Monday, November 22, 2010

Political Digest for November 22, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

The climate change scare is dying, but do our MPs notice?
Follow the money. Brit politicians look at the $100M Al Gore has made off global warming and want to get rich too. The new American Dream. ~Bob. Excerpt: Next Friday is the first anniversary of the leaking of the "Climategate" emails – the correspondence of a small group of scientists at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC). By exposing their manipulation of data and suppression of dissent, these called their reputation as disinterested scientists seriously into question. But that was only the first in a series of events that, in the past year, saw the climate scare going off the rails. Next month sees the anniversary of the Copenhagen conference – the largest ever held, with upwards of 100,000 people present – which collapsed in an acrimonious shambles, without the treaty that would have landed the world with the biggest bill in history. This was followed by all those scandals surrounding the IPCC itself, hitherto regarded as the supreme authority on global warming. It emerged that the most recent IPCC report was riddled with errors, and that many of its more alarming predictions were based, not on proper science, but on claims dreamed up by environmental activists. Since then, despite a series of unconvincing attempts to clear the Climategate scientists, it has become clear that the 20-year-old climate scare is dying on its feet. The money draining away from the Chicago exchange speaks louder than all those inquiries – and the same point will be made obvious in a fortnight's time in Cancun, Mexico, as the UN attempts to salvage something from the wreckage at a conference that will draw scarcely a tenth of the numbers that met in Copenhagen.

Terrorists Believed To Be Planning Attack In Berlin
OK, now can we compare them to Hitler? ~Bob. Excerpt: It would be an attack on the very heart of democracy. SPIEGEL has learned that terrorists may have been planning an attack on the Reichstag, the home of the German parliament and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Berlin. Two suspected culprits are already believed to be in Berlin. According to information obtained by German security authorities, al-Qaida and associated groups are believed to be planning an attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin, the headquarters of Germany's parliament and also an attraction visited by thousands of tourists every day. As part of the attack, terrorists would seek to take hostages and perpetrate a bloodbath using firearms. The information about the alleged plans came from a jihadist who is currently abroad and has reportedly contacted the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) several times in recent days. The jihadist apparently wants to abandon the group. The information provided by the jihadist informant was apparently the reason behind German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière's decision to hold a press conference on Wednesday warning of an imminent attack in the country.

Enviros Rule U.S. Border Policy
Excerpt: Repeated attempts have been made to locate the word environment in the Constitution of the United States . . .Long before Rob Krentz’ murder became the marker that introduced the nation to the Bootheel of New Mexico, the rural community of the New Mexico border land knew the influence of the environmental community had grown much stronger than any influence they could maintain. In dealings with the federal land agencies, the environmental agenda had become the elephant in the room. That elephant had often been silent, but, its presence, just like any elephant’s presence in a closed room, was distinct and undeniable. (Of course it trumps the safety of our citizens. All PC trumps that. Doubtless Muslim’s every-expanding sensitivity—they must delight in seeing the kuffer jump through hoops backwards—trumps the enviros. Not clear if black and Hispanic trump enviros, or vice versa. Stay tuned. Funniest show in town and you’re paying for it. ~Bob.)

Welfare Dependency
Excerpt: Congressman-elect Allen West says the Congressional Black Caucus has failed African-Americans by promoting dependence on government welfare programs. Still, the Florida Republican says he plans to join the organization, according to The Hill. "The Congressional Black Caucus cannot continue to be a monolithic voice that promotes these liberal social welfare policies and programs that are failing in the Black community, that are preaching victimization and dependency, that's not the way that we should go," West said on Fox News Friday. "And those are not the types of principles that my mother and father raised me with in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia." West is one of two black Republicans elected to Congress during the mid-term; Tim Scott of South Carolina says he won’t join the CBC after it said it would welcome both men. West said despite his criticisms, his deceased parents would be "absolutely appalled" if he chose not to join the caucus.

North Koreans Unveil Vast New Plant for Nuclear Use
Excerpt: North Korea showed a visiting American nuclear scientist earlier this month a vast new facility it secretly and rapidly built to enrich uranium, confronting the Obama administration with the prospect that the country is preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal or build a far more powerful type of atomic bomb. Whether the calculated revelation is a negotiating ploy by North Korea or a signal that it plans to accelerate its weapons program even as it goes through a perilous leadership change, it creates a new challenge for President Obama at a moment when his program for gradual, global nuclear disarmament appears imperiled at home and abroad. The administration hurriedly began to brief allies and lawmakers on Friday and Saturday — and braced for an international debate over the repercussions. (...) There are two routes to a nuclear weapon: obtaining plutonium from the spent fuel produced by a nuclear reactor, and enriching uranium to weapons grade. Since the 1950s, North Korea pursued the first path, and its arsenal of weapons was manufactured from fuel harvested from a small nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. That produced enough for roughly a dozen weapons, but the facility was decrepit, and under an agreement with the Bush administration it was shut down in 2008, with television cameras running as its cooling tower was blown up. But meanwhile, the North was already well down the second path, uranium enrichment, much the way Iran has pursued its nuclear program. Like Iran, North Korea insists the fuel is intended for a yet-to-be-built experimental reactor to make electricity. (In this article, the NYT expresses concern the North Koreans have installed 2000 centrifuges to purify uranium, likely for weaponizing. Why aren't they screaming in fear of the Iranians who currently have more than 3000 centrifuges operating and are trying to acquire and set up an additional 6000? For purely peaceful purposes, of course. Ron P. Because “Islam is a religion of Peace” of course, so no danger from Iran. Assuming you aren’t gay, female or an infidel, of course. ~Bob)

Weekend Edition
Strong language. I used to dismiss over-the-top rants. But nothing seems impossible in Obama’s America,, with the party “for the little people” in charge. Make of it what you will. ~Bob. Excerpt: It was Steve Rattner – the New York financier turned OBAMA! "car czar." Listening to him tell one lie after another about the bankruptcy of General Motors was bad enough. (And believe me... I know a little bit about GM's balance sheet, having been the first analyst anywhere to predict the carmaker's bankruptcy.) But having to listen to this scumbag lecture me about the evils of "income inequality" was truly more than I could bear. This man was personally implicated in bribing New York state pension officials (but hasn't been indicted yet). He made close to $500 million via his private-equity fund (Quadrangle), while his investors underperformed municipal bonds. This guy lives in a $15 million home on Martha's Vineyard and in the same
Fifth Avenue
apartment building as George Soros. This is a guy who flies his own plane... whose wife is the leading fundraiser for the Democratic Party. This is Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Michael Bloomberg's best friend. And Barry Diller's. This guy spent his entire life in the rarified world of Ivy League colleges, investment banks, and New York City's most elite social circles. And yet... even with all of these advantages, he ended up accused of bribing New York State pension officials to get them to invest with his private-equity firm. (By the way... I have to hand it to OBAMA! on appointing Rattner as the "car czar." OBAMA! knew about the corruption charges, and he appointed Rattner to restructure General Motors anyways. After all, who better to steal from bondholders than a crook?) And now, Rattner was going to lecture us, the great unwashed, about "income inequality." It was simply unbearable...

Jealous of an Unsatisfied Germany
Excerpt: American track athletes dominate the 400 metre race. They've won Olympic gold in that discipline 19 times, and have stood atop the winner's podium since 1984. That sticks in the craw of the global competition, which is why a new proposal has been submitted to the International Olympic Committee. In the future, all US 400-metre runners must carry a five-kilo backpack. This would level the playing field for the competition. As silly as that sounds, the US government is making a similar argument about the German economy these days. Well-crafted German products are in demand all over the world, and this is driving growth. At the same time, unemployment is sinking to ever-lower levels, the national debt is relatively low by OECD and EU standards, and the country’s DAX stock index is on the rise. But rather than welcome the success of his European partner, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has suggested that Germany’s trade surplus be capped: in other words, that exports be banned if they go above a certain level. He is supported by voices from EU headquarters in Brussels and Germany’s socialist Left party. This is an odd coalition of free trade opponents, but they are united by one thing: envy. US President Barack Obama adopted his finance minister's proposal ahead of the G20 in Seoul, South Korea last week, but fortunately Chancellor Angela Merkel

The endgame for the peace process
It takes two sides to make a peace only one to make a war. As long as the goal of the militant Islamic political ideology is world domination, there will be no peace. Or no freedom. ~Bob. Excerpt: Future historians will no doubt argue over the precise moment when the Arab-Israeli peace process died, when the last glimmer of hope for a two-state solution was irrevocably extinguished. When all is said and done, and the forensics have been completed, I am sure they will conclude that the last realistic prospect for an agreement expired quite some time before now, even if all the players do not quite realise it yet: anger and denial are always the first stages in the grieving process; acceptance of reality only comes later. There are growing signs, however, that the realisation is beginning to dawn in Ramallah, Tel Aviv and, most strikingly, Washington, that the peace process, as currently conceived, may finally be dead. (Note: Robert Grenier was the CIA's chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002. He was also the director of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre. [My correspondents says “fired by bush administration”]…The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.)

TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View
Unfortunately, Obama would rather personally “touch the junk” of every passenger than be accused of being politically-incorrect and profiling as Israel does to keep its planes safe. The 9/11 murdering Jihadist scum would never have gotten on an Israeli plane. ~Bob. In the past few weeks since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented its new “enhanced” pat down procedures there has been considerable backlash from the traveling public. This backlash has been loud and angry … but what is not heard or seen in the media is the quiet resentment of this new policy within the TSA. A few days ago I contacted 20 TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSO) to ask their opinions of the new “enhanced” pat downs. Of the 20 I reached out to, 17 responded. All 17 who responded are at airports where the new “enhanced” pat down is in place … and the responses were all the same, that front line TSOs do not like the new pat downs and that they do not want to perform them. I expected most to not like the pat downs … but what I didn’t expect was that all 17 mentioned their morale being broken down. Each of the 17 TSA TSOs that responded to me detailed their personal discomfort in conducting the new pat downs, with more than one stating that it is likely they are more uncomfortable performing the pat down than passengers are receiving them. Some comments from these TSOs include: “It is not comfortable to come to work knowing full well that my hands will be feeling another man’s private parts, their butt, their inner thigh. Even worse is having to try and feel inside the flab rolls of obese passengers and we seem to get a lot of obese passengers!”

UN censures Iran for human rights abuses, Iran's "top human rights official" defends stoning
Excerpt: Being "Iran's top human rights official" is like being Nazi Germany's foremost Jewish rights advocate.

Could California Sink The Obama Presidency?
Over confidence and under estimating the opponent has lost more battles and more political campaigns than any other factor. Republicans are in danger of assuming that anyone can beat Obama. Far from true. See Angle, Sharon and O’Donnell, Christine as to what can and may happen. ~Bob. Excerpt: First, let me be clear about this: Contrary to the growing consensus, I am still not convinced that President Obama is destined to be a one-term President. Despite the colossal rejection of the President’s policies and his “vision” in the midterm election earlier this month (the President himself stated repeatedly before the election that “my name’s not on the ballot, but my agenda is”), I’m still not assuming that he won’t turn things around for himself. In fact, as it stands now, I think President Obama is more likely to be re-elected than not. But there’s a present-day crisis on the “left coast,” and most Americans have no idea how bad it is. When more Americans get a grasp of the carnage – and once Barack Obama begins to act-out his natural tendencies towards “government bailouts” - the American electorate may very well become so outraged that the President destroys his own future political prospects. California – the most populous state in our nation – is bankrupt.

Surreality: CARB contemplating a “skeptical science” regulation with penalties
Excerpt: My View: The California Air resources Board is quickly becoming the most dangerous bureaucratic organization in California. This latest contempt for a public that questions the validity of their mission is way over the top. As the headline says, CARB is actively considering: …a proposed regulation which would prohibit dishonest statements or submittals offered to the Board or to its staff. Guess who gets to determine the “dishonesty” of a “statement or submittal” to CARB? Of course, it’s OK if CARB makes a 340% error of their own while using false data to impose their will on the people of California. (...) Evidently CARB is contemplating a regulation that would enable penalties for what would be judged “dishonest statements or submittals” provided to it or “staff.” I think one can safely assume that it is aimed at curtailing challenges to CARB’s agenda that are based on alternative scientific information and interpretations. Here’s a message from their listserver, you just have to read this to believe it: (I've heard it said that "many new fads start in California." I'm hoping that's not true. Here in the enlightened Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we've hung no witches for about 300 years, and I don't believe we've ever burned a heretic at the stake. But since I sign all comments at WUWT as Ron Pittenger, Heretic, I suppose I should avoid the Golden State in the future. Although it might be nice to be warm for a change.... Ron P.)

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Coming soon to an airport near you
Too funny.

Excerpt: Washington's political class often seems impervious to changing facts. Case in point is the nation's current and probable future access to essential energy resources, especially fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal. This trio of carbon-based fuels accounts for the vast majority of the nation's electrical and other forms of power, and will continue to do so through at least 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The United States is the world's largest consumer of energy, but is also the world's most productive economy, so demand here for energy resources is going to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. According to the conventional wisdom, supplies will soon peak and then the nation will experience severe declines in the supply of oil and natural gas. Thus, the U.S. should invest billions in the development of renewable energy resources and use the power of government to create artificial consumer demand for them by imposing mandates for their use. Energy costs "will necessarily skyrocket," to use President Obama's memorable words, but that's the price the nation must pay in order to achieve energy independence and protect the environment. When the price of a barrel of oil hit $147 per barrel in July 2008 and Americans were paying as much as $4 per gallon for gas, that scenario seemed reasonable. But it turns out that in the years since, the energy market has experienced profound changes that negate the conventional view. As the New York Times recently reported, "Just as it seemed that the world was running on fumes, giant oil fields were discovered off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, and Canadian oil sands projects expanded so fast, they now provide North America with more oil than Saudi Arabia. In addition, the United States has increased domestic oil production for the first time in a generation." The significant news wasn't restricted to oil.

Obama records lost down the 'memory hole'
Excerpt: There remains a startling dearth of documentation pertaining to Obama’s progress through his 49 years of life that only begins with his birth certificate. A gaping hole – dare I say “memory hole”? - seems to have consumed all possible Obama records from his education, health, family records, even his pre-presidential political career. But this subject is never taken seriously by the media or the political establishment, including, most glaringly, erstwhile GOP opponent John McCain, who, on being challenged on the eligibility question himself, should have called on Candidate Obama to join him in releasing their bona fides together.

Wealthier Americans” includes something like 75,000 small businesses who file as individual; taxpayers and who need cash if they are to start hiring. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats in the U.S. Congress, many upset with him for election losses, are in disarray over what to do about tax cuts for millions of Americans that are set to expire on December 31. With time running out and high political and economic stakes, Obama is pushing Democratic leaders to determine if they can win an acceptable extension of the cuts, which he could sign into law. Resurgent Republicans are demanding that all the tax cuts be renewed, including those for wealthier Americans — individuals making more than $200,000 and families above $250,000.

Feel Good Story: 69-Year-Old Grandmother Shoots Would-Be Burglar
A little old, but still enjoyable. ~Bob. Excerpt: A gun-totin’ granny in Alabama shot an would-be intruder during a late-night robbery attempt on Monday. Ethel Jones, a 69-year-old widow, was in the bathroom when she heard someone outside her home in Decatur, Alabama around 3 a.m.

U.S. Senate offers black farmers $1.15 billion settlement
Getting it while the getting is good—before the collapse. ~Bob. Excerpt: CNN reports that the U.S. Senate has unanimously decided to pay a $1.15 billion settlement for black farmers. The settlement is for the 1997 court case Pigford v. Glickman, in which black farmers sued the U.S. Agriculture Department for racial discrimination in farm loan lending practices.

Throwing Money at Suicide Bombers
Excerpt: The Obama administration astonished economists all over the world with its claim to have created "or saved" millions of jobs with its gusher of stimulus money. The $780 billion that kicked off the Niagara of spending was only the beginning of a spend-a-thon that shows no signs of slowing down. The latest outrage is this: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced she wants another $160 million to go to something called the Palestinian Authority. That outfit is the offspring of Yasser Arafat's terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), otherwise known as Fatah. Now, the $160 million is over and above the $600 million already given to Arafat's heirs by the Obama administration this year. You might think of it as an "incentive." You see, the Fatah organization hasn't staged an intifada against the Israelis on the West Bank this year, at least not yet. Nor has Fatah launched too many rockets into Israeli cities from the areas where they claim autonomy. That task is left to their brethren in Gaza who answer to the Hamas organization. Hamas is supposedly the bad twin of Palestinian groups. Fatah is supposed to be our "partner in peace."

Elections Have Consequences
A look back at four years of the Democrat congress.

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