Saturday, November 20, 2010

Political Digest for November 20, 2010

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.

Death Before Profiling
With airport security back in the news, I thought this pertinent column I wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer, South Jersey Edition from 2002 might be of interest. We seem to have learned little. ~Bob.

Vietnam Healing Foundation
The Vietnam Healing Foundation is a joint effort by American Viet Nam vets and the local Vietnamese community to provide desperately needed support to the many badly crippled South Vietnamese veterans still living in Viet Nam. support this charity as I can. I like that they don’t use your donation to send you a begging letter every week. Good time to get in a year-end contribution for the tax bill next April. ~Bob.)

Flags—Great Cartoon
this is a good site. ~Bob.

Tribune Watchdog: Pension bets not paying off
Excerpt: It’s not just the Federal Government. The impending financial disaster extends to the states, cities and local entities like the Chicago Transit Authority. There will be no one to bail out everyone. ~Bob. Excerpt: Trustees of Chicago's failing public pension funds have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into highly speculative investments that not only have failed to realize outsize returns but also saddled them with underperforming, long-term assets that can't be sold off, a Tribune investigation has found. The investments, which involved buying equity stakes in businesses ranging from fast-food franchises in Mississippi to a Los Angeles grocery chain, were supposed to plug huge holes in pension fund coffers by yielding gains of up to 20 percent a year. But a Tribune analysis of nearly 130 private equity and real estate investments made by four pension funds since 2000 found that nearly half have lost value so far. Of the $1.3 billion invested to date, the pension funds have seen just $60 million in added value on their balance sheets. Had the funds used an equal amount to buy and hold a 30-year U.S. Treasury bond offered in 2000, they would have received $893 million in interest payments to date -- and their principal investments would be secure.

Politicians helped bring Chicago's public pension funds to the brink of insolvency
As Dr. Sowell points out, the politicians buy votes in the short term by creating long term economic disasters, which hit after they have moved on and beyond the voters’ ability to place blame. ~Bob. Excerpt: Chicago's public pension funds are teetering on the brink of insolvency in large part because city officials and union leaders repeatedly exploited the system, draining away billions of dollars in the last decade to serve short-term political needs, a Tribune investigation has found. Time and again, the funds have been used as a bargaining chip or a piggy bank. Politicians trimmed budgets by offering early retirement incentives and greased union contract deals with increases in benefits. "Pension holidays" allowed the city to avoid paying into workers' retirement funds. As a result, the funds soon may not be able to keep promises that are codified in the state constitution, threatening the retirements of tens of thousands of rank-and-file union members and leaving taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars owed to teachers, police officers, firefighters and others.

'Refudiation' of $600 Billion Printed Out of Thin Air
Excerpt: Here are some cold, hard facts from the real world: The first is the 8.7% 2012 unemployment rate predicted by the Survey of Professional Forecasters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. It seems the Obama administration's record spending binge won't result in job creation, but in unacceptably high long-term unemployment. The second fact is that long-term interest rates have actually gone up following the Fed's recent QE2 announcement. The markets took one look at the Fed's pump-priming plans and decided they had to increase interest rates—probably in order to compensate for the expected rise in inflation.

Iran touts new air defenses during war games
Excerpt: Iranian diplomats and political leaders regularly dismiss the possibility of a preemptive American or Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities or conventional armed forces, an idea that was suggested this month by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Air Force Reserve. But Iran's military elite, especially officers of the Revolutionary Guard who have recently emerged as a driving force of foreign and national security policy, are increasingly warning of conflict. "Presently we are in a situation of facing threats, and our guards and the army constantly prepare themselves," Revolutionary Guard commander Maj. Gen. Gholamali Rashid was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency in September. "It is no exaggeration to say that we are on the verge of a possible war in the future." Military draftees and enlisted men have been told to be ready for confrontation. "During the early morning flag ceremony, we are repeatedly warned that we should be ready for any surprise attacks of the U.S. and the Zionist regime," said one draftee, who serves at the Farahabad military base in Tehran and requested anonymity. "We are also told that we can demolish all of Israel in a day or so in case of any attack."

Senate Democrats vent anger with Barack Obama
Excerpt: Senate Democrats – including typically mild-mannered Bill Nelson of Florida – lit into President Barack Obama during an unusually tense air-clearing caucus session on Thursday, senators and staffers told POLITICO. Nelson told colleagues Obama’s unpopularity has become a serious liability for Democrats in his state and blamed the president for creating a toxic political environment for Democrats nationwide, according to two Democrats familiar with his remarks. “It was a raucous caucus,” said one Democratic senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity because closed-door sessions are not supposed to be discussed with outsiders.

Sons Such As These
These are the grandsons of Col. John Studt, USMC (ret.), my CO from the 25th Marines and the finest officer I served under. Makes me feel old when all I can do is send care packages. ~Bob. Excerpt: Jon is home once again. Safely and in one piece, thank God. This was his third combat deployment. I always use the word 'combat' to differentiate these grueling experiences from the other more mundane, administrative type deployments that so many have been on and yet claim the same level of hardship from the largely supportive (gullible) American Public

Airport Security
I’m tempted to buy and try one of these USMC knife coins. Bet it would get through. ~Bob

Ahmed Ghailani, Gitmo detainee, acquitted of all but 1 charge in N.Y.
We couldn’t win WWII with today’s leadership or, in fact, today’s public. Every Nazi our troops captured—there were hundreds of thousands—would have to have a trial, a lawyer and couldn’t be held without evidence. The Republic is doomed. ~Bob. Excerpt: The first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in federal criminal court was found guilty on a single conspiracy charge Wednesday but cleared on 284 other counts. The outcome, a surprise, seriously undermines - and could doom - the Obama administration's plans to put other Guantanamo detainees on trial in U.S. civilian courts.

Terror Verdict Tests Obama’s Strategy on Trials
Excerpt: The mixed verdict in the case of the first Guantánamo detainee to be tried in a civilian court on Wednesday quickly re-ignited a fierce debate over the Obama administration’s effort to restore the role of the traditional criminal justice system in handling terrorism prosecutions. Ahmed Ghailani will face between 20 years and life in prison as a result of his conviction on one charge related to the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa. But because a jury acquitted him on more than 280 other charges -- including every count of murder -- critics of the Obama administration’s strategy on detainees said the verdict proved that civilian courts could not be trusted to handle the prosecution of Al Qaeda terrorists. "This is a tragic wake-up call to the Obama Administration to immediately abandon its ill-advised plan to try Guantánamo terrorists” in federal civilian courts, said Representative Peter King, Republican of New York. “We must treat them as wartime enemies and try them in military commissions at Guantánamo.” Adding political force of such criticism, Mr. King is set to become the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in January, and he promised to use oversight hearings to pressure the administration over its handling of terrorism trials.

Worth Reading: Will residency be the Rahmstopper? Emanuel twice purged from voter rolls
Another great column by John Kass. If you were one of the little people and were a cop or school teacher, you’d be fired for this. But if you worked for “The One,” no sweat. Just as Rahm knows nothing about the illegal army of city employees who were sent out to get him elected to Congress, led by a guy now in prison. Welcome to Demo-Corrupt Chicago. ~Bob. Excerpt: Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel was twice purged from the city voter rolls in the last 13 months but was reinstated by election officials, who allowed him to vote absentee in the February primary even though he did not live at his North Side address. That's just part of the new evidence aimed at the vulnerable residency issue for Emanuel. It may derail his ambition to succeed his ally Mayor Richard Daley on the 5th floor of City Hall. According to election lawyer Burt Odelson, who may someday be known around Chicago as The Rahmstopper, the case against Rahm involves voter registration notices and what he characterizes as the "mysterious" reinstatement of Emanuel's voting status.

Another great column: Like Barack, like Rahm: Ballot tactics ring familiar
John Kass is worth the price of my Tribune subscription. Read it all. In Chicago, Demo-corruption is considered a spectator sport, a form of bloody entertainment, like the lions and the Christians in the Roman arena. The taxpayers are the Christians, unarmed, trembling and praying for succor; the politicians are the ravenous lions, with only the ethics of the jungle. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rahm Emanuel's campaign demanded Wednesday that his opponents condemn efforts to challenge his candidacy and knock him off the Chicago mayoral ballot. "News reports indicate that political operatives are organizing an attempt to limit the choices of Chicago voters in the mayoral election," Emanuel spokesman Ben LaBolt told reporters about my Wednesday column. That column detailed the coming legal challenges to Rahm's candidacy. These include the fact — confirmed by all sides now — that while he lived in Washington, Emanuel was twice purged from the Chicago voter rolls yet was allowed to vote absentee even though he wasn't living at his old North Side address.

Top RNC aide quits, blasts Michael Steele
I have been disappointed with Steele, both in organization and his tendency to say weird things. But some of the races this year would have been won if the GOP Primary voters had selected stronger candidates. ~Bob. Excerpt: He makes the case that the party’s lack of money directly resulted in missed opportunities in an otherwise stellar year for the GOP. Collins cites a study that he says found that the GOP could have won the Washington and Colorado Senate races with a better field operation and says that he’d chalk up narrow gubernatorial losses in Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont to the same lack of funds for a ground game. The veteran Republican operative also tallies 21 House contests in every corner of the country that he asserts “could have been competitive if not for lack of funds.”

A huge hoax that won't die
There was a very famous, indeed, infamous, Mohammed al-Durrah Incident, in which in 2000 a video was published in France which showed a Palestinian father and son hiding behind a barrel against a well during a firefight between the Israeli Army and some Palestinian gunmen. In the video as shown, eventually the boy is killed by Israeli gunfire, and his father is supposedly wounded too. This video brought about an enormous reaction in France and the whole Muslim world against Israel as a murderer of children. Sometime later another French journalist carefully investigated the incident, having noticed some inconsistencies in the video. (Father and son are supposedly hit by a barrage of high velocity rifle fire, but no drop of blood is seen anywhere.) Eventually there was a lawsuit against the investigator, and he was able to force release of the full footage of the incident. Which shows the boy and his father moving around just fine after they are supposedly shot full of holes. It turns out this is another staged hoax, but one which has taken on a tremendous life of its own, leading even to books about it. But no actual evidence of the boy's death, burial, etc. has ever emerged in 10 years. Yet the journalist doing the expose of the hoax has been sued, and also vilified by an entire mob of other journalists. Finally the French court upheld his side of the case, and yet the hoax still is accepted as truth in France and everywhere else. Interesting how the Big Lie can be so effective, even when it's exposed for what it is. A sad commentary on the incipient anti-Israel bias found so often in the media. Use the link to see an interview with the poor guy who did the expose. –Del)

The Presidency and the Constitution
Excerpt: The president is not our teacher, our tutor, our guide or ruler. He does not command us; we command him. We serve neither him nor his vision. It is not his job or his prerogative to redefine custom, law, and beliefs; to appropriate industries; to seize the country, as it were, by the shoulders or by the throat so as to impose by force of theatrical charisma his justice upon 300 million others. It is neither his job nor his prerogative to shift the power of decision away from them, and to him and the acolytes of his choosing.

Pelosi quashes uprising
Onward to another 2010! ~Bob. Excerpt: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants won reelection as House Democratic leaders on Wednesday, beating back an uprising that exposed deep divisions within the party rank-and-file. Members of the caucus voted overwhelmingly to make Pelosi (Calif.) minority leader, brushing aside a challenge by Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.), a Blue Dog who said Pelosi’s toxic public image is a liability to Democrats’ efforts to retake the House majority in 2012.

Medicare Trustees Reports 2010 and 2009: What a Difference a Year Makes
Excerpt: Medicare spending will be cut dramatically in coming years if the new federal health insurance law -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- is fully implemented. What do Medicare spending cuts mean at the individual level? Prior to the new law, Medicare spending per beneficiary in 2010 dollars was expected to rise from $11,000 to just over $13,000 by 2019. Under the new law, Medicare spending per beneficiary is expected to be only $11,571 in 2019. In 10 years, projected per capita Medicare benefits (net of Part B and D premium payments) will be almost $1,700 lower than last year's projections in today's dollars. In 20 years, the average net benefit will be $3,256 lower than last year's projections. The lower Medicare spending mostly reflects a reduction in payments to health care providers. Medicare payments will fall from an average of 20 percent less than what private insurers paid in 2010 to almost one-third less (68 percent) in 2019, and to only half by 2050. In less than 10 years, Medicare will go from paying 18 percent more than Medicaid today to paying less than Medicaid pays. This could lead to an increasing number of providers who are unwilling to treat additional Medicare patients and may opt out of the program.

School Choice in Canada: Lessons for America
Abstract: In Canada, the province of Alberta has long encouraged school choice. Historically, Alberta has had two school systems between which parents may choose: the “public” system and a “separate” system. Other Alberta choices include charter, private, and French-language schools. Homeschooling is encouraged and supported by the provincial government, and “blended” programs are available where children can take some courses at home and others at school. This large variety of educational choice has led to positive results. International test results have placed Alberta students among the world’s top performers, including immigrant children who fare equal to or better than non-immigrant children. In Alberta, parents expect—and have—a wide variety of educational options for how to educate their children, a policy outcome that American states should emulate. (Canada may not have an inner city culture that is anti-education, which is celebrated by multiculturalists. ~Bob.)

Pilot To Hannity: The TSA Wanted To See My Penis
Excerpt: Yeah, he really said that, which caught Hannity completely off guard. What he was really talking about was going through the airport scanners. Michael Roberts, a pilot who is now suing Homeland Security decided to forgo the airport scanners and the fully body ‘love pats’ and took the third option of going home, which is where he’s been every since. He says that he’s always gone through the metal detector, but this is going way too far. A point that Hannity made which I find interesting is that the logic fails on scanning and searching pilots because they can ultimately crash the plane anyway. There’s no procedure in the world that can prevent that and it just shows how ludicrous these measures have become. Last night on the O’Reilly Factor, Ann Coulter asked if body cavity searches would be next, considering that terrorists have already used this method to conceal explosives. (The safest flights in the world are from Israel, as they put the lives of their people ahead of political correctness and profile. ~Bob.)

The Blind Who Will Not See: The President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Iranian Death Spiral
Excerpt: In the old days, Gates was a great analyst, but I think he has decided to be a blind man when it comes to Iran. He said a few other astonishing things as well. “We even have some evidence,” he said, “evidence that Khamenei is beginning to wonder if Ahmedinejad is lying to him about the impact of the sanctions on the economy, and whether he’s getting the straight scoop in terms of how much trouble the economy really is in.” I think I can help the secretary of Defense here: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei doesn’t believe anything President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says about anything. He knows he is not going to get the straight scoop from the man most Iranians refer to, not with great affection, as the chimpanzee. Khamenei only listens to a handful of people, including his son and designated successor, and members of his inner circle who have names like Larijani and Jaffari. For the record, Khamenei said today that he and the Chimp get along famously, and the sanctions aren’t affecting much of anything in the Islamic Republic. Khamenei’s lying. He knows that the country’s going to ruin. Just read this, which tells of a secret analysis prepared for Khamenei, and which predicts the total collapse of the national economy in the near future. (One of the greatest failures of “the war on terror” has been our failure to support the Iranian Green movement. The overthrow of the ayatollahs, more than any other single thing, would advance the cause of freedom and tolerance in the region, cut off funding and arms shipments for many organizations whose only purpose is terror, and help bring peace to the Middle East. We’ve missed this opportunity under both Bush and Obama; do we have to wait until the next election before something is done to help the Greens? Ron P.)

Vote for the Marine
Marine Jake Coffman, a veteran of two deployments to Iraq and a defensive lineman for Northern Illinois University, needs your vote in Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Read about him and vote for him. You can vote every day. Presently, he is one of the top vote getters. Jake leads the NIU Huskies onto the field in every game carrying the U.S. flag. Tuesday, in his last home game, he carried the flag that him mom flew at home while he was in Iraq.
Buy Thanksgiving Dinner for the family of a wounded vet

Cutting the Federal Budget
By Quang Nguyen.

Lap Two for Tea Party
Excerpt: To win in 2012, we will need to do two things: First, once again, we will need to keep the GOP establishment from screwing up while pulling in every "small-c" conservative voter. And then we will have to do something we really didn't do this last time around: We will need to get a fair number of Americans who plan to vote Democratic to switch their votes. This is going to be harder than it sounds for a reason I am loath to articulate for fear of offending people I like, admire, and support: Simply put, there is a broken strand of DNA in the Republican genetic code. What's missing is the gene that gives us the ability to convince people who don't agree with us to change their minds. So we argue rather than explain; we assert rather than persuade. (They also need to not push candidates with bad baggage or foot-in-mouth disease who will lose, just because they say the right conservative things. And they need to understand that blue states like Massachusetts or Delaware are not going to elect a Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn, and that a RINO who votes to put conservatives in charge of the senate is better than a Blue Dog Democrat who votes to put Harry Reid in charge. ~Bob.)

This Lame Duck Session Should Be the Last
Excerpt: Americans ought to make this lame duck session of Congress the last in history. Members who lose re-election have no moral authority to continue governing: They were fired by the voters, who should demand that they clean out their desks and go home. On Nov. 2, the voters replaced the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives with at least 61 new Republican members who campaigned on lower spending and less government power. Allowing members who were not re-elected to legislate national policy or set the 2011 federal budget is like allowing a fired employee to run the office another two months, or letting your ex-spouse continue managing your checkbook. Lame duck sessions were unavoidable before jet planes. The framers of the U.S. Constitution provided 17 weeks for newly elected members to travel to the capital and take their seats on March 3. That was the 18th century. In 1933, Americans ratified the 20th Amendment to eliminate lame duck sessions. It set Jan. 3 as the day newly elected members would take their seats. That still left seven weeks after the election, but no one imagined that the old Congress would return to the capital during that time. For a half-century, the 20th amendment worked. Except during World War II and the Korean War, Congress did not reconvene after November elections.

Mr. West goes to Washington
Excerpt: This should be interesting. Colonel Allen West is someone with whom the Congressional Black Caucus is exceedingly unfamiliar: a man of African heritage who refuses to play victim and who lives by the words “let us judge men not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The CBC will hear, when they hear from Mr. West, the truth about their policies, the damage they inflict, and their failed philosophy. (I hope Alan West doesn’t let the GOP make him into a rock star, appearing around the country as a black Republican. To be effective in the House, you need to be there awhile. 2012 will be a far different election. He needs to be in the district every weekend, working it, touching the folks, so he goes back in January 2013. I won my senate seat by 9 votes in 1972 and by 10,000 in 1974, following this philosophy. ~Bob.)

Student Body President At Calif State Fresno Is Illegal Immigrant
Excerpt: Immigration activists are cheering for Cal State Fresno student body president Pedro Ramirez for being an example of the potential of America’s illegal immigrant population. But since an anonymous tip to the school’s newspaper outed Ramirez as an illegal alien who has been living in the U.S. since he was three-years-old, critics are demanding his resignation. According to the LA Times, Ramirez learned he wasn’t a United States citizen when his parents revealed the secret as he was filling out college applications. Ramirez carried the secret with him to Cal State University where the 22-year-old now studies political science.

Ethics chief counsel recommends censure for Rangel on 11 counts
The Republicans should move for expulsion and demand a roll call vote to get them on record. ~Bob. Excerpt: The House ethics committee's chief counsel recommended Thursday that Rep. Charles Rangel be formally censured by the full House for violating 11 House ethics rules. Short of expulsion, censure is the most serious sanction the ethics panel can recommend. A majority of the full House would have to vote to censure Rangel should the ethics committee officially recommend that punishment.

Rep. Charles Rangel: House Panel Chooses Censure, Restitution
Excerpt: By a vote of 9 to 1, the panel of five Republicans and five Democrats agreed with chief committee counsel R. Blake Chisam, who had recommended the penalty. It also recommended that Rangel be required to pay restitution on unpaid taxes. The full House must now vote on whether to approve the penalty or impose a different one.

Deficit Proposal Draws Mixed Review
Excerpt: President Barack Obama and many lawmakers say they will work to rein in the federal deficit, but a new survey underscores the challenges they face in taking specific steps that could help reduce the red ink. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Americans skeptical of deficit-cutting proposals laid out by the chairmen of a commission appointed by the White House. In the survey, 57% of respondents said they were uncomfortable with gradually raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 over the next 60 years. Some 41% said they were somewhat or very comfortable with the idea.

Pakistan and the Naxalite Movement in India
I wonder if the Indians asked Obama about the White House Christmas Tree decoration with Mao’s picture? ~Bob. Excerpt: Indian Maoist militants, known as Naxalites, have been meeting with members of the outlawed Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), according to the director-general of police for India’s Chhattisgarh state. Based on information from a police source, state police chief Vishwa Ranjan said Nov. 11 that two LeT operatives attended a Naxalite meeting in April or May. While their presence at the meeting still needs to be corroborated, the chief said, it appears very likely that the Naxalites held the meeting to adopt a new policy and plans for increasing “armed resistance” in order to seize political power in India.

Hey, Michael Moore! Clinton, Gore and Kerry Lost the 'White Vote,' Too
Excerpt: "The statistics don't lie," Moore plowed ahead. "I'm not talking about polls. I'm talking about that the young people in '08 was the only -- do you know this? -- it's the only demographic -- white demographic -- that Obama won, 18- to 29-year-olds. Every other demographic, over 29, Obama lost the white vote. Every single one." Crime solved. Case closed. Book 'em, Danno. Except for one minor detail: No Democratic presidential candidate has won the "white vote" since 1964. Add Obama's name to a long list of white Democrats who lost that demographic: Humphrey in 1968; McGovern in 1972; Carter in 1976 and 1980; Mondale in 1984; Dukakis in 1988; Clinton in 1992 and 1996; Gore in 2000. In fact, white voters preferred Obama to Sen. John Kerry -- who lost the white vote by 17 points in 2004, while Obama lost it in 2008 by "only" 12 points. (Larry Elder is one of the new breed on black writers who are off the Demo-corrupt plantation. ~Bob.)

Iranian Pastor Accused of ‘Thought Crimes’ to Die by Hanging
Death for apostasy! Coming soon to a multicultural, Shari’a-tolerant society near you. ~Bob. Excerpt: An Iranian court has passed down a death sentence on a Christian pastor, who was found guilty of so-called “thought crimes.” According to, the official verdict has now been delivered in writing to Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, stating that he is to be hung for the crime of apostasy.

New Jersey: Boy suspended from school because Muslim girl overheard him saying "Taliban"
Excerpt: She "perceived" that he was looking at her when he said it. And so he is duly suspended, because the new cardinal rule is that one must not offend the new Privileged Class. They say they suspended him because her feelings were hurt -- yet if that became the criterion for suspension in high school, there would be no more than one or two students in class at any given time.

Five Muslim boys and white girl, all 12, excluded over Facebook death threats to classmate who supported British troops
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: A 13-year-old boy who penned an online Remembrance Day tribute to Britain’s fallen soldiers was subjected to a vicious hate campaign by fellow pupils. A gang of 12-year-old pupils made up of five Muslim boys and one non-Muslim girl made death threats to Darius Gill involving knives and knuckle-dusters because of his support for British troops. One member of the gang also posted a picture of himself holding a rifle and threatened to hijack a plane.

Pakistan mosque shootout leaves 18 injured
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Gun battle followed dispute between rival religious factions over who should lead prayers.

The Left's Delusion over Islam is Baffling to Middle-Eastern Christians
Excerpt: Christians in Jordan and Syria are protected. But despite the Left’s “myth of the myth” of the clash of civilisations, the simple fact is that almost nowhere in the Islamic world are Christians free in the same way Muslims are free in Europe. Deniers of this essential truth usually fall back on historical arguments about Islam’s famed tolerance, but this is deceptive. During the high middle ages, the Islamic world was far more tolerant than Christendom, but it couldn’t be otherwise. North of the Alps Europe was 95-99 per cent Christian, so minorities faced persecution; the “Muslim world” had enormous Christian minorities throughout this period and in some cases majorities, and this goes for modern-day Iraq, Syria, Egypt (probably majority Christian until the 18th century), Lebanon and Palestine. That they slowly became Islamic was largely down to two facts of life which make a mockery of the tolerance myth: Muslims could not generally become Christians, and Christians had to pay a special tax, and so the class of people who subsidised the rest of the population gradually shrank over generations (a system that bears more than a passing resemblance to the modern British welfare state). From the 19th century a third factor arose when it became possible for Christians to emigrate to the West.

6 GOP Hispanics Loosen Democrats' Grip On Hill
excerpt: As the newly elected Republican class of the 112th Congress gathers at the Capitol this week for freshmen orientation, the group boasts a record six Hispanics - loosening the Democratic Party's long held grip on the nation's fastest-growing minority group. But whether the surge is a one-year anomaly or portends a future of Hispanic GOP pickups in the 2012 election remains to be seen. "We're watching this with interest to see whether it is the beginning of a trend," said Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning Washington think tank. "We know that out there there are a significant number of conservative Hispanics willing and eager to move up in the there are a significant number of conservative Hispanics willing and eager to move up in the political world, so it's not at all out of the question to me that we could see an upsurge."

Excerpt: Every British Tory, including the Prime Minister, reads ConservativeHome. Over the past three years, Tim Mongomerie, Jonathan Isaby and Paul Goodman have made their pages the focal point of the British Centre-Right, with perhaps 1000 times as many readers as the official Conservative Party website. There has until now been no American equivalent. Although there are many more Rightist blogs in the US than in Britain, with a higher total readership, no single site has established a hegemony. Now, though, the excellent Ryan Streeter has launched an American version of ConservativeHome: read it here. He has borrowed the formula that brought ConHome to pre-eminence, reporting on the Republicans in an intelligent and sympathetic but keenly independent way, and understanding that the GOP is simply one element – not always the most important element – in the wider conservative movement. If you’re American and conservative, I’m sure ConservativeHome USA will become part of your daily reading.

Internet Prayer Request
We are asking everyone to say a prayer for "Darkhorse" 3rd Battalion 5th Marines and their families. They are fighting it out in Afghanistan and have lost 9 Marines in 4 days. Please send this on to other prayer chains. It would be nice to know everyone is praying. God bless them everyone!

Worse Than Ward Churchill
Excerpt: A few years ago, Ward Churchill made a name for himself by referring to victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center as “little Eichmanns.” Since then, his name has become synonymous with academic lunacy. But, contrary to popular belief, Churchill is not the biggest lunatic to (dis)grace higher education in recent years. That honor goes to Julio Pino of Kent State University. Just last week, Pino sent me the following email using his Kent State University e-mail account: Sorry about the loss of your 66 dogs; maybe the c**** should have stayed at home……NATO announced Friday that six more U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan, bringing the death toll for July to at least 66 and surpassing the previous month's record as the deadliest for American forces in the nearly 9-year-old war…..The notion that a professor would praise the killing of 66 American troops is pretty sickening. But the idea that he would use public property to refer to our war heroes as “dogs” and “c****” is simply unacceptable. (I stumbled across some articles about this truly horrible professor named Julio Pino, going back 3-4 years. He makes Ward Churchill look not half so bad. Here is the most recent article about him, Mike Adams has been writing about the guy for a couple of years now. Examining Pino's writings and activities really makes you wonder what it would take for the powers at Kent State to get off their duffs and start some action against him, tenure does not mean you are totally immune from any review of your behavior no matter how outrageous it is. The guy hates the USA with a passion, and revels in his making a very nice living in the system while doing everything in his power to brainwash more young minds to hate the system and become agents of destruction. Tolerating this is absolutely nuts. –Del. Frankly, I think this is how most of the left feels, but are too politic to say. ~Bob.)

Judith Curry: Climate change can be categorized as a “wicked problem,” praises blogosphere and cites a need for acknowledgement
Excerpt: That headline is Dr. Judith Curry’s testimony before The House Testimony on global warming yesterday. It had a number of excellent presentations, and you can watch the entire video here. Some excerpts below, the entire presentation is available for download after the break. Climate change can be categorized as a “wicked problem.”1 Wicked problems are difficult or impossible to solve, there is no opportunity to devise an overall solution by trial and error, and there is no real test of the efficacy of a solution to the wicked problem. Efforts to solve the wicked problem may reveal or create other problems. (The US House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment took testimony yesterday on the current state of climate science. There were several good presentations made. WUWT covers four of them, Dr. Judith Curry, Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., and Dr. Heidi Cullen. If you have time, read them all, if not, try to get at least Curry's and Lindzen's (they are the most accessible). I wouldn't be surprised if the hearing is repeated in a few months under the incoming leadership. This one leaned heavily toward the AGW crowd. Ron P.)

Health panel brings out big guns
Excerpt: The state’s health insurance connector — the highly touted agency that aims to bring cheap medical care to the masses — has turned into a legal pit bull by aggressively going after a growing number of Bay Staters who say they can’t afford mandated insurance — or the penalties imposed for not having it. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority is cracking down on more than 3,000 residents who are fighting state fines, and has even hired a private law firm to force the health insurance scofflaws to pay penalties of up to $2,000 a year.

Let Ethanol Subsidies Die: A policy that free marketeers and militant greens can agree on
Excerpt: It’s a very rare occasion when a free marketeer like me agrees with the green fanatics over at Friends of the Earth, but they are right about one thing: It's time to let ethanol subsidies die. In 2004, the government started offering a tax credit worth 51 cents for each gallon of gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol. The 2008 farm bill lowered that credit slightly to 45 cents per gallon, but kept it going for another two years. Meanwhile, diverting grain to ethanol production caused corn prices to soar, lining the pockets of corn growers and refiners while increasing food costs for humans and feed costs for animals. The good news is that unless Congress acts, the $5 billion in annual subsidies to corn ethanol will expire at the end of the year.

Excerpt: The U.S. government is now borrowing $5 billion every business day and has done nothing more than talk about a plan to reduce its debt. State governments don't have that luxury. From Sacramento to Austin to Albany, the day of fiscal reckoning is here. At one point this spring, financial markets were demanding more to insure investors against defaults by Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Michigan than to insure the debt of Ireland and Portugal, the flailing economies of Europe.

Scientists Spot Planet Straying Into Milky Way
Excerpt: Astronomers have discovered an alien planet in our midst. The newly found planet is believed to have come from outside the Milky Way galaxy -- the remnant of another, fading galaxy that was consumed by our own. It's stuck on a 16-day orbit around a fading red giant star about 2,000 light-years from Earth. The planet, dubbed HIP-13044b, is believed to be about 1.25 times larger than Jupiter, in our own solar system. It was spotted by a sophisticated, 4-meter mirrored telescope operated by astronomers at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. It's the first planet ever detected inside the Milky Way that's believed to be foreign-born. About 500 other planets have already been discovered that are believed to originate from outside our solar system but inside our galaxy. (Wow. The ultimate undocumented immigrant. Larry Niven's Puppeteer's? –Ron.)

Quantitative Easing Explained
Once you start printing fiat money to pay off your debts, it’s very hard to stop. See Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

Hope 'n' Change: More ObamaCare Waivers
"If you like your health care plan," assured Barack Obama in 2009, "you can keep your health care plan." Now that Americans are beginning to find out what's in ObamaCare, this phony claim is easier to see through. The administration quietly acknowledged this week, buried deep on the Department of Health and Human Services website, that 111 new waivers are being granted to various companies, unions and other groups with limited-benefit health care plans. As we reported in October, McDonald's was among the first high-profile companies to be granted a waiver from ObamaCare's requirements. Other food chains such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden and T.G.I. Friday's have joined the list. Most notably, Big Labor has collected numerous waivers, particularly for public employee unions such as SEIU and NEA. Back in September, HHS Secretary Kathleen Corleone, er, Sebelius warned insurance companies not to blame ObamaCare for increases in premium rates. "There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," she said. "[W]e will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections." Of course, they won't stand idly by; they'll just grant waivers by the truckload to keep control of the situation and avoid a publicity nightmare. Each company will have to come hat in hand every year to the administration for renewed waivers. Doesn't sound like real Hope or Change to us. --The Patriot Post

News From the Swamp: Democrats' Tin Ear
Nancy Pelosi defeated Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) for the post of minority leader in the 112th Congress by a vote of 150-43. This couldn't be better news -- for Republicans. Pelosi, who boasts a whopping 8 percent approval rating among independent voters, has vociferously denied liability for her party's epic election losses, saying, "We didn't lose the election because of me." Just keep telling yourself that, Nancy. Meanwhile, in their current majority position, the Democrat leadership structure includes Pelosi as speaker, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as majority leader and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) as majority whip. In January, when the Democrats shift to the minority, only two leadership positions will be available, making Clyburn the odd man out. Democrat leaders decided to create a new "assistant leader" position out of thin air to avoid a protracted battle between Hoyer and Clyburn over the minority whip position. (Is it just us, or is it weirdly ironic that Clyburn, who is black, was seeking the position of "minority whip" in the party of slavery?) There's no indication as to what the duties of this new position are, and Clyburn's colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus suspect that it's merely a move to appease them. Given that Democrats depend on getting 90 percent of the black vote each election cycle, they could very well be right. --The Patriot Post

Carville: If Hillary Gave Obama ‘One of Her Balls, They’d Both Have Two’
Democrat math.

Poll: Most don't know what GOP won
This is why Obama may be re-elected. In 2008, polls showed that the voters hated Congress, but 2/3rds of them didn’t know Democrats were in control of Congress, so they strengthened the Democrats. Democracy—giving you the government you deserve. ~Bob. Excerpt: Only 46 percent of respondents in a Pew Research poll released Thursday knew that the GOP had taken over only the House, while a mere 38 percent can identify Ohio Republican John Boehner as the incoming speaker. Three times as many young people, under age 30, could properly identify Google's new phone software, Android, as could identify Boehner. Additionally, 27 percent of Americans do not know if the Republicans won either chamber of Congress while 5 percent believe the Democrats kept both chambers. Fourteen percent said the Republicans won both chambers.

Climate Change: The Keywords (Part 3 of 3)
Excerpt: The word resilience can be described as the capacity of resistance, elasticity and recovery from physical shocks. This is a property that Mankind has always demonstrated to possess while facing all kinds of threats to its evolution, and this is also the third and most important keyword for the needed reassessment of the climate debate. Despite some transitory interruptions in the civilizational process and a lot of setbacks and tragedies of all dimensions, the intrinsically creative, associative and synergetic nature of our species have granted Mankind the evolving capacity (in terms of knowledge and socio-political-economic relations) and the resilience needed for overcoming all sorts of challenges so far: adverse climatic conditions, food scarcity, epidemic and pandemic diseases, natural hazards, conflicts of all kinds, bad rulers, short-sighted leaders, and with unfortunate frequency, irrationality pandemics fed by exotic ideas disconnected from any coherent process of understanding of the universal laws – like environmentalism and its standard bearer the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory. (...) On the other hand, it is ironic that cooling conditions have ever been much more troublesome for Mankind, especially in what regards to human health and agricultural impacts, traveling and infrastructure disruptions and many other negative effects. Thus, we are the first generation in History who are worried about the warming of the planet – a condition that has always proven to be favorable to most of the biosphere (indeed, before Climatology was converted into a “politicized science,” the warmest phases of the interglacial periods were named “climatic optima”). (Part 3 of 3, it also includes links to the prior two parts for those who missed them. Ron P.)

Allen West: Congressional Black Caucus is 'monolithic'
Excerpt: Florida Rep.-elect Allen West has a harsh critique for the Congressional Black Caucus he’s planning to join. “The most important thing is that there has to be a different perspective. There has to be a different voice. We cannot have this monolithic voice,” West told reporters Monday after breakfast during a new-member orientation.

I have a nightmare….~Bob. Excerpt: The DREAM Act Is NOT Limited to Children, And It Will Be Funded On the Backs Of Hard Working, Law-Abiding Americans Proponents of the DREAM Act frequently claim the bill offers relief only to illegal alien “kids.” Incredibly, previous versions of the DREAM Act had no age limit at all, so illegal aliens of any age who satisfied the Act’s requirements—not just children—could obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. In response to this criticism, S.3827 includes a requirement that aliens be under the age of 35 on the date of enactment to be eligible for LPR status. Even with this cap, many aliens would be at least 41 years old before obtaining full LPR status under the Act—hardly the “kids” the Act’s advocates keep talking about.

Exclusive Excerpts From New Black Panther Case Investigation Report
Excerpt: This case was unique in one vital aspect almost from its beginning — the existence of a visual recording of the New Black Panthers in their paramilitary, fascist-style uniforms, one holding a night stick, blocking the entrance to a polling place. That kind of direct evidence is very unusual in a voting rights case. It helped to graphically illustrate the preposterousness of the Obama administration’s dismissal of virtually the entire federal lawsuit the Civil Rights Division had commenced against the New Black Panther Party and several of its members. The feeble and completely non-credible explanations for the dismissal advanced by the Department’s political leadership only made the matter worse. Most of the mainstream media initially ignored the lawsuit, despite all of the powerful evidence. That changed, however, with the dramatic and courageous testimony of former Voting Section lawyer Christian Adams (who resigned from Justice in disgust over its handling of the case) and former Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates (who was removed from his post by the Obama administration). Coates testified in defiance of orders from the Department’s senior leadership, who in a brazen act of lawlessness directed him not to comply with the subpoena issued by the Civil Rights Commission. The draft report of the Commission that was leaked is devastating in its portrayal of the deviousness and politicization of the Obama Justice Department. The Department has misled the public, Congress, and the Commission from the very beginning.

NATO Decides Its Future
Excerpt: The centrepiece of the NATO summit will be the unveiling of a new strategic concept, or mission statement, to shape the way the alliance defends itself against threats over the next decade. NATO has struggled to define itself in a post-Cold War world of expanding threats and shrinking budgets, and in Lisbon the alliance will try to lay out a vision for itself as a more agile grouping better able to deal with the security realities of the 21st century. The strategic concept will reconfirm NATO’s commitment to its core task of mutual defense in Europe, but it will also stress the need for the alliance to ensure that it can mount expeditionary operations elsewhere in the world, such as its ongoing mission in Afghanistan, or the anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. (...) The document will call for NATO to engage more actively on security with non-alliance members such as Australia, China, India, Japan, and especially Russia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet NATO leaders on the last day of the Lisbon summit, becoming the first Russian president to attend a NATO gathering since his country’s conflict with Georgia in 2008. (Until about 1992, NATO was the most successful military alliance in recorded history. This was in spite of the lack of incentive to many of the European members to commit resources and manpower to support it fully. Clearly, the Europeans were/are convinced the USA will continue to carry most of the load both financially and militarily. They may soon be in for an unpleasant surprise. American financial power just isn’t what it used to be; Congress may not look kindly on spending billions to maintain troops in Europe against no visible threat. The Germans want us to remove all our tactical nukes; perhaps we should remove them quietly, and then trumpet the news loudly. No doubt the Germans have some plan of their own to deal with any potential aggressors (surrender?). At the least, this keeps our nuclear arms under our control in the future, in case some European countries really do go Muslim. There is a need for some NATO-like organization that is both able and willing to take on threats anywhere on the globe, not just in Europe. But, NATO may not be that organization. Ron P.)

Our Economy Can’t Afford More GM “Success” Stories
Excerpt: Celebrating the company’s Wednesday initial public offering, President Barack Obama last night called his government takeover of General Motors a “success story.” “American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM,” he said. Left unsaid is the fact that if the Obama Administration keeps selling their GM stock at the IPO price, the U.S. taxpayer will lose $10 billion on the deal, and that does not include the loans GM still owes, cash for clunkers, the Chevy Volt subsidies, or the millions of unseen costs the unprecedented intervention has inflicted on our economy. No matter what you hear from the President’s defenders, always remember that it did not have to be this way. As late as April 30, GM’s bondholders were willing to take a 58 percent equity stake in the company in exchange for canceling their $27 billion in unsecured GM bonds. But under their deal, the federal government would have had no control over this new company, while the United Auto Workers union would have received a minority share of the company and the taxpayers would have been protected as a secured creditor. An even better outcome would have been for the federal government not to have supplied taxpayer cash at all and let all creditors take their lumps from an unbiased bankruptcy judge. But President Obama just couldn’t keep his government out of it.

Another 1995-style government shutdown?
The 1995 shutdown was largely symbolic. Clinton won as the media convinced the public it was the Republicans fault. Of course, the truth is either side could have kept the government “open” by ageing to the budget proposed by the other side. ~Bob. Excerpt: The head of the influential Americans for Tax Reform is encouraging the new House Republican majority to adopt a take-no-prisoners approach to federal spending — and if that leads to a 1995-style government shutdown, so be it. Midterm voters “were voting to stop the Obama spendathon, and that’s what people were sent to Washington to do,” Norquist said in an interview for POLITICO’s “Taxing America” video series.

Worth Reading: A Completely Unrelated Series of Events
Observe the master at work:
• September 23, 2008: Buffett's Berkshire invests $5B in Goldman
• September 28, 2008: Buffett to Congress: Bail out economy or face 'meltdown'…..
Mmmm, yes, Democrats are for the little people. The working man. Right. Kids, can you say "Crony Capitalism"?

Best Idea Ever: Bomb-Sniffing PIGS in Airports!!
CAIR will love this idea! ~Bob.

Evaluating Rubio's Stance on Earmarks
We will take all converts in the Church of the Fiscal Tightwad. ~Bob. Excerpt: But Rubio's member budget requests for 2002 remain archived on a state website, which confirms Schale's statement. Rubio requested funding for 37 projects totaling $43,697,787. The biggest single request was $7.7 million for the South Florida AIDS Network to provide inpatient and outpatient health care services to people with HIV/AIDS. Rubio requested $5 million for an automated people mover at Miami International Airport, $5 million for a Miami-Dade County economic development project, and $3.75 million for two flood mitigation projects. It turns out Rubio requested more money in Community Budget Issue Requests than all but four members of the 120-member Florida House. In 2001, Rubio actually requested even more money -- $101.2 million for 72 projects -- but he did not make another Community Budget Issue Request after 2002, according to the state database. Not one in six years. But those aren't the years Schale referenced. Schale said Rubio requested 37 earmarks in 2002 worth $43 million -- which he says is at odds with Rubio's current support for an earmark ban. Schale has his math right, according to figures kept by the state. Rubio that year ranked fifth in requests for money among Florida House members. We rate Schale's statement True.

Germany says guarding against Mumbai-style attack
It is not Israel, Jews, Christians or the US that they see as the enemy. It is civilization, freedom and the modern world. Fight back or resign your grandkids to living in a 7th Century hell. ~Bob. Excerpt: German authorities are on guard against threats of armed attack on civilians of the kind that killed 166 in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Thursday. Police are taking added precautions, de Maiziere said, a day after Germany tightened security measures citing threats from Islamist militants. "What we are basically preparing ourselves for, is that terrorists, coming from abroad, commit an attack soon after arrival, without warning, in a building or public place, knowing that they may not survive," de Maiziere told broadcaster ZDF. "In shop talk, we'd call that something similar to what happened in Mumbai," he added.

Man accused of blasphemy killed in Pakistan
Someone didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: A man accused of blasphemy was shot and killed near his home in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore shortly after being granted bail by a court, according to a media report. Imran Latif, 22, was accused of burning pages of the Quran in a case registered at Sherakot police station in Lahore and spent five months in jail. He was released on bail on November 3 after the man who filed the complaint of blasphemy told the court he was not sure that Latif was guilty.

State Dept criticizes Europe for defending its culture and civilizational identity
Excerpt: I'm still waiting for her statement on the restrictions on religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt and other majority-Muslim countries. "Clinton critical of religious freedom in Europe," from AFP, November 17 (thanks to all who sent this in): WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Wednesday the state of religious freedom in Europe, as Washington highlighted policies and attitudes toward Muslim veils and Islam as a whole. "Several European countries have placed harsh restrictions on religious expression," Clinton said, without elaborating as she unveiled the State Department's report on international religious freedom for the last year. (Criticize the Saudis? And get donations to the Clinton library and foundation cut off? Don’t be silly. ~Bob.)

Are You An Islamophobe?
Older post, but a good test. ~Bob.

Well, I’m sure their home communities would allow us to vote if we were there…if they allow voting at all. Madison, WI has considered this, will be green with envy. ~Bob. Excerpt: Brookline Town Meeting last night voted in favor of giving some non United States citizens who are residents of the town the right to vote in local elections. The proposal would allow legal immigrants who are non citizens with a so-called "green card" signifying permanent residency to vote in local elections for public offices including selectmen, School Committee and Town Meeting members.

Afghanistan; The Strategy to Entice Negotiation Rather than Force Surrender
Excerpt: “The [devastating] truth is that US forces will be fighting in Afghanistan for at least four more years,". Of course one has to wonder what he finds devastating about that. Is it that the war itself will continue beyond what presidential hopeful Obama proclaimed to be the drop dead date for combat operations there in 2008; because of his misplaced concern for the enemy or that more American Warriors will meet an untimely death at the hands of our misguided political and upper echelon military 'leaders'? There is some concern, on the part of these experts that while killing off the current crop of leaders is a good thing, it may in fact prove to be a bad thing. After all, the older leaders are somewhat 'tired', they say, from their exploits to remove the Infidel while there younger replacements are likely to be full of vigour.

Guess the problem’s over. Or the midterms. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Obama Administration plans to withdraw National Guard troops from the Texas, New Mexico and California borders by the end February under a new Southwest security plan, even as turmoil in Mexican border cities grows, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner.

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