organizing and economics. “It was a game-changer in 2010 because people are beginning to move away from the Democrat-versus-Republican debates and are now seeking core solutions to the problems we are facing today,” said Akindele Akinyemi, an education consultant and self-described “urban conservative” in the Detroit area.

Terry murder: FBI defends its secrecy
Excerpt: The FBI is now defending its secrecy in not revealing information to the public on U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder investigation. Normally, law enforcement releases information that involves the killing of an officer. But in Terry's case, the FBI has gone silent and will not say why it has yet to charge the suspects with Terry's murder. When agent Terry shooting happened the night of December 14th in Peck Canyon near Rio Rico, the FBI chose to release only certain information and not much at that. Nine On Your Side was told agent Terry was fatally wounded taking part in an operation targeting border bandits. The FBI also revealed it had arrested four suspects caught near the shooting scene. But the FBI would not even release the names of the people in custody. Now 17 days later, KGUN-9 News called the FBI again. This time the FBI did talk, but only to defend its policy of maintaining its secrecy.

National Do Not Call Registry
Excerpt: The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this Website. You can register your home or mobile phone for free. Attention sellers and telemarketers: Go to https://telemarketing.donotcall.gov to subscribe to the National Do Not Call Registry. If you are an exempt organization, and you wish to scrub your call lists, you may subscribe, but are not required to do so. [This works. I hardly get any calls. When I worked at call centers a few years ago, we told people we were allowed to call them because we were either begging for non-profit political organizations or we were doing surveys and were therefore not subject to the Do Not Call Registry requirements, as we were not selling. That was when they were supposed to say to us, 'Put me on your do-not-call list.' If they said that, we clicked a box that took them off the call list. If they didn't say those words, the computer called them again. We were being listened to. -Kate]

Keeping the Peace: America in Korea, 1950-2010
Excerpt: WE ARE OFTEN REMINDED that the Korean War ended not with a formal peace treaty, but rather with an armistice. And indeed, that is an irrefutable fact. But it is not true that the absence of a formal peace treaty is an impediment to peace in Korea. The signing of such a treaty between the United States and North Korea today would not facilitate, let alone guarantee, genuine peace or denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. To believe that it would can only be the result of a fundamental misreading of the North Korean regime, both in terms of its nature and of its strategic intent. (…) In North Korea, on the other hand, July 27 has a different meaning. The date is referred to as the day of “Victory in Fatherland Liberation War,” and Pyongyang commemorates each year “the anniversary of the great victory of the Korean people in the Fatherland Liberation War.” North Korea considers it a reminder of the unfinished business of communizing the entire Korean peninsula—or, in the words of North Korea’s Communist Party Charter, “the accomplishment of the revolutionary goals of national liberation and the people’s democracy on the entire area of the country.” The war may have ended in 1953, but the North Korean revolution rages on. This fact helps explain the fundamental geopolitical dynamic on the peninsula. (A very good analysis of the situation in the Koreas, this is adapted from a speech given in October, 2010, before the latest provocations of November and December, 2010. Ron P.)

Just “a Prosecutor Fighting Crime”
Excerpt: Here’s what’s really extraordinary about Cole’s fulmination: He seems not to think it relevant that Congress passed an Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, on September 14, 2001, signed by President Bush on September 18, 2001. That resolution granted the president the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined had "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. In other words, we were (and are) at war with the perpetrators of 9/11. It’s not just “rhetoric about war,” as Cole suggests. It’s not a metaphorical war, like the “war on drugs” or the “war on child abuse.” There’s a real war going on, authorized by Congress. So there’s a real and legal distinction between the September 11 attackers and Cole’s other criminals. That’s why (leaving aside the intrinsic war powers of the president) President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft could choose not to restrict themselves to the civilian justice system when dealing with the perpetrators of 9/11. Because Congress had acted to put those attackers, and their fellow terrorists, in a different category. Now we have someone unambiguously dedicated to a criminal law understanding of the war on terror, the AUMF notwithstanding, as deputy attorney general of the United States—without having been confirmed by the Senate.

Islam: A Religion Custom Made For Men
Excerpt: Muslims, by belief and practice, are the most blatant violators of human rights. We hardly need to detail here Muslims' systemic cruel treatment of the unbelievers, women of all persuasions, and any and all minorities across the board. To Muslims, human rights have a different meaning, and its protective provisions are reserved strictly for Muslims -- primarily for Muslim men. Just a couple of examples should suffice for now. Oppression of women, for one, is so systemic in Islam that to this day, women are, at best, second-class citizens under Islamic law. Saudi Arabia, the custodian of Islamdom, denies women the right to drive, vote, or hold elective office -- the most basic rights of citizens in democratic societies. Arabs and Muslims are masters of double-acts. They do all things in private, yet the public display of morality, decorum, and even piety is something you wear as you would your Keffiyeh even under the sizzling sun. In model Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, for instance, women do not dare complain about their Allah-decreed chattel status. If they protest in the least, they are beaten by their husbands. And if they dare to demonstrate in public for equal family rights with men, they get severe beatings by the police and are hauled to jails for additional indignities and violence.

The New War Veterans in Congress: All Republicans, All Americans
Excerpt: For those who believe that young war veterans, leaders in combat, make good legislators, the new Congress is just “the ticket.” According to the Stars and Stripes, the new Congress to be seated later this month “will boast the largest number of Iraq War veterans ever.” Six new House members who have served in Iraq (two of them in Iraq and Afghanistan)—all Republicans—will join two other recent war veterans: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who served with the Marines in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and Iraq War veteran Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado. Three of the freshman representatives have already been appointed to the House Armed Services Committee.
Planned Parenthood Launches ‘Social Change Initiative’ to Teach Parents How to Educate Children About Sex, Including Masturbation, Homosexuality
Excerpt: According to its annual report for Fiscal Year 2008-2009, Planned Parenthood’s income from government grants and contracts totaled $363.2 million, up from $349.6 million for the previous fiscal year. [That doesn't count the money they make from call centers that phone private individuals to beg for donations. Planned Parenthood and similar organizations are the stumbling block for many people who need a job badly enough to work at a call center, but can't bring themselves to ask for money for abortion. When you work at a call center, you can't opt out of phoning for issues you disagree with. And, by the way, for those who may not know, you've got to say to tele-marketers, "Put me on your Do-Not-Call list." Those are the magic words. No other words will do, even if you are begging them to leave you in peace. –Kate.]

Japanese TV mocks the TSA
Very funny. Probably more so if I could recall more than a dozen words of Japanese! ~Bob.

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