Thursday, March 17, 2011

Political Digest for March 17, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

Happy St. Pat’s Day
“Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart.” –Yates.

How You Can Help the Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Japan
Excerpt: Even if you're thousands of miles away, there are ways that you can offer support to the earthquake and tsunami relief effort in Japan. Here are a few of them:

AmeriCares Japan Relief Fund
A solid charity where I made my contribution. Not on the list above.

Fukushima Nuclear Accident – 16 March update
Excerpt: Note that this is a blog, not a news website, and thus the following analysis, like all others on BraveNewClimate, is a mixture of news and opinion -- but facts remain paramount. First, the situation is clearly (but slowly) stabilising. As each day passes, the amount of thermal heat (caused by radioactive decay of the fission products) that remains in the reactor fuel assemblies decreases exponentially. When the reactors SCRAMed on 11 March after the earthquake, and went sub-critical, their power levels dropped by about 95 % of peak output (the nuclear fission process was no longer self-sustaining). Over the past 5 days, the energy in the fuel rods dropped by another ~97 %, such that the heat dissipation situation is getting more and more manageable. But we're not out of the woods yet, and the reactor cores will need significant cooling for at least another 5 days before stability can be ensured. Yesterday there appears to have been a fracture in the wetwell torus (see diagram: that circular structure below and to the side of the reactor vessel) in Unit 2, caused by a hydrogen explosion, which led to a rapid venting of highly radioactive fission product gases (mostly noble [chemically unreactive] gases, the majority of which had a half-life of seconds to minutes). It also caused a drop in pressure in the supression pool, which made the cooling process more challenging. However, despite some earlier concerns, it is now clear that containment was not breached. Even under this situation of extreme physical duress, the multiple containment barriers have held firm. This is an issue to be revisited, when the dust finally settles. (…) What is known is that this is a situation very different than Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. There was no operator error involved at Fukushima-Daiichi, and each reactor was successfully shut down within moments of detecting the quake. The situation has evolved slowly but in a manner that was not anticipated by designers who had not assumed that electrical power to run emergency pumps would be unavailable for days after the shutdown. They built an impressive array of redundant pumps and power generating equipment to preclude against this problem. Unfortunately, the tsunami destroyed it. (As noted in the first line of the excerpt, this info is from a blog. That's because this "mere" blog is giving us better information than most "news" sources, though not as quickly as "news" sources are trying to give it. This can lead to some confusion. Last night--about 11:30PM on 15 Mar--ABC News jolted me out of bed by announcing that the Fukushima reactors were being "abandoned." What they were actually reporting was that all non-essential personnel had been ordered out of the area by management (do you really think the file clerks should have stayed to man the ramparts?). The only problem with this is the sensational reporting. Those personnel had been ordered out nearly twenty-four hours earlier, but ABC hadn't previously reported it, so they thought it was news even though anyone actually paying attention in real time knew it wasn't. As usual, what our "news" organizations are giving us is information without context. Thus, we have to get the context from a "mere" blog. Ron P.)

Miracles in Japan: Four-Month Old Baby, 70-Year Old Woman Found Alive
Excerpt: Amid the silent corpses a baby cried out - and Japan met its tiniest miracle. On March 14 soldiers from the Japanese Defense Force were going door-to-door, pulling bodies from homes flattened by the earthquake and tsunami in Ishinomaki City, a coastal town northeast of Senda. More accustomed to the crunching of rubble and the sloshing of mud than to the sound of life, they dismissed the baby's cry as a mistake. Until they heard it again. They made their way to the pile of debris, and carefully removed fragments of wood and slate, shattered glass and rock. And then they saw her: a four-month old baby girl in a pink woolen bear suit. The tidal wave literally swept the unnamed girl away from her parents' arms when it hit their home on March 11. Since then her parents - both of whom survived the disaster - have taken refuge in their wrecked house, and worried that their little girl was dead. Soldiers managed to reunite the baby with her overjoyed father shortly after the rescue.

Islamic Radicalism in France
When you hear what has really gone on there, due to the government not doing anything to stop the process of Islamicization of areas, you realize that it's important to be aware of how things can go. It goes back to the famous statement by a British statesman- "All that is necessary for the victory of evil is for enough good men to do nothing." We are much better off in the USA than France is, for several reasons. But some radicalization does exist here, and it is critical to investigate how it occurs and take all possible steps to stop or at least minimize it. That does not mean treating all Muslims badly, although regrettably some will feel discriminated against. It is simply not possible to fight radicalization of the few without having some negative feelings among the many. Yet in the long run everyone, including American Muslims, will be better off if we can shortstop radicalization. --Del

Obama Dithers While American Credibility Burns
Excerpt: President Barack Obama invited ESPN into the White House yesterday so that The Worldwide Leader In Sports could tape his picks for the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament. The President picked all frontrunners. Good for him. Meanwhile, 5,000 miles away, a Libyan rebel defending the town of Ajdabiya from Muammar Qadhafi loyalists told The Washington Post: “These politicians are liars. They just talk and talk, but they do nothing.” One hundred miles north, in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, rebel spokeswoman Iman Bugaighis told The New York Times that Western nations had “lost any credibility.” President Obama cannot be blamed for the failure of the rebels to hold off advances by Qadhafi’s army. But he can be blamed for raising expectations for U.S. military action beyond what he was prepared to commit. On March 3, President Obama said: “With respect to our willingness to engage militarily, … I’ve instructed the Department of Defense … to examine a full range of options. I don’t want us hamstrung. … Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.” Heritage Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies Kim Holmes writes: “This is the worst of all worlds. People in the Middle East (not to mention Americans) are rightly confused by the mismatch between the Administration’s rhetoric and actions.” The tragedy unfolding in Libya is just another example of why the Obama Doctrine was destined to fail. (To be fair, in a Community Organizer’s world, Basketball is a lot more important than a messy, far away war or earthquake or oil and economics. All economics can be summarized there as, “They have it, we want it and are organizing to get it.” ~Bob.)

Blacks and Republicans by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: San Francisco's irrepressible former mayor, Willie Brown, was walking along one of the city's streets when he happened to run into another former city official that he knew, James McCray. McCray's greeting to him was "You're 10." "What are you talking about?" Willie Brown asked. McCray replied: "I just walked from Civic Center to
Third Street
and you're only the 10th black person I've seen." That is hardly surprising. The black population of San Francisco is less than half of what it was in 1970, and it fell another 19 percent in the past decade. A few years ago, I had a similar experience in one of the other communities further down the San Francisco peninsula. As I was bicycling down the street, I saw a black man waiting at a bus stop. As I approached him, he said, "You're the first black man I have seen around here in months!" "It will be months more before you see another one," I replied, and we both laughed. Actually, it was no laughing matter. Blacks are being forced out of San Francisco, and out of other communities on the San Francisco peninsula, by high housing prices…. It would be impossible for the Democrats to deny the facts… (I rarely disagree with Sowell, because his brain is so much more focused and disciplined than mine. But I’ve found that Democrats are always ready to deny, or just ignore, the facts if they contradict their beliefs. ~Bob.)

Conyers: Obamacare Is ‘Platform’ for Creating Single-Payer System
Excerpt: Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, told today that the health-care law that President Barack Obama signed last March is a “platform” for building a single-payer health care system in the United States.
During a newsmakers program at the National Press Club on Monday, Conyers said that after discussing the issue with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio) he voted for the health-care law because he saw it as a necessary "platform" for building toward a single-payer health-care system in the United States.

Is Pell Too Big?
 Excerpt: House Republicans and the Obama administration agree about relatively few matters these days, and it would be a profound exaggeration to say they see eye to eye on Pell Grants. The GOP-led House last month approved a 2011 budget that would cut the size of the maximum grant for low-income students by $845, to $4,705, one of many reasons why President Obama has threatened to veto the measure. But after two years in which he and Democratic Congressional leaders expanded Pell Grant funding at every turn, the president himself, in the 2012 budget plan he released in February, proposed slashing $8 billion a year from the program by ending a two-year-old practice that allowed students who enroll year-round to get two grants in a single year. For a Democratic president, especially one who has elevated expanding college access to the top of his agenda, cutting the Pell Grant is practically a sacrilegious act. But the administration's concession signals a potential turning point in the outlook for the program that for nearly 40 years has served as the bedrock of the federal financial aid system. (It will be gone in the collapse--be paying for beans, bullets and bandages, period. ~Bob.)

Muslim Gangs across the USA..immigration on a mass scale brings trouble
I suspect this doesn't have much to do with radical Islam, and everything to do with lax immigration enforcement allowing in thugs and criminals. But they may get a lower level of scrutiny because customs agents don't want to be charged with being Islamophobic. If they'd have stayed home, would be pirates. ~Bob. Excerpt: Robbing, killing, raping and forcing young girls into prostitution are just a few of the activities being conducted by gangs of Somali youths and these crimes have been going on for several years. Somalis began arriving in Minnesota in the early l900’s. They had no formal education, could not speak English and banded together forming gangs, which turned into criminal activities. Mark La Flamme of the Sun Journal report of an incident in 2009 involving a woman over 60 who was beaten by Somali boys and her money taken. Several days later a man resisted the gang and was beaten so badly he required surgery. Gangs of boys carry sticks and rocks with which to intimidate and hurt citizens as they rob them of their cash, cell phones and prescription drugs. The Associated Press reports that gangs of Somali youths are becoming more dangerous and relates the story of one 12-year-old Minnesota girl who for two years has been used for prostitution by the gangs to enable them to get drugs and money. They took her to Tennessee where she was forced to perform sex acts while they taped it on their cell phones

Garland: “Pres. Obama, I too am exhausted defending you.
Excerpt: “President Obama, quite frankly, I’m exhausted defending you. Mr. President, is this my new reality?” Those words were spoken to President Obama on September 20th, 2010 during a town hall meeting in Washington. The speaker identified herself as a CFO of a large national organization, a mother, a wife, and an American veteran. Mr. President, I'm Garland too. I’m totally exhausted. I'm one of the few (possibly the only) radio talk show hosts in the south who admits that I like and admire you. I've liked and disliked all of our Presidents for various reasons. I've admired your intelligence, calm and reasoned communication skills. Some of your programs I like a lot, parts of others still work for me, and others I find much to disagree with. I'm one of the few remaining "journalists" who really does try to see all sides. I don't join “fear clubs” (Republicans and Democrats.) I don't need to be told what to think and how to vote. I think you need people like me, but for me it's too can put me in the “minus one” category. Aside from being exhausted defending you, I'm now doubting my daughter and wife's security…their future in this country. Your energy policies are incredibly contradictory, uneducated, and extremely dangerous. Either you are not the Harvard-backed brain I thought you were, or you're getting unbelievably bad information from your advisors. What finally knocked me out of your camp was your speech last Friday…the one about energy. Let's break it down into specifics. (Hey, another person who just may be having the scales fall from his eyes. Not all Liberals are fanatically blind (but for sure too many are). --Del)

I don't mind the president having down time. Not a lot he can personally do about Japan. What galls us is the way the media would have slammed Bush over the same behavior, as this guy points out. ~Bob. Excerpt: On Wednesday, Barack Obama will appear on ESPN to announce his picks for the 2011 NCAA tournament. This past Saturday, as the disaster in Japan unfolded, the President found time to, again, play golf. On Tuesday's Special Report, Fox News host Bret Baier highlighted the difference between Obama's treatment and that of President Bush.

Japan, the Persian Gulf and Energy
Excerpt: Over the past week, everything seemed to converge on energy. The unrest in the Persian Gulf raised the specter of the disruption of oil supplies to the rest of the world, and an earthquake in Japan knocked out a string of nuclear reactors with potentially devastating effect. Japan depends on nuclear energy and it depends on the Persian Gulf, which is where it gets most of its oil. It was, therefore, a profoundly bad week for Japan, not only because of the extensive damage and human suffering but also because Japan was being shown that it can’t readily escape the realities of geography. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, a bit behind China now. It is also the third-largest industrial economy, behind only the United States and China. Japan’s problem is that its enormous industrial plant is built in a country almost totally devoid of mineral resources. It must import virtually all of the metals and energy that it uses to manufacture industrial products. It maintains stockpiles, but should those stockpiles be depleted and no new imports arrive, Japan stops being an industrial power.

House passes stopgap measure; 54 Republicans vote contrary to party
I wish I could draw. I’d do a cartoon of a donkey with his arm around Uncle Sam’s throat and a gun to his head, saying to a Republican, “Give me more of your grandkids money, or he gets it.” ~Bob. The House on Tuesday approved legislation to prevent a government shutdown for another three weeks, despite defections from 54 Republicans. The 271-158 vote gives President Obama and GOP leaders a small window of time to reach an agreement on a measure to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. The short-term measure could be approved by the Senate as early as Wednesday. If the White House and GOP fail to reach a deal, the latest House vote suggests there is no guarantee GOP leaders will be able to push another short-term measure through the lower chamber. The GOP needed 29 Democratic votes to win on Tuesday. 

As president throws bones to political base, liberal anger wanes
Not to mention that a challenged to a sitting president often means the other party wins the White House. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama has appeased elements of his liberal base in recent months by repealing the Pentagon’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, reversing course on the Defense of Marriage Act and pursuing new gun-control measures. Since enduring a near-mutiny among his political base during the debate on the extension of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts late last year, the outrage from the left expressed in the last Congress has noticeably subsided. And it’s no accident. Obama advisers have stepped up their outreach to liberal activists, and the so-called “professional left” that then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs derided last year has been focusing more on potential GOP White House hopefuls. In 2010, there was a lot of chatter in Washington about Obama being challenged from the left in the Democratic presidential primary. But that, too, has dissipated as potential candidates, including ex-Sen. Russ Feingold (Wis.) and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, have ruled out such a bid. 

Congressional pensions fall on high end of scale
Leftist critics of my blog, ever eager to slam me and not willing to let facts stand in the way, often sneer at me for wanting to cut spending while collecting my huge political (or sometimes military) pension. Often they assume a state senator served in the US Congress. I offer to trade them all the pension I get, or ever will get from the Massachusetts senate or the Marines, for a good bottle of Scotch. ~Bob. Excerpt: Some members of Congress haven’t been shy about criticizing underfunded state and local pension plans, even though they themselves enjoy much heftier retirement packages than most private-sector employees and state workers do. Budget battles in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin have captured headlines of late as lawmakers struggle over how to pay retirement benefits for state and local government workers. Some Washington lawmakers have jumped into the national debate. In a recent speech to South Carolina Republicans, for example, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said, “We’ve got to get real about what we can and cannot afford” in state pensions. On the other side, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown linked opponents of public-sector unions to Nazi Germany. For all the theater, members of Congress, regardless of party, aren’t saying much about their own retirement plans, which are much more generous than those held by most Americans. In fairness, the nation’s lawmakers carry out responsibilities more comparable to top corporate executives than those of average workers, but there’s no available data on CEOs’ retirement packages, which often feature forms of compensation other than pensions, such as stock options.

Sarah Palin losing more ground among Republicans, Post-ABC poll finds
She can do more good for the cause, while getting rich, where she is, acting as a lightening rod for the left. If she was serious about being President, she should have finished her term, run for the US Senate, and build a reputation for knowledge on the issues and hard work. She’d still be in the age bracket in 2020. ~Bob. Excerpt: Sarah Palin’s ratings within the Republican Party are slumping, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a potentially troubling sign for the former Alaska governor as she weighs whether to enter the 2012 presidential race. For the first time in Post-ABC News polling, fewer than six in 10 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents see Palin in a favorable light, down from a stratospheric 88 percent in the days after the 2008 Republican National Convention and 70 percent as recently as October. In one sense, the poll still finds Palin near the top of a list of eight potential contenders for the GOP nomination. The former vice presidential candidate scores a 58 percent favorable rating, close to the 61 percent for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and 60 percent for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and better than the 55 percent that onetime House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) received. But Palin’s unfavorable numbers are significantly higher than they are for any of these possible competitors.

Mitt Romney, conservative darling?
Excerpt: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has spent the better part of the last five years working to convince conservatives that he is one of them. And, if the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll is right, he’s done it. Sixty percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents view the potential GOP presidential candidate favorably, while just 21 percent see him in an unfavorable light. That’s an improvement from where he stood in early January 2008 – in the heart of the GOP primary fight – when 55 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents viewed him favorably and 36 percent felt unfavorably toward him. And back in November 2007, Romney’s favorable score stood at 42 percent while 28 percent felt unfavorably toward him in Post/ABC data. (I’m not one of those conservatives with a positive view. I can’t see how the father of Obamacare-lite can win. I think Romney is highly competent, but lacks the firm convictions of a Reagan. Some of that is visceral, as a Vietnam vet, because of his political BS on the subject. See Below. ~Bob.)

Mitt's Vietnam Flip-Flop: His Most Disturbing Yet
Excerpt: During CNN’s January 30 debate from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Romney said, “one of the two great regrets I have in life is I didn’t serve in the military. I’d love to have.” This echoes what he told the Boston Globe last June 24. “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.” Now, as works with almost any subject, search Google or Nexis for “Romney” and “Vietnam” and any date before 2004, when he got serious about pursuing the 2008 GOP nomination. Voila! There it is, from May 2, 1994. “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam,” Romney told the Boston Herald. (That makes it pretty hard for a vet who is proud of his service in Vietnam to generate any enthusiasm for Romney, though I’ll vote for him if he’s the GOP nominee. It’s not that he didn’t want to serve. It’s the BS now about wishing he was there. ~Bob.)

CIA contractor leaves Pakistani prison after $2.3 million ‘blood money’ deal, officials say
Excerpt: A CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistani men was freed from prison on Wednesday after the United States paid $2.34 million in “blood money” to the victims’ families, Pakistani officials said, defusing a dispute that had strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.

In Libya, Gaddafi’s forces mount heavy assault on strategic town
It’s starting to look like Gaddafi could survive, which, if he does, should make relations with Obama, who said he must go, interesting. Bush got him to give up his nukes, thanks to Iraq, but seeing how weak the US is today, he may change his mind on that once back in control. And the US will be in the bomb sight. ~Bob. Excerpt: Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi stormed into this strategic eastern city on Tuesday, deploying artillery, tanks and rockets to pummel rebel positions in a major effort to suppress a rebellion that once appeared poised to end Gaddafi’s 41-year-long grip on power. Hundreds of residents, mostly women and children, fled Ajdabiya with whatever they could carry. By Tuesday night, residents and rebel commanders reported that Gaddafi’s forces had withdrawn to the outskirts of the city, a tactic they have used in previous attacks. Still, it increasingly appeared that Libyan forces could soon be within striking distance of Benghazi, the rebels’ stronghold.

Why North Dakota Is Booming
Excerpt: Living on the harsh, wind-swept northern Great Plains, North Dakotans lean towards the practical in economic development. Finding themselves sitting on prodigious pools of oil—estimated by the state's Department of Mineral Resources at least 4.3 billion barrels—they are out drilling like mad. And the state is booming. Unemployment is 3.8%, and according to a Gallup survey last month, North Dakota has the best job market in the country. Its economy "sticks out like a diamond in a bowl of cherry pits," says Ron Wirtz, editor of the Minneapolis Fed's newspaper, fedgazette. The state's population, slightly more than 672,000, is up nearly 5% since 2000.

ObamaCare and the Truth About 'Cost Shifting'
There they go again—trying to confuse liberals with the facts. ~Bob. Excerpt: Our review of the research has found that there is no credible evidence of a cost shift of any substantial consequence, either within state boundaries or across state lines. Moreover, the new law will likely generate more cost shifting—the opposite of what its supporters would have us believe. There are, surprisingly, few peer-reviewed studies of the magnitude of alleged cost shifting at the national level. A study conducted by George Mason University Prof. Jack Hadley and John Holahan, Teresa Coughlin and Dawn Miller of the Urban Institute, and published in the journal Health Affairs in 2008, found that so-called cost shifting raises private health insurance premiums by a negligible amount. The study's authors conclude: "Private insurance premiums are at most 1.7 percent higher because of the shifting of the costs of the uninsured to private insurance." For the typical insurance plan, this amounts to approximately $80 per year. The Health Affairs study is supported by another recent peer- reviewed study that focused exclusively on physicians. That 2007 study, authored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology economists Jonathan Gruber and David Rodriguez and published in the Journal of Health Economics, found no evidence that doctors charged insured patients higher fees to cover the cost of caring for the uninsured.

Walking on Broken Glass?
Excerpt: First, destruction is not production. It never is, and society isn’t better off because of it. To claim otherwise is to fall victim to the Broken Window Fallacy, a fallacy that was exploded by Frederic Bastiat almost two centuries ago. The story goes like this: a kid throws a rock and breaks a shopkeeper’s window. Someone claims that this will, in fact, make everyone better off because now the shopkeeper has to buy a new window. This creates work for the glazier, who might use the money to buy a new suit. This would create work and income for the tailor, who might use the proceeds to patch his roof. And so it goes: the unanticipated increase in spending works its way through the economy and brings prosperity to all. Or does it? The shopkeeper could have done something else with the money had his window remained intact. Perhaps he would have bought a suit of his own. Perhaps he would have saved the money. It could then be lent to an automaker to finance the production of new cars that would employ the glazier making windshields. When a window is broken, we’re poorer because of it.

Ex-CAIR Official Faces Sentencing
Excerpt: A Michigan man accused of spying for Saddam Hussein's regime faces nearly four years in prison when he is sentenced on a related charge in federal court Friday. Muthanna Al-Hanooti pleaded guilty last June to one count of violating an executive order prohibiting people from doing any business with Iraq and imposing sanctions. He had a deal with senior Iraqi officials to control 2 million barrels of oil. By transferring that to a third party, Al-Hanooti stood to make $100,000, a prosecution sentencing memo said. Al-Hanooti was identified as executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) Michigan office in 2000. But the charges against him deal with his work with a charity called Life for Relief and Development (LIFE) and its spinoff group, called Focus on American and Arab Interests and Relations (FAAIR). He worked for LIFE from 1995-2006, the sentencing memo said, noting the organization was "created after the first Gulf War in response to the economic sanctions that the United States imposed on Iraq.

Quote from The Patriot Post
Where there are taxpayer-funded cowboy poets, there must surely be cowboy poetry festival administrators, and a Bureau of Cowboy Poetry Festival Licensing, and cowboy poetry festival administration grant-writers, and a Department of Cowboy Poetry Festival Administration Grant Application Processing, and professors of Cowboy Poetry Festival Educational Workshop Management at dozens of American colleges credentialing thousands of cowboy poetry festival workshop coordinating majors every year. --columnist Mark Steyn

Islam Perceived versus Islam Itself
Excerpt: One doesn't need to be a student of Islam to know that neither within the Quran nor the tradition from which it springs and which it in turn continues to shape is there any warrant for, say, the distinction between "radical Islam" and "moderate Islam" that Peter King and legions of others uncritically endorse. Though it is not intended as such, a genuinely devout Muslim will regard as offensive the suggestion that his religiosity is moderate. For that matter, no practitioner of any religion could help but to feel insulted by it (when was the last time you heard anyone describe himself as a "moderate" Christian?). The impulse to divide them into "radicals" and "moderates" is the same impulse that leads other Americans and Westerners to account for our conflict with Muslims either in terms of our foreign policy -- e.g. our support for Israel and our presence in Saudi Arabia -- or the oppression and poverty under which most of the inhabitants of the Islamic world labor. This impulse is the wish to view this struggle in accordance with those concepts that constitute our collective mind, particularly the idea that our enemies are like us in seeing themselves as waging, fundamentally, a political or ideological battle.

Obama: Neo-Marxism, not Islam
This is a very thoughtful, well-reasoned blog, with an often different take on things. ~Bob. Excerpt: Barack Obama’s friendliness—some would say obsequiousness—toward the Islamic world has led more than a few observers to suspect him of being a closet Muslim. When his conduct is considered in conjunction with his schooling as a Muslim in Indonesia, to say nothing of his name, this suspicion assumes a measure of reasonableness. This is not, as some on the establishment right are wont to describe it, “crazy talk.” Still, it is, I believe, ultimately misplaced. Obama’s sympathies toward Muslims are fundamentally informed by the same sentiment that has allegedly motivated him most of his life and that gave rise to his first memoir, Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In short, it is Obama’s yearning for racial authenticity that accounts for his eagerness to accommodate Muslims worldwide. Obama is a leftist, granted, but he isn’t just any leftist, and he certainly isn’t just your run-of-the-mill “liberal Democrat” as those like Michael Medved would have his more “unreasonable” brethren on the right believe. By now (and, truth be told, long before now), anyone and everyone with eyes to see and ears to hear shouldn’t need to be told that Obama is and has always been squarely located in what could only be characterized as “the hard left.” That is to say, Obama is, if not a Marxist, a neo-Marxist.

Worrisome: The Fragility of Complex Societies
When the collapse comes, people dependent on modern technology for life (that would be me with my need for O2), with limited hunter/farming skills and without flexibility and mental toughness will be history. ~Bob. Excerpt: I could go on, but all this suggests another danger of complexity — the inability to transmit knowledge and the dire wages of specialization. The original architects of such systems are now mostly dead, and we, their replacements, often lack their education and respect for civilization’s protocols. The result is that millions of Americans are simply enjoying a system built for them by others which they are not quite able to use, repair, expand — or understand. I am not worried that contemporary elite engineers could not build a high-speed rail network, but I worry that the operators and the mechanics would not be able to ensure that it would run safely and on time. Again, when I drive in Los Angeles, I am amazed at the ingenuity of a long gone generation that crafted such a complex and ingenious system, and appalled at the ignoramuses text messaging and weaving who seem to abuse it by their incompetence or indifference to basic traffic safety and protocol. It is almost as if the drivers were not worthy of their inheritance.

Excerpt: Untouchable. That’s the treatment being given to the $23.6 billion being spent right now to implement Obamacare. This $23.6 billion is part of the $105.5 billion appropriated by the last Congress to fund Obamacare. The remainder (Think of it as post-dated checks for the other $81.9 billion.) automatically becomes available between now and FY2019.

Nuclear Fallout: ‘Chaos Theory,’ Iran, and President Passive
Excerpt: Watching the tragedy going on in Japan, one might normally wonder if the Iranians are having second thoughts about the Natanz reactor and the rest of their “peaceful” nuclear program, especially since the Japanese are light-years ahead of them scientifically and the Iranians have to rely on the Russians, who gave the world Chernobyl, for technical support. But it’s doubtful the Iranians would or could step backwards, considering the religious maniacs who control the country believe their beloved 12th Imam will appear in the midst of chaos. And they have chaos aplenty now. (…) Toward that end, they are moving to take advantage of the global situation and up the chaos quotient. Tuesday we had this from the Christian Science Monitor: Israel today seized the merchant ship “Victoria” 200 miles off its coast, asserting that it had a “solid basis’’ of suspicion that the vessel was ferrying arms shipments from Iran to Hamas in the Gaza Strip that were “intended to hit Israel.” The ship, which originated in Syria and was sailing to the Egyptian port of Alexandria, was diverted to the Israeli port of Ashdod following the takeover, which was met with no resistance from the crew. Israel’s naval commander said that the shipment contained land-to-sea missiles of “strategic importance” to Gaza and accompanying Farsi-language manuals. Though not the first time Israel has commandeered a weapons shipment to block arms to the Palestinians, the seizure comes amid rising unease in Israel that the turmoil sweeping the Middle East — especially Egypt — is creating an opportunity for Iran to widen its influence.

The plight of the weaker sex
Boys are still becoming men at Parris Island, Quantico and MCRD San Diego. ~Bob. Excerpt: Baby-boomer parents who lived through these changes made it a point to raise assertive, athletic, and ambitious daughters. It’s led to what’s been called the “alpha girl.” Her counterarchetype — and these categories are inevitably broad and impressionistic — is what Hymowitz calls the “child-man.” Think of one of the immature schleps played by Adam Sandler or Seth Rogen. “The child-man,” Hymowitz writes, “is the fun house mirror image of the alpha girl. If she is ambitious, he is a slacker. If she is hyper-organized and self-directed, he tends toward passivity and vagueness. If she is preternaturally mature, he is happily not.”

Men Without Women
Excerpt: When Sen first added up the missing women—women who would exist today if it were not for selective abortion, infanticide, and economic discrimination—he put the number at 100 million….In China today, according to American Enterprise Institute demographer Nicholas Eberstadt, there are about 123 male children for every 100 females up to the age of 4, a far higher imbalance than 50 years ago, when the figure was 106….. The question left open by economists is what the consequences will be of such a large surplus of young men. History offers a disquieting answer. According to the German scholar Gunnar Heinsohn, European imperial expansion after 1500 was the result of a male “youth bulge.” Japan’s imperial expansion after 1914 was the result of a similar youth bulge, Heinsohn argues. During the Cold War, it was youth-bulge countries—Algeria, El Salvador, and Lebanon—that saw the worst civil wars and revolutions. Heinsohn has also linked the recent rise of Islamist extremism in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan to an Islamic youth bulge. Political scientists Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer warn that China and India could be the next countries to overdose on testosterone.

Union Protestors in Wisconsin Destroy Democrat Recall Petitions and Police Do Nothing
the violence of the entitlement riots grows. No surprise. In ten years, as the collapse gathers momentum, this really will look like “civility” these leftists like to prate about. Violence begets violence. ~Bob. Excerpt: Upon arrival, members of the recall committee were encircled by union protesters carrying signs and a leader with a mega phone who began chanting and ranting loudly. They packed in tightly around the petition collection table so as to prevent those attempting to sign from doing so. At one point, a pro union protester, pretending to be interested in signing the petition, wrote profanity across a partially collected petition form, than began ripping up the completed petitions that were in close proximity. The policemen who were there, and who were standing in close proximity to these events as they unfolded, did nothing to assist those collecting the petitions as they were being destroyed, despite such an action being a Felony under Wisconsin law. Police also did nothing to clear the walk way for citizens that wanted to sign the petitions. Recall Committee members received many phone calls the following day from Merill area citizens who stated that they showed up to sign the petition, but were too afraid to get out of their vehicles and approach the recall table.

Marco Rubio starts building national brand
Excerpt: With a landmark spending debate engulfing Washington, the Florida Republican has, virtually overnight, launched the national profile the conservative movement has been clamoring for. During his first national interview Monday, Rubio pounced on President Barack Obama — from the friendly confines of Laura Ingraham’s conservative radio show. He blasted a statement to the media, pledging to vote against the Republicans’ short-term spending resolution and calling it a “nickle-and-dime” approach. And he’s vowed to vote against everything that comes through the Senate unless it deals with addressing the $14 trillion debt crisis.

Canada: Mounties bring charges against al-Qaeda suspects, including former U of Manitoba student
Excerpt: When this story first broke, the Muslim community was quick to complain it felt "stressed" over the investigation -- not so much, apparently, over the suspects' disappearance or their potential victims. This, of course, has become standard operating procedure: try to deflect attention by claiming victim status, and silence the discussion by portraying any scrutiny from outside the community as a form of (or prelude to) persecution…. The RCMP allege that the al-Qaeda terrorists behind the plot were trained by a University of Manitoba student who has disappeared from Canada. Ferid Imam vanished from Winnipeg in 2007 and is now suspected of being in the lawless mountains of northwestern Pakistan. He is now being sought on terrorist-training charges as part of a new criminal case. The case, which alleges lesser offences by a second suspect, amounts to a crucial test of the reach of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

Cleric issues 48-page fatwa against democracy
Excerpt: The spiritual leader of Algeria's influential Salafist movement has issued a 48-page fatwa, or religious decree, urging Muslims to ignore calls for change because he says that democracy goes against Islam.

Bomb wounds four at Indonesian Islam group HQ
Gee, I wonder why more “moderate” Muslims don’t speak up? ~Bob. Excerpt: A bomb exploded at the headquarters of a moderate Islamic group in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Tuesday, wounding four people including a police officer whose hand was blown off.

Green Injustice: How environmentalists rig the economy against the poor
Excerpt: The purpose of the FSC was to establish a globally recognized scheme for monitoring "responsible" forest management. Products would be certified with a FSC seal of approval if they met the groups' criteria for being sustainably sourced. Very quickly, however, the FSC became a vehicle for European timber and paper companies to dominate the market and fend off competition. These commercial interests worked hand in glove with environmental organizations to write the standards. They made sure the criteria were easy for Europeans to meet but difficult or impossible for competitors in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to achieve. Here's how they rigged the system. Certification is denied to operations undertaken on land that was converted from forests after November 1994. Developed countries -- where such conversion was undertaken decades ago as their economies grew -- are obviously greatly advantaged by this.

Japan's tragedy will impact the global economy
Excerpt: Japan's calamity will disrupt "normal" supply and demand for the most basic stuff that the world needs -- now, and potentially for years to come. Consider the potential impact on food prices. The tsunami has damaged rice paddies and other agriculture resources. Japan will have to make up for domestic shortfalls with imports, further straining an already stretched global food supply. The disaster will similarly hit energy prices. The best-case scenario for the Daiichi nuclear reactors is that they do no further public harm. Japan must replace this lost power generation -- as well as replace the energy from disrupted gas lines -- with energy imports. In the short term -- which could be a matter of years -- the nation will have no choice but to use some of that replacement energy inefficiently. For example, Japan could site temporary diesel-fueled electricity generators offshore. This demand will push global energy prices higher than they otherwise would be. The global supply chain for goods and services will suffer harm, too. Japan's auto industry has halted domestic production this week. The nation also produces components for the iPhone and other products for China, which assembles them into finished products.

The Obama Revolving Door: Mortgage subsidy chief cashes out to Mortgage Bankers Association
Excerpt: Barack Obama's housing policy involved quite a bit of trying to throw taxpayer money at underwater housing, expanding subsidies, expanding TARP, and so on. Most notably, there was Obama's "Backdoor Bank Bailout." Now one of the architects of Obama's housing policy, Federal Housing Authority Commissioner David Stevens, is cashing out to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

No comments:

Post a Comment