Monday, February 14, 2011

Political Digest for February 14, 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.

Excerpt: Here is a list of false beliefs and modes of thought which make it hard for people in the West to come to terms with the challenge of Islam today. If you are deeply attached to any of these ideas or ways of thinking, you will have difficulty accepting the truth about Islam's teachings and their impact.

Egypt's military rulers dissolve parliament
Note to Pentagon, if things get bad. ~Bob. Excerpt: Egypt's military leaders dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution Sunday, meeting two key demands of protesters who have been keeping up pressure for immediate steps to transition to democratic, civilian rule after forcing Hosni Mubarak out of power. The military rulers that took over when Mubarak stepped down Friday and the caretaker government also set as a top priority the restoration of security, which collapsed during the 18 days of protests that toppled the regime.

Celebrating black history as the black family disintegrates
Excerpt: Here we are, another Black History Month: time to lionize great black men and women of the past. Twenty-eight days to praise the first African American to do this and the first African American who did that. Another month of looking back with pride - as we ignore the calamity in our midst. When Black History Month was celebrated in 1950, according to State University of New York research, 77.7 percent of black families had two parents. As of January 2010, according to the Census Bureau, the share of two-parent families among African Americans had fallen to 38 percent. We know that children, particularly young male African Americans, benefit from parental marriage and from having a father in the home. Today, the majority of black children are born to single, unmarried mothers.

Short, worth reading: Sanity slowly returning to global warming policy
Well, who cares if the poor stare as long as Al Gore and other scions of Big Green make a few millions more? ~Bob. Excerpt: Meanwhile, here in America, the Department of Agriculture reported this week that corn reserves are at their lowest level in nearly two decades. Federal officials, according to the New York Times, say the reserves are down because ethanol producers are buying corn as fast as possible in anticipation of a federal policy allowing the amount of corn-based fuel mixed with gasoline to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent. The price of a bushel of corn has doubled in the face of that demand, going from $3.50 a bushel to more than $7 a bushel, which drives up food prices more generally. "The price of corn affects most food products in supermarkets. It is used to feed the cattle, hogs and chickens that fill the meat case, and is the main ingredient in Cap'n Crunch in the cereal aisle and Doritos in the snack aisle. Turned into corn sweetener, it sweetens most soft drinks," the Times reported. There was no indication in the Times story that those same federal officials will do anything about this situation, but at least they recognize the connection between rising food prices and increasing ethanol production.

Note to Sen. Simpson: Hurling insults won't cut spending
Excerpt: And yet there's a basic reason why all federal spending is so hard to cut: Baumol's Law, sometimes called Baumol's Cost Disease. Decades ago, William Baumol, a New York University economist, observed that cost savings rarely occur in labor-intensive industries. The example he used was classical music: A piece written 200 years ago for a quartet still takes a quartet today. In other words, if something is labor-intensive, it will be expensive. Let's take health care as an example. Some 14.3 million people work in the health care sector, yet which political party wants to start laying off health care workers? Even Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has said he doesn't want to cut Medicare. And the Medicare-voucherizing "road map" of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is not exactly front-and-center on the GOP agenda. But there's a cure for Baumol's Law, which Baumol himself identified: It's called "industrial revolution." For centuries, the American economy has advanced because technology displaced human labor, both cutting costs and freeing up labor for new and more productive uses. In his 2002 book, "The Free-Market Innovation Machine: Analyzing the Growth Miracle of Capitalism," Baumol calculated that 90 percent of the gross domestic product of America today can trace its origins to the innovation and productivity gains of the last three centuries. Today, we can look around our society and see the difference in cost between "revolutionized" sectors, such as manufacturing, and "craft" sectors, such as health care, which is still labor-intensive, with lots of doctors doing their Hippocratic thing, patient by patient, lots of labor-intensive hospitals and other care facilities.

Scary: Is CPAC being used this week by the Muslim Brotherhood?
Excerpt: Guess who said the following: “The earliest defenders of Islam would defend their more numerous and better-equipped oppressors because the early Muslims loved death -- dying for the sake of almighty Allah -- more than the oppressors of Muslims loved life. This must be the case when we are fighting life’s other battles.” I know I haven’t asked a fair question. As Andrew McCarthy put it recently, “that leitmotif – We love death more than you love life – has been a staple of every jihadist from bin Laden through Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood killer.” He isn’t kidding. In 2008, the “Supreme Guide” of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Mahdi Akef, while praising Osama bin Laden, urged teaching young people “the principles of jihad so as to create mujahidin who love to die as much as others love to live.” In 2004, the 3/7 bombers in Madrid left behind a tape saying, “We choose death, while you choose life.”… But could it also come from a former Bush administration appointee?

Debunking the leading Obamacare litigation myths
Excerpt: Myth #1: “Twelve judges have rejected the notion that ObamaCare is unconstitutional.”
This myth was actually conjured up by President Obama himself, in a widely watched pre-Superbowl interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. Attempting to depict Judge Vinson’s recent ruling in Florida as “outside the mainstream,” Obama made the stupendous claim that 12 judges had effectively upheld the constitutionality of ObamaCare. As a former law professor and president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama should have known better. In fact, none of the 12 cases cited by the White House ever reached the constitutional question. Rather, each case was dismissed for procedural reasons, often because the judge found that the plaintiff either lacked standing to sue or that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit. In other words, none of the 12 lawsuits reached the merits of the case, including whether the law is or is not constitutional. That’s why even PolitiFact gave the president’s statement a "False" rating. (It’s not that he doesn’t know the truth. It’s that in his view, truth, like the constitution, is whatever he wants it to be. ~Bob.)

Ahmadinejad government on death penalty spree
Excerpt: While the international news media and government officials are preoccupied with events occurring in Egypt, the Iranian government's execution of a Dutch-Iranian woman government officials claimed was involved in drug smuggling has created a firestorm in Amsterdam, Holland over the weekend. Those who knew Miss Bahrami, 46, claim the drug charges were bogus, and police officials in The Netherlands say that she was originally arrested for participating in anti-government protests two years ago when civil unrest in Iran followed accusations of a corrupt presidential election. (Read the linked article, let it sink in, then ask: what can we expect in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood and their friends burned churches just before the "pro-democracy" riots? The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest component of the revolution (which Obama administration whole-heartedly endorses -- his friends Wm. Ayers and wife went to Egypt to help organize it) and will be the largest component of the new government. –DH)

Quantum Computing and Counterintelligence
Excerpt: Technology is a fine servant but a dangerous master. It changes in unpredictable ways. It redefines the boundaries of human potential. It compels us to reevaluate the nature of secrecy and our notions of privacy. The recent WikiLeaks controversy is small potatoes, the tip of the iceberg. The Stuxnet computer worm, though mysteriously advantageous in our efforts against the Iranian nuclear program, is the most advanced piece of malware ever discovered. It could turn its sights elsewhere. It could change everything. Then there’s quantum computing. Moore’s Law states the capabilities of microprocessors double every 18 months. In ten to twenty years, this law will likely collapse. Silicon Valley will go quantum. Circuits will be measured on a molecular and atomic scale. Computers will be infinitely more powerful than they are today. According to Michio Kaku, quantum physicists today can conduct simple multiplication problems with just seven atoms. In the near future, when millions of atoms are able to be utilized, no CIA code will be safe. (…) Our enemies, whether big powers like China or networks like al-Qaeda, will always undertake that metamorphosis which best exposes our soft underbelly. The underlying premise of counterintelligence this century, therefore, is not who we shall encounter but rather what we shall encounter. (I’m not sure I agree with the author’s conclusions, but he raises some very serious questions. All emphasis is in the original. Ron P.)

The United Kingdom Explained
Apocalypse Imminent
Excerpt: Recently I attended a packed screening at Los Angeles’ Luxe Hotel of the new documentary Iranium, about the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, produced by the Clarion Fund, the same filmmakers of the controversial Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West and The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America. The audience so overflowed that the Luxe had to open up the adjacent conference room to accommodate everyone. Featuring an array of compelling experts including former ambassadors John Bolton and Dore Gold, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney Jr. and Clare Lopez, scholars Bernard Lewis and Walid Phares, political writers Clifford May and Kenneth Timmerman, and more, Iranium makes the case that keeping nuclear capability out of the hands of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs has never been a more urgent task. Allowing it would result in a tectonic shift in the balance of power not only in the Middle East, but across the world, Gaffney asserts ominously that we have gone beyond the point where we should discuss the “risks associated with acting, to the point where we must discuss the risks associated with not acting.” (This article is part film review, part history, and part speculation. I haven’t yet had a chance to see Iranium, but when I do, I’ll go. Ron P.)

For Chicago Mayor, a Race Against Race
Excerpt: Chicago has not had a Republican mayor since 1931, but it came close in 1983, when a state legislator named Bernard Epton attracted hordes of lifelong Democrats, only to fall just short. You might assume Epton was a politician of rare gifts. In fact, he had only one. In a race against the first African-American to win the Democratic nomination for mayor, he was white -- and that was almost enough to win.

Palestinian Leaders Suddenly Call for Elections
Excerpt: The Palestinian leadership announced Saturday that it planned to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by September, apparently a response to the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt calling for greater democracy and government accountability. The decision was announced in the West Bank city of Ramallah after a meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which oversees the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is also the chairman of the P.L.O. At the same meeting, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator with Israel, submitted his resignation and Mr. Abbas accepted it. A subcommittee was formed to look for a successor as well as to consider restructuring the negotiations unit. The Islamist Hamas faction rejected the plan for national elections, saying Mr. Abbas had no legitimacy to call for them since he was serving beyond his term. (…) In explaining his resignation as chief peace negotiator, Mr. Erekat said that the leak to Al Jazeera television last month of some 1,600 documents — minutes and e-mails — from the negotiations had come from his department and that he bore responsibility for the embarrassment they caused. The leaks showed Mr. Erekat and fellow negotiators making more far-reaching offers than were publicly known regarding the yielding of land to Israel in East Jerusalem and on other divisive issues, like the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in what is today Israel. (Notice two things: first, the ENTIRE Arab world is catching fire for change, and second, WikiLeaks has some competition from Al Jazeera that has interrupted what little peace negotiations were happening. Ron P.)

Malware Aimed at Iran Hit Five Sites, Report Says
Excerpt: The Stuxnet software worm repeatedly sought to infect five industrial facilities in Iran over a 10-month period, a new report says, in what could be a clue into how it might have infected the Iranian uranium enrichment complex at Natanz. The report, released Friday by Symantec, a computer security software firm, said there were three waves of attacks. Liam O Murchu, a security researcher at the firm, said his team was able to chart the path of the infection because of an unusual feature of the malware: Stuxnet recorded information on the location and type of each computer it infected. Such information would allow the authors of Stuxnet to determine if they had successfully reached their intended target. By taking samples of Stuxnet they had collected from various computers, the researchers were able to build a model of the spread of the infection. They determined that 12,000 infections could be traced back to just five initial infection points. Between June 2009 and May 2010, the program took aim at specific organizations in Iran on three occasions, Symantec research noted in an update of a research report the company published last year. (Incredibly, the virus was transmitted 12 hours after its birth (so to speak) there have been three attacks and the first attack was a year ago. Assuming it was the Israeli’s, they have been working on this for a long time and they way the virus worked is pure genius. You wonder what Trojan Horses they have inserted into Iran. I wonder if BB Netanyahu can make a phone call and everything controlled by computers in Iran either ceases function or blows up. The fact that they could cause the centrifuges speed up unrestrained and it was cleverly masked is unbelievable. I wonder how many viruses are lurking in nuclear reactors? Scary!!! Tom Constantine RN, U.S. Marine Corps (ret). Remind me not to send a flame via e-mail to Israel. ~Bob.)

Michelle Obama Urges Latinos to push for Immigration Bill
Excerpt: First lady Michelle Obama says immigration reform has been "at the top" of her husband's agenda but is urging the Latino community to help push immigration legislation, such as the Dream Act, in the future. "There wasn't one single Republican that voted for the DREAM Act, not one," the first lady said in an interview set to air Sunday on Univision's "Al Punto" with Jorge Ramos. "So I urge the Latino community, he needs help, he's got to have Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are going to step up." The interview for the Spanish-language show was conducted in English. Making rare policy remarks on the show, the first lady said that if an immigration bill is on President Barack Obama's desk "he is going to sign it."

Jordan Muslim Brotherhood: Israel, U.S. main losers in Mubarak ouster
Excerpt: The Muslim Brotherhood movement in Jordan, the country's main opposition group, described Saturday the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as a "historic victory" with the United States and Israel as the main losers. "The victory scored by this revolution is in the first place directed against the United States, which so far sponsored the toppled regime, and wanted it as a strong ally and defender of the Zionist entity and an enemy of the Arab jihad and resistance movements," the group said in its first reaction to the developments. (Not what one would call a hopeful sign. ~Bob.)

West cannot understand risk of 'Islamization,' Iraqi archbishop warns
Excerpt: The secular western world is incapable of fully understanding the threat of a “reawakening of Islam” in the Middle East, according to an Iraqi bishop beset by radical movements in his own archdiocese. In an interview with the Italian bishops' SIR news agency, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq, called the Middle East a “scary volcano” because of the possible consequences of widespread unrest. “There are Islamic forces and movements that wish to change the Middle East, creating Islamic States, caliphates, in which Shariah (law) rules,” he warned. Radical groups present in Iraq such as al-Qaida and Ansar al Islam are calling on citizens in other Middle Eastern nations to inject an Islamic influence into otherwise general protests in places like Tunisia and Egypt.

"It is naïve to think that all cultures are compatible with Canadian values"
Excerpt: For calling attention to demographic conquest, this candidate from Canada's Christian Heritage Party acknowledges he will be branded a "racist." But there is nothing "racist" about wanting to put the brakes on when we have no idea who we are bringing into our countries with regard to jihadist sympathies and Islamic supremacism -- as with the recent embarrassment in the United States about supposed Iraqi refugees' coming under scrutiny for al-Qaeda links. No matter how many awful surprises result, "moderation" is an article of politically correct faith, as Western countries allow in more Muslim immigrants or "students" than they can properly screen, in numbers where they cannot and have never really attempted to enforce substantive standards of integration. On both fronts, they are hampered by fears of "profiling" and "Islamophobia." The result, as Australia's former immigration minister warned, is a "nation of enclaves" which can mount a collective resistance to integration light years beyond the individual level. And they become protected habitats for jihadist preaching and violence, with attempts to investigate answered with cries of racism and xenophobia.

Suicide bomber kills 38, wounds dozens in Iraq
An “Appointment in Sumarra” with someone who didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. As I’ve noted before, the largest group of victims of Allahmurder aren’t us infidels, but other Muslims with slightly different views. ~Bob. Excerpt: A suicide bomber blew himself up on Saturday near a crowd of Shi'ite pilgrims at a bus depot in the Iraqi city of Samarra, killing 38 people and wounding scores, police and officials said. The attack was the second suicide bombing this week near Samarra, where Shi'ite pilgrims are commemorating the death of one of their 12 revered imams, and followed a series of recent attacks by insurgents as U.S. troops prepare to fully withdraw.

Pakistani Priest warns Christians are at risk. A young man tortured and killed
Excerpt: The situation of Christians in Punjab is becoming more critical, Fr Joseph Xavier, from Lahore tells AsiaNews. "The incidents against Christians are increasing at an alarming rate. Central Punjab is the area most affected. Over the past three years there have been over 35 incidents, and most of them have not been reported because of the influence that local landlords have in the areas, and the influence of local MPs. They hold police and judges in the palm of their hands; the roam freely after having killed or robbed. This issue requires special attention; otherwise this problem will become even more frequent. Christians are not safe, many are forced to convert to Islam to save themselves. Also, if the Ministry of minority groups is abolished, what will happen to minorities in Pakistan?".

Sarkozy declares multiculturalism "a failure"
Excerpt: French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday declared that multiculturalism had failed, joining a growing number of world leaders or ex-leaders who have condemned it. "We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him," he said in a television interview in which he declared the concept a "failure." British Prime Minister David Cameron last month pronounced his country's long-standing policy of multiculturalism a failure, calling for better integration of young Muslims to combat home-grown extremism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia's former prime minister John Howard and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar have also in recent months said multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants. (Wonder when BO & the NYT will notice? Probably not until the mobs fire the building. ~Bob.)

Interview Raises Questions Over Weapons Of Mass Effect In SD
Excerpt: Customs and Border Protection officers clear 80 percent of all cargo before it enters the United States. Congress has mandated that they clear 100 percent of cargo imports by 2012. In San Diego, every cargo container is driven through a radiation detector before leaving San Diego's seaport. "So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?" asked Blacher. "Correct. Weapons of mass effect," Hallor said. "You ever found one?" asked Blacher. "Not at this location," Hallor said. "But they have found them?" asked Blacher. "Yes," said Hallor. (They walked this back in a statement released later. Does that mean he misspoke—or they don’t want to alarm folks? ~Bob.)

Mostly in their own words:Muslim Brotherhood Fact Sheet
Excerpt: “It is in the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” —Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna

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