Monday, August 8, 2011

Political Digest for August 8, 2011

Best older posts for new blog readers

Police Officers Hospitalized in London Riots
Excerpt: Twenty-six police officers were injured Sunday during riots in the Tottenham area of London, after a demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze.
Dead Man's Family Condemn Tottenham Riot
Excerpt: Hours of violence saw around 300 people battle police in north London.
Residents have told Sky News they were in fear for their lives as shops were looted, police cars and a bus set alight and petrol bombs thrown at officers. Scotland Yard said 26 policemen were injured with eight officers admitted to hospital. They have all since been discharged.

Excerpt: Pennsylvanians on public assistance now have a new 'civil right' -- free cell phones. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to pay higher cell bills as a result. Recently, a federal government program called the Universal Service Fund came to the Keystone State and some residents are thrilled because it means they can enjoy 250 minutes a month and a handset for free, just because they don't have the money to pay for it. Through Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless these folks get to reach out and touch someone while the cost of their service is paid for by everyone else. You see, the telecommunications companies are funding the Universal Service Fund to the tune of $4 billion a year because the feds said they have to and in order to recoup their money, the companies turn around and hike their fees to paying customers. But those of use paying for the free service for the poor, should be happy about this infuriating situation, says Gary Carter, manager of national partnerships for Assurance, because "the program is about peace of mind." Free cell service means "one less bill that someone has to pay, so they can pay their rent or for day is a right to have peace of mind," Cater explained. (If you don't have a cell phone, you can't find out about the latest flash-mob riot and miss out on the looting. ~Bob.)

NAACP and EPA Inflict Heat Prostration and Death
Excerpt: When a record heat wave slammed the nation in July 1936, Midwest temperatures hit 100-107 for a week. With most homes and businesses lacking even fans in this pre-AC era, millions suffered heat prostration. In Wisconsin, 449 died. Nationwide, thousands perished. Now the EPA and NAACP want to send America back to the “good old days.” Under a perverse notion of “environmental justice,” they are promoting tough new air quality rules that would shut down dozens of coal-fired power plants that make affordable AC possible for millions of poor and minority families. According to them, coal-based electricity is “racist.” Minorities are more at risk because they often live near “dangerous,” older, more polluting power plants. (…) EPA’s rules will reduce electricity availability and send costs soaring 12% to 60% by 2015 – especially in the 26 states that depend on coal for 48-98% of their electricity. Families and businesses in those states currently pay less than half as much per kilowatt hour as those in low-coal, high-tax, hyper-regulated states. That means jobs, profits, balanced budgets – and protection against life-threatening heat and cold. Under EPA/NAACP rules, all that would end. Power plant closures will cause deadly electricity shortages during periods of peak demand. (One of the co-authors of this column is Niger Innis, a director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Ron P.)

Truth, evidence and belief
Excerpt: Many readers will have heard that the BBC Trust earlier this year commissioned Professor Steve Jones to look into the impartiality and accuracy of science reporting on the BBC. The report was delivered last week and was well-received by the broadcaster itself (BBC praised for science coverage according to the website). However, one area of concern related to balance, on which issue the report recommended that the BBC ‘must make a distinction between well-established fact and opinion’ to avoid giving ‘free publicity to marginal opinions’. This is something which immediately makes many people feel uneasy. On one hand, it is important not to give a public platform to cranks without challenging them, but on the other hand the body of scientific knowledge is by its nature constantly changing and expanding and interpretations may change with time. Who, therefore, is to say what is a ‘marginal opinion’ rather than legitimate criticism? Given that, despite claims to the contrary, much scientific ‘fact’ represents our best understanding at a point in time rather than the absolute ‘truth’, such decisions can be very difficult to make in a fair way. The classic example is in basic physics: the behaviour of matter at different scales. For centuries, Newton’s laws of motion were regarded as a perfect formulation of how things work in the material world. However, they break down under certain circumstances…. Other understandings of science have changed dramatically over the same period. Until Lavoisier discovered oxygen, it was ‘known’ that combustible materials contained a substance called phlogiston, which was lost when things were burnt. Evidence that, for example, magnesium gained weight when burnt was interpreted by some to mean that phlogiston had a negative weight. The phlogiston theory had explained combustion to the satisfaction of scientists of the day and was only overturned when the evidence for the role of oxygen became overwhelming: the sort of behaviour which Kuhn described as the way science advances by the gradual acceptance of new paradigms. (This is a good article, but it misses the real question: who do you want deciding which “truth” gets broadcast or printed? I suspect every politician in the world would love to have that power, but when they do, it’s no longer news, it’s propaganda. While private editors will also have opinions about what constitutes “truth,” some will always “follow the evidence” rather than the “correctness.” As usual, there are no easy answers, but one glaring fact stands out: BBC is paid for by the political process. BBC must see anything impacting their political allies’ fortunes as eventually impacting their own future well-being. Ron P.)

New Low: 17% Say U.S. Government Has Consent of the Governed
Excerpt: Fewer voters than ever feel the federal government has the consent of the governed.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 17% of Likely U.S. Voters think the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the government does not have that consent. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. 

Electric car owners may face £19,000 battery charge
All prices are in Pounds Sterling (around $1.50US to the Pound). It’s almost cheaper to buy a new car. And just think of the EPA’s howling if one of these monstrous batteries ends up in a landfill—or a reservoir. Ron P. Excerpt: Only 680 electric cars have been bought so far this year despite 2011 being declared Britain's “year of the electric car”. The Government has provided £43 million to give 8,600 buyers of electric cars a grant of £5,000 towards the purchase price. Nissan has admitted that owners of a Leaf, which costs £26,000 after the government grant, may need to replace the battery after a few years, depending on how it has been treated, The Times reported. The battery’s capacity can decrease significantly if the owner repeatedly uses a fast-charge point.

Top 10 Unhinged Liberal Attacks
Excerpt: With the debt-ceiling madhouse resolved (at least for the time being), it would be instructive to look back and see how the so-called “adults” in the Democratic Party and their media sycophants acted during the deliberations. Here are the Top 10 Unhinged Liberal Attacks during the debt talks. 1. Saving life on the planet: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi may have made her all-time silliest statement when she tried explaining what was at stake in the debt battle: “What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”

Excerpt: Doug Ross offers an excellent summary of the whole fandango. I still maintain that, as this scandal is rolled out, either it or the threat of it running its course will be the real reason for Obama to resign. The Dems, especially Invertebrate Harry in the Senate, have got to see BHO as a liability. The question becomes at what point the cost/benefit analysis is such that it’s easier to eat the impeachment than drink the fatal political kool-aid of hanging on to him. One likely damage control course of action is to highlight the thuggery of Fast and Furious, and tie that to BHO personally, instead of the Dems as a whole. Or not. Maybe the Progressive cult goes full political suicide pact.

EDL - Sharia Law - Battlefield London

The extraordinary collapse of Jatropha as a biofuel
Excerpt: The current American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology has a most amazing story demonstrating the foolish, indeed outright dangerous, application of the “precautionary principle” to AGW mitigation. (Although the original story is a the American Chemical Society’s website, this is linked through WUWT because of the other links and background it provides. I urge you to read the whole article and follow the links. Some great comments at WUWT, too. Ron P.)

Happy Birthday, Michael Ledeen!
Excerpt: I was not privileged to be born in the United States, as most readers of PJMedia probably were. On July 28, I celebrated 33 years since the C-130 military airplane that brought me to freedom landed at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. On that memorable day I was exactly three months short of the round age of fifty, and the joy of finally becoming part of this magnanimous land of liberty was only surpassed by the joy of simply being alive. (…) Young Americans, who have no longer been taught real history in school and have probably not yet started paying taxes, seem to love the concept of a free lunch. It is no wonder that during the 2008 election campaign, the Democratic Party filled entire stadiums with people demanding that the wealth of the United States be redistributed. (An interesting personal and national story with an unusual perspective. From the editor’s notes at the bottom of the article: Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest official who has ever defected from the Soviet bloc. Ron P.)

The Week That Was: 2011-08-06 (August 6, 2011)
Lots of good, interesting—and in some cases, frightening—articles in this week’s TWTW, and most of them are new things TOJ hasn’t previously covered. Enjoy. Ron P. Excerpt: Global warming alarmists have been claiming that they must communicate better with the public. Apparently, one of the ways is to try to explain why scientists "the deniers" who do not accept global warming alarmism must be conservative white males. In "Stuff white people like: denying climate change" David Roberts announces a new study to be published attempting to explain this failure of communication. The quote from Chris Mooney, a newly elected director of the American Geophysical Union, is one of several in that post. Apparently, those quoted, especially Mr. Mooney, are incapable of realizing that many people do not accept the threat of dangerous global warming because the science of the alarmists is shoddy. The alarmists fail to empirically verify their claims. [Note: the term climate change is used, even though the alarmists have failed to establish any period of stable climate.]  As if race were important, the day before Roberts posted his piece, two members of the Affordable Power Alliance, Harry Jackson and Niger Innis (Innis is a director of the pioneering equal-rights group, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)), clearly stated why they oppose the global warming programs of the EPA and others. These programs will significantly increase the costs of electricity, thus lower the disposable income and standards of living for most Americans, particularly the poor. The programs will result in electricity shortages when demand is greatest, during the hot weather causing greater suffering. Please see Article #2 and referenced article under "Communicating Better to the Public - Make things up."

Mossad's hit streak
Excerpt: The two assassins arrived from nowhere as their victim was driving home with his wife. Trapped inside his car, he was hopelessly vulnerable as their motorcycles pulled alongside. He would just have had time to notice their blacked-out visors before they opened fire, emptying round after round into his chest. Nuclear scientist Darioush Rezaei died immediately. His wife was critically wounded and still in a hospital days after the attack in northeastern Iran. The hit men? They vanished into the traffic fumes of the night. This is a story of ruthless men playing for the highest stakes imaginable. Of secret agents from Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad, who will stop at nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Punting on Syria
Excerpt: As Syrians began their Ramadan fast last week, dictator Bashar al-Assad was busy killing hundreds of protesters in Hama, deploying tanks and troops in a brutal flash that has scorched cities across the country. Like father, like son, it seems — Assad pere massacred more than 10,000 civilians in Hama during a month-long crackdown in 1982. And though Assad fils’ butcher bill isn’t quite as large, he’s clearly just warming up. “What’s going on in Hama is an atrocity,” said Turkey’s deputy prime minister, as tanks rolled through the city square and continued a devastating assault that has killed more than 300, according to refugees. That ties the White House into a knot. Recall: When Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy turned his tanks on his own people, President Obama decided that America’s “interests and values” were at stake — and went to war to prevent wholesale slaughter. But the White House blinked when Assad began his newest crackdown, offering potted statements about how the tyrant is on “the wrong side of history” and “his regime will be left in the past.” The cracks in Obama’s Middle East policy are gaping.

A Question of Honor: Police Say Iraqi Immigrant Father Targeted Daughter in Honor Killing
Excerpt: An audio tape obtained by Fox News sheds new light into the 2009 murder of an Iraqi-born woman who was killed in Arizona after her father drove over her in what police believe was an honor killing. According to the tape, as Noor Al-Maleki, 20, clung to life in intensive care, Peoria police believed that her father, Faleh Al-Maleki, had targeted her for an honor killing – and that other members of her family might try to kill her in her hospital bed. The audio tape records a telephone conversation between Seham Al-Maleki – Noor’s mother – and Peoria police detective Bill Laing. In it Laing informs Seham that her husband had run down Noor and her friend Amal Khalaf with his Jeep Cherokee, as the two women were leaving an Arizona welfare office. The incident occurred on October 20, 2009 in a parking lot in Peoria, a suburb of Phoenix.

Bomb hits NATO supply tankers in Pakistan
Excerpt: Police say a bomb attack in Pakistan has destroyed 16 tankers carrying fuel for U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. Police officer Shafi Ullah Khan says the attack took place Saturday at a terminal close to the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan.

73% of Palestinians agree with genocidal hadith about Muslims killing Jews hiding behind trees
Excerpt: "Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews." -- Sahih Muslim 6985 A few years ago, the Horowitz Center mounted an initiative to ask Muslim groups in the United States to repudiate this genocidal hadith. We sent a statement around to CAIR, ISNA, the MSA, etc., but none of them (unsurprisingly) would sign on. Even Zuhdi Jasser was wary of doing so, telling me that he rejected the hadith as inauthentic in the first place, and so he didn't see any need to repudiate it. He ultimately did, but that was the line that Muslim spokesmen in general took, when they deigned to comment on the issue at all: they said that no Muslim believed that hadith to be authentic anyway, so what was the big deal? Well, here is the big deal. 73% of Palestinians think it is authentic, and where they live Islamic jihadists are indeed killing Jews. Yet will Muslim leaders in the U.S. denounce them and call upon their coreligionists to renounce Islamic antisemitism and live in peace with the Israelis? Will the mainstream media put them on the hotseat and ask them about how they think this genocidal hadith may provoke violence among Palestinians who victimize innocent Israelis, and call on them to renounce it?

Small Businesswoman’s Epic Rant Against Obama’s Disastrous Economic Policies

The 18 Countries With a Better Credit Rating Than the United States
Liechtenstein? That hurts. ~Bob.

Geithner staying at Treasury, says Congress ‘owns the credit rating’
He can go; it's not like he's the only tax cheat in Washington to fill the job. ~Bob. Excerpt: Timothy Geithner told President Obama that he plans to remain in his position as Treasury secretary, ending weeks of speculation that he might leave, and began working to reassure investors after the nation's first credit downgrade. Sunday evening in an interview with NBC News' John Harwood, Geithner explained his decision to stay at Treasury. "I believe in this president, John. I believe in what he's trying to do for the country. I love my work. And I think if a president asks you to serve, you have to do it," said Geithner.

Americans want the honor of 'earned success'
Excerpt: Why aren't voters moving to the left, toward parties favoring bigger government, during what increasingly looks like an economic depression? That's a question I've asked, and one that was addressed with characteristic thoughtfulness by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg in the New York Times last week. Greenberg argues that voters agree with Democrats on issues but don't back them on policy because they don't trust government to carry it out fairly. I think he overstates their agreements on policies: They may favor "investment in education" until they figure out that it actually means political payoffs to teachers' unions. But his larger point rings true. He points out that "the growth of self-identified conservatives" began during the fall 2008 debate over the TARP legislation supported by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and John McCain. The voters' take: "Government works for the irresponsible, not the responsible."

Excerpt:  In the wake of Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the United States government's credit rating from AAA to AA+, a number of commentators on the left are directing most of the blame not at high levels of government spending, and not even at tax rates they would like to increase, but at the ratings agency itself. Since S&P made enormous mistakes in rating securities backed by subprime mortgages prior to the economic meltdown, they argue, the ratings agency has no right to judge the U.S. government today. "These are some of the people who have the worst records of incompetence and irresponsibility around," top House Democrat Rep. Barney Frank told MSNBC. S&P analysts, Frank continued, are "trying to justify their reputation" by being tough on the U.S. An unnamed White House official, quoted by CNBC, called S&P's performance "amateur hour" and cited a $2 trillion math mistake made in an earlier S&P assessment. Another anonymous administration official added: "A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself."

Did Tim Geithner Really Say There Was ‘No Risk’ of a Downgrade? Let’s Go to the Video

Obama Flashback: My Presidency Will Be ‘A One-Term Proposition’ if Economy Doesn’t Turn Around in ’3 Years’
Excerpt: The timing of this CNSNews report published early Friday about a definitive statement made by President Obama seems particularly eerie given the fact that Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S’. credit rating Friday evening for the first time in history. The rather foreboding report delved into a flashback of Obama circa 2009, in which he stated that his presidency would be a “one-term proposition” if the economy did not turn around on his watch in “three years.” His statement, made that February, puts Obama less than six months out from his three-year milestone.

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