Monday, May 28, 2012

Political Digest for May 29, 2012

Book Recommendation. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. By Jonathan Haidt
I suppose the best compliment is that throughout this insightful and well-written book, I kept wishing the author was present so I could discuss, and often argue points with him. (And I suppose he was glad to be far away.) To be fair, many of the points I wanted to argue he addressed and resolved further on. Haidt is a self-described left-wing academic and atheist, though of Jewish heritage. He is a Kerry and Obama supporter, a bias he is very open about and references throughout this work. But he is also an intellectually honest man and—so rare on today’s campuses—open to diversity of thought, the only kind of diversity that really matters. A “Moral Psychologist,” Haidt makes a very solid academic research effort to understand the moral foundations of both conservative and liberal political thought, as well as why religion is important in human societies. The book held my interest throughout, and will be of great value to thinkers on both the right and the left of our political divide, who will gain understanding of why they hold the views they do, and why others hold different views. Shouters and haters, not so much. Read through the reviews on Amazon. This book is well worth your time.

Apathy and the climate change divide – it isn’t about science literacy
Excerpt: Are members of the public divided about climate change because they don’t understand the science behind it? If Americans knew more basic science and were more proficient in technical reasoning, would public consensus match scientific consensus? A study published today online in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that the answer to both questions is no. Indeed, as members of the public become more science literate and numerate, the study found, individuals belonging to opposing cultural groups become even more divided on the risks that climate change poses. (This might explain the very human tendency to demonize those outside the favored group on all sorts of issues, but especially those that are primarily emotional or based on inconclusive or non-existent evidence. You can lead a ____ to facts, but you can’t make him think. Ron P.)

Next stop for wounded vets: Freedom Station. San Diego housing complex helps them transition out of the military
Excerpt: A train station is where passengers begin a journey, or change direction. For the past year, Freedom Station has been a place where San Diego sailors and Marines with broken bodies start their journey to a new life. It looks much like many apartment complexes in old San Diego neighborhoods. A handful of cottages circle a courtyard. But every detail is ready to pass a drill instructor’s inspection. 

Excerpt: Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill aimed at keeping Kansas courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes.

Excerpt: The US again targeted terrorists operating in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, killing eight "militants" in two airstrikes.

This will get someone killed. Nice people on the left, prating about “civility.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Last week we spent a lot of time writing about Brett Kimberlin and the incident involving blogger Patterico where someone spoofed his phone number and told 911 he had shot his wife. Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway. Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.

Obama-Ayers connection, eyewitness account
Excerpt: Allen K. Hulton is not a household name, nor is it his desire to have it become one. He is a man with a simple story, an account of incidents that took place over a period of several years while delivering mail in a Chicago suburb. He spent about 30 years delivering mail, years that would have been contiguous had he not served in the military during the Vietnam era.

Will the 1991 Biography Discovery Force Obama to Open the Hood?
Excerpt: Three possibilities follow the bombshell discovery that Barack Obama was promoted in 1991 through 2007 by his professional agency as an author "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." (1) Obama untruthfully presented himself as Kenya-born. (2) Obama untruthfully presents himself as Hawaii-born. (3) Obama had no knowledge that his bio contained the 16-year-old "error" which was corrected in April of 2007, when Obama was gearing up his campaign for the U.S. presidency.

The cult of the presidency is going down – and it's taking Obama with it. By James Poulos
It’s only fitting that Barack Obama, who so willingly brought America’s cult of the presidency to climax, should preside over its unceremonious collapse. Obama’s administration may well extend into the next four years. The signs of disappointment and disillusionment with his presidency, however, are now beginning to pile up.

SAUDIS in full meltdown over McDonald’s toy that they say insults the prophet Muhammad
Excerpt: Saudi Arabians are furious at a McDonald’s toy which they say mocks their prophet Muhammad. According to a report appearing today (5/27/12) on the Arabic news website,, the McDonald’s fast food restaurant “abused the Prophet Muhammad by placing his name at the base of a toy that is being distributed as part of the Happy Meal, a toy which steps on the name ‘Muhammad.’” 

Homeland Security Releases List of Keywords That Cheese Them Off
Excerpt: It took a Freedom of Information Act request and a lawsuit by the Electronic Privacy Information Center to get it, but Homeland Security has released its supposedly complete list of words that set off bells in the top secret caves of the DHS.

“Free Burma Rangers” Crucial to Resistance and Freedom
Excerpt: Burma has been at war for 63 years. There has been recent talk of progress toward peace, but all of my sources who travel inside disagree. They say the fighting rages on. I also made a recent quick foray inside to a Karen area. There was no fighting in that area during the two days I was there, but the guerrillas confirmed that combat continues unabated.

excerpt: Yet over the course of the last few decades, the Left’s most rewarding play on language has been a not-so-subtle shift from focusing on natural rights to focusing on “human rights.” The former are fixed and derived from God through nature, while the latter are in flux and founded solely upon the decisions various governments and ruling entities make regarding innumerable definitions of freedom….
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: For refusing to renounce her Christian faith, Julie Aftab’s Muslim attackers threw battery acid in her face and poured it down her throat. Aftab survived, but then she was poisoned while recovering in the hospital and then later shot. Somehow she held on.

Testing the Chief Justice’s backbone. By George Will
Excerpt: In one of his characteristic conniptions about people who frustrated him, Theodore Roosevelt, progressivism’s first president, said of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, “I could carve out of a banana a judge with more backbone than that.” TR was as mistaken about Holmes’ spine as are various progressives today about Chief Justice John Roberts’.

Diane Tran, Honor Student At Texas High School, Jailed For Missing School
Excerpt: The Willis High School junior, who helps support two siblings, has both a full time and part-time job. She said that she's often too tired to go to school. (…) In an interview with KHOU-11, Tran said she takes AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history courses. Her parents divorced and no longer live near her, so she lives with the family that owns the wedding venue where she works on weekends. (I hope there is more to this than meets the eye. Not even a school committee could be this dumb. I also think a review of the judge’s order should be initiated. Perhaps the Governor of Texas, surely no fool, might take a hand in it, too. Ron P.)

Australians Face Huge Fines For Speaking Ill Of New Carbon Tax: The tax whose name cannot be spoken. By Paul Joseph Watson
Praised by Barack Obama as a model for the world, Australia’s highly unpopular carbon tax, set to take effect from July 1st, is set to be policed by laws which forbid business owners from criticizing it for causing price rises – with thought criminals who do so under threat of being hit with huge fines of over $1 million dollars

Excerpt: The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

Chicago’s African-Americans are Murdering Each Other at an Alarming Rate
Excerpt: This is happening because of our polite society’s fear of being labeled racist, intolerant or bigoted. We simply tolerate this carnage and refuse to identify and condemn the cultural phenomenon behind this urban terror. Toleration of a bankrupt and vile culture is the root of the problem. Until we face this fact we can never begin to bring any positive change.

Newport Beach Bills Team Obama $35K to Cover Overhead During Campaign Fundraiser
Excerpt: The city spent $35,043 on police officers when President Obama stopped in Corona del Mar in February for a campaign breakfast, and revenue officials have sent his campaign an invoice to recoup the costs. City Manager Dave Kiff said the invoice was his idea.

Iran not ready for visit to suspect nuclear site
Excerpt: The U.N. nuclear watchdog has not yet given good enough reasons to visit an Iranian site where it suspects there may have been experiments for developing nuclear weapons, Iranian media said. The Parchin complex is at the centre of Western suspicions that Iran is developing atom bombs despite Tehran's repeated denials of any such ambition. A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week said satellite images showed "extensive activities" at Parchin. (Couple this report with the news over the past week or 10 days. Iran and the IAEA agreed to agree, but never specified what they would agree to or when they would do it. The Iranians agreed to decide whether or not to allow inspectors into this site, which they have now done in such a way that fools might think they “could” change their minds. If this was a criminal trial under US laws, I think Iran would be found guilty. It is possible for an innocent person to take the same actions as a guilty one in some cases—but, not in EVERY case. At some point, even the most skeptical juror has to say to himself “he done it.” There is no conceivable set of circumstances that can justify every refusal to allow inspection of the critical sites AND the decision to bury the sites so completely as to prevent both satellite surveillance and aerial attack. Especially when combined with other known facts: the Iranians are refining not merely to 20%, but, in at least some cases, to 27%; that they are working feverishly to develop and improve their missile delivery systems—and have succeeded in launching at least one earth satellite (note that any satellite launcher is automatically an ICBM as it is merely a matter of picking where to re-enter from orbit); and have worked to develop a detonator that will reliably explode at an altitude of 600 meters. They are going for it and they only have a few conceivable targets: Israel, Europe, and US. They’ve gone to great lengths to develop alliances throughout the western hemisphere (Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, including a military presence in some) to go along with their open alliances with Pakistan and North Korea and likely covert alliances with both China and Russia. When, not if, we are attacked, which of our allies do you hope will come to our aid and with what? I don’t see it happening at all; I believe it is truly us against the world. At this point, I’m not even sure we could strike preemptively without bringing disaster upon ourselves. Is suicide preferable to execution? Sigh. Ron P.)

Party Like It’s 1978: Governor Jerry Brown And The Same Ol’ Failed Ideas
Excerpt: As for the California legislators, they’ve spent the past four years ignoring the national recession, as well as their own state fiscal crisis…. Governor Brown and his California Democrat party have behaved as though the private sector economy will always produce, no matter how law makers abuse businesses and taxpayers.

Excerpt: It's become a badge of honor Hello. My name is Robert Wargas and I am a Racist™. No, not that kind of racist: not the kind that, you know, actually dislikes people of other races.

Dear Graduates: You’re Screwed! By Derek Hunter 
Three: It’s graduation season, and prominent political and media figures are making the rounds to give commencement speeches at colleges across the country. The president, administration officials, progressive members of Congress, left-wing television talking heads, liberal columnists, etc., are spewing so many feel-good platitudes that you’d think doing so was an Olympic event and they were training for the gold in London. The one thing missing from these speeches is reality.

The Fraudulence of Obama
Excerpt: In arguably the most important speech of the campaign, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa in 2007, Obama said, “[Lobbyists] have not funded my campaign, they will not work in my White House. ”Upon taking office, Obama made quite a show of announcing new ethics rules barring lobbyists from working in the administration on issues that fell under their lobbying bailiwick. Yet Obama immediately allowed waivers for lobbyists working on issues that fell under their lobbying bailiwick.

excerpt: A United States Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges handed a decisive defeat to the ACLU this week that stated the Central Intelligence Agency doesn't have to release documents regarding its use of waterboarding, or a photograph of the suspected terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, taken around the time that he was subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” This was yet another defeat suffered by the American Civil Liberties Union in its anti-anti-terrorism battle with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. 

Kids with Cell Phones: Record Your Socialist Teachers! By Doug Giles
Excerpt: This week audio surfaced of a North Carolina teacher, Tanya Dixon-Neely (black), berating 13-year-old Hunter Rogers (honky) for criticizing president Obama (hate crime). Neely said Rogers could be arrested for slandering Obama. What a crock! Children cannot be arrested for criticizing Obama—at least not until his second term when we will truly see our First Amendment rights vanish like a pack of raw wieners at Rosie’s house.

Obama Should Blame Himself, Not The Court
excerpt: Sometime in the next month, the United States Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obama's individual mandate, the provision forcing everyone in the United States to buy health insurance. Based on how badly this provision was defeated in the oral arguments, it will likely be struck down as unconstitutional. If the law's most popular provision, the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions, is also struck down, Obama has nobody to blame but himself.

Are We Headed for a Fight with China? By Steve Chapman 
Excerpt: The Soviet Union is gone, al-Qaida is decimated, and Iran may never acquire nuclear weapons. But don't get too relaxed. If you're looking for reasons to be anxious about world peace, China offers an abundance. It's a huge country with a growing economy, an expanding military and ongoing disputes with several neighbors. 

It's payback time: don't expect sympathy – Lagarde to Greeks: Take responsibility and stop trying to avoid taxes, International Monetary Fund chief tells Athens
Excerpt: The International Monetary Fund has ratcheted up the pressure on crisis-hit Greece after its managing director, Christine Lagarde, said she has more sympathy for children deprived of decent schooling in sub-Saharan Africa than for many of those facing poverty in Athens.

‘Welcome home’ Vietnam veterans: We need to remember the war the way it really happened. By Prof. Robert Turner
Excerpt: A lot of very brave men fought nobly in that conflict, only to return home to be treated with scorn and disrespect. (I still remember my own reception while out-processing at Oakland Army Base in California following my second Vietnam tour, when we were warned, “Don’t wear your uniforms into town.”) (A very well qualified historian and war veteran does a superb job on reviewing what went on during the war, and after, and why it's still critically important for people to begin to understand the truth of that history and its actual lessons. --Del)

Obama's re-election campaign - the thrill is gone: Willie Brown
The president's trip to the Bay Area last week made it painfully clear that the Barack Obama re-election campaign has lost its mojo. There was no life, no personality, no memorable line or moment and no real enthusiasm in the entire fundraising foray. In short, there was no buzz.

Name Ban Sparks Tribes' Ire: Curb on Indian Imagery in School Teams' Titles Meets Resistance on Reservations
Excerpt: Tribes on two Oregon Indian reservations this week protested a new rule by Oregon education officials that bans public schools from using Native American imagery in team names and mascots. Dumb Redskins don’t know what’s good for them. Bureaucrats need to call in a real injin, Liz warren, to explain it to them. ~Bob.)

The Spirit of Geert Wilders: A foreword to Wilders’ Marked for Death. By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: When I was asked to write a foreword to Geert Wilders' new book, my first reaction, to be honest, was to pass. … And then I took a stroll in the woods, and felt vaguely ashamed at the ease with which I was willing to hand a small victory to his enemies. After I saw off the Islamic enforcers in my own country, their frontman crowed to The Canadian Arab News that, even though the Canadian Islamic Congress had struck out in three different jurisdictions in their attempt to criminalize my writing about Islam, the lawsuits had cost my magazine (he boasted) two million bucks, and thereby "attained our strategic objective - to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material." (Lots of good thoughts in here. About standing up for freedom and the right of Western culture to exist and not let itself be morphed into something less free. --Del)

Bring Back Stigma: Treat men like Desmond Hatchett, father of 30 welfare children, as creeps they are. By James Bacon 
Desmond Hatchett, of Knoxville, Tenn., has petitioned the state of Tennessee for relief of his child-support obligations. It seems that the 33-year-old minimum-wage earner has to divide 50 percent of his earnings with the 11 women with whom he has fathered 30 children. While some of his children receive as little as $1.49 per month, according to media reports, the sheer number of offspring add up to an oppressive burden. You will never hear about the able-bodied Hatchett and his many progeny when liberals and progressives wail about the increasing poverty and disparity of incomes in the United States. (Nancy Pelosi's daughter is an aspiring film producer. She made this video (aired on Bill Maher's show [!]) which has caused quite a stir in the "progressive" community. I imagine her mother was furious. Cordially, Larry Greenberg)

Obama signs authorization for MARTIAL LAW!!
Because if you lived, as I did, several years under Nazi totalitarianism, and then 20 years in communist totalitarianism, you would certainly realize how precious freedom is, and how easy it is to lose your freedom. – Milos Forman, (This just came to my attention... and it got my attention, but good. Ability to declare martial law at any time, on whatever pretext the President cares to employ? If this was passed while Bush was in the White House, imagine the huge headlines and the screaming on every major TV channel. Why in hell would Congress pass this? –Del. I haven’t seen commentary by the usual anti-Obama pundits, will withhold judgment for more info. ~Bob.)

Iran has enough uranium for 5 bombs: expert
Excerpt: Iran has significantly stepped up its output of low-enriched uranium and total production in the last five years would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons if refined much further, a U.S. security institute said. (ISIS is being mentioned more and more often in the coverage of Iran’s nuclear efforts. I think they should be taken seriously. The last possible time to stop Iran is right now. If we haven’t the means or the will to do that, then we’d better make plans to deal with the consequences—and, there WILL be consequences. Many thanks to those foreign policy geniuses, Obama and Bush. Ron P.)

Why Jeremiah Wright Matters – Still. By Larry Elder
Excerpt” Obama, in 2007, described the 20-year father/son-like relationship this way: "What I value most about Pastor Wright is not his day-to-day political advice. He's much more of a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I'm not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that's involved in national politics." But Wright is off-limits. (And Rev Wright still visits the White House... 3 times last year. It seems they're still close. --Del)

Vulture Capitalism? Try Obama's Version A profit-driven economy is preferable to one run by political favoritism. By Kimberley A. Strassel
Excerpt: Even as he's been busy with the day job, he's found time to moonlight as CEO-in-Chief of half the nation's industry. Detroit, the energy sector, health care—he's all over these guys like a cheap spreadsheet. Like Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama has presided over bankruptcies, layoffs, lost pensions, run-ups in debt. Yet unlike Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama's C-suite required billions in taxpayer dollars and subsidies, as well as mandates, regulations, union payoffs and moral hazard.

As Predicted-- Democrats Abandoning Obama, By John Ransom
Excerpt: Love is always being able to tell liberals I told you so. Ok, I don’t know if it’s love exactly, but man it sure does feel good.

He’ll say anything --Bam unleashes Joe Biden, By Rich Lowry 
Excerpt: Joe Biden is performing a public service, God love him. Out on the stump, he renders the case for President Obama’s re-election in all its populist crudity.
No dulcet tones. No faux sophistication. No charm.

Higher-level traces of uranium found in Iran
Excerpt: Parsi said the Obama administration has mustered political will "to exhaust all options" before the only choice left is military. He notes that negotiations between adversaries in other instances have been painstakingly long, citing the U.S. and Vietnam talks and the negotiations to end conflict in Northern Ireland. (…) But David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a group devoted to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, said, "the clock is not very friendly at the moment" with a nervous Israel in the backdrop and a high-stakes political atmosphere with the Obama administration facing "aggressive Republicans" in an election year. "Obama doesn't have years and years," he said. "He has weeks and weeks." (It seems the Iranians are not enriching to the 20% necessary for “medical uses,” but 27%—just over one third higher. The Iranians claim it’s an equipment problem “that can’t be helped.” I think they’ve succeeded in playing out the clock on us. Don’t be shocked if they test a weapon soon—just hope it isn’t tested here. And, pray our forces in the Middle East are up to date on their equipment and training for dealing with a nuclear battlefield. Ron P.)

Oministration is perfidious and immoral
Any trust one might have had in the common sense and propriety of the Obama administration is forever dead. The shameful outing of the heroic Pakistani Dr. Shakil Afridi who led US intelligence to Osama bin Laden's "in plain sight" lair is inexcusable--even in an administration that wallows in its self-glorification. In a kangaroo trial, Dr. Afridi was sentenced to 33 years. He'll probably be murdered there unless he is quickly ransomed by Congress. Working for US intelligence or simply befriending US citizens is fraught with danger in much of the world, especially so in Pakistan. Why would anyone now want to risk his life to help defeat jihadism? One must imagine that even Americans in intelligence services will be looking for more loyal employers. As has been noted many times by me and many others, our enemies disdain us and our friends don't trust us anymore. Who could blame them? Cordially, Larry Greenberg

Excerpt: The Afghan Taliban confirmed that their deputy governor for Nuristan province was killed in a US airstrike. The Taliban announced the death of Jamil ur Rahman (or Jamil al Rahman bin Sa'adullah) in a statement released on May 23 on the Pashto-language section of Voice of Jihad, and then again on May 25 on the Arabic-language section, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

Nanoscale vacuum transistors – way cool, but still not as pretty as a glowing 12AU6
Excerpt: But transistors weren’t better in all respects. Electrons move more slowly in a solid than in a vacuum, which means transistors are generally slower than vacuum tubes; as a result, computing isn’t as quick as it could be. What’s more, semiconductors are susceptible to strong radiation, which can disrupt the atomic structure of the silicon such that the charges no longer move properly. That’s a big problem for the military and NASA, which need their technology to work in radiation-harsh environments such as outer space. (Faster than current transistors or integrated circuits, resistant against EMP and gamma radiation, and less weight; what’s not to love? But, the stuff we struggled to learn in electronics schools back in 1965 still won’t really apply. If one of these things fails, you can’t repair it because it’s too small. If repair is practical at all—and, it may not be—it would have to be in components large enough to see with the naked eye. So, how practical these turn out to be is likely to depend on how its cost compares to other ways of doing the same job. Ron P. Well, I never believed that stuff about “holes”—the absence of an electron—weighting twice what an electron weighs, but moving half as fast. If I got that right. That was awhile ago. ~Bob.)

The Glory of Vietnam
Excerpt: The curtain is about to go up on a series of events to mark the 50th anniversary the Vietnam War, but the Boston Globe is reporting that the plans to celebrate America’s Vietnam veterans “are sputtering.” It reports that few events are planned and “crucial corporate sponsorship is nonexistent.” Most veterans, it reports, “have not even heard about the effort.” The Globe quotes a veteran Marine Corps captain, Phillip Jennings, as saying the problem is “leadership and motivation.” There is “no real direction,” he says. “There is no champion of it at the Pentagon or the White House.” (Nice commentary. I wonder who wrote it. --Del)

Counting Palestinians. By Shoshana Bryen
Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) has offered an amendment to the FY 2013 funding bill for the State Department that would require the Department to provide two numbers to Congress: 1) the number of Palestinians physically displaced from their homes in what became Israel in 1948, and 2) the number of their descendants administered by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). [1] Palestinians are the only people for whom refugee status passes along through the generations (a condition adopted by the UN in 1965 over the objection of the United States), so they are also the only refugee population that grows exponentially over generations rather than declining as the original refugees pass away and their descendants become citizens of other places. (The only refugee population in the world, in fact in the history of the world, that has made that status hereditary in perpetuity, are the Palestinians. One can understand, if disdain, the motives of the UN for doing so, but one must condemn the US for perpetuating and funding the big lie. Sen. Kirk is trying to upset the status quo (is this not unseemly for a conservative?). We can expect the Obama administration to ignore this initiative, even if the Senate votes 100-0 to approve. Cordially, Larry Greenberg)

U.S. officials among the targets of Iran-linked assassination plots
Excerpt: In November, the tide of daily cable traffic to the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan brought a chilling message for Ambassador Matthew Bryza, then the top U.S. diplomat to the small Central Asian country. A plot to kill Americans had been uncovered, the message read, and embassy officials were on the target list. (So, Mr. President, how’s that reset, open-handed soft power approach working for you? ~Bob.)

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