Monday, January 17, 2011

Political Digest for January 17, 2011

Political Digest for January 17, 2011
Robert A. Hall
I cannot add everyone to my mailing list, or will be blocked for sending Spam. Please feel free to forward, or to direct your friends to my blog, where this is also posted.

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.

GOP Jefferson Day Dinner?
The Democrats hold a Jefferson Jackson Day Fund Raising Dinner every year in almost every state. Since Jefferson’s philosophy was for small, limited government, I think the Republicans should start holding “GOP Jefferson Day Dinners” with a list of Jefferson’s quotes in the program and news release about the dinner.

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
Wonder why Asian students are tops in most schools and colleges, and first in line for the good jobs? ~Bob. Excerpt: A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:…… First, I've noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.

America Speaking Out
Tell Congress what you think.

Israel Tests on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay
Excerpt: Seimens says that program was part of routine efforts to secure its products against cyberattacks. Nonetheless, it gave the Idaho National Laboratory — which is part of the Energy Department, responsible for America’s nuclear arms — the chance to identify well-hidden holes in the Siemens systems that were exploited the next year by Stuxnet. The worm itself now appears to have included two major components. One was designed to send Iran’s nuclear centrifuges spinning wildly out of control. Another seems right out of the movies: The computer program also secretly recorded what normal operations at the nuclear plant looked like, then played those readings back to plant operators, like a pre-recorded security tape in a bank heist, so that it would appear that everything was operating normally while the centrifuges were actually tearing themselves apart. The attacks were not fully successful: Some parts of Iran’s operations ground to a halt, while others survived, according to the reports of international nuclear inspectors. Nor is it clear the attacks are over: Some experts who have examined the code believe it contains the seeds for yet more versions and assaults. “It’s like a playbook,” said Ralph Langner, an independent computer security expert in Hamburg, Germany, who was among the first to decode Stuxnet. “Anyone who looks at it carefully can build something like it.” Mr. Langner is among the experts who expressed fear that the attack had legitimized a new form of industrial warfare, one to which the United States is also highly vulnerable. (...) The project’s political origins can be found in the last months of the Bush administration. In January 2009, The New York Times reported that Mr. Bush authorized a covert program to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. President Obama, first briefed on the program even before taking office, sped it up, according to officials familiar with the administration’s Iran strategy. So did the Israelis, other officials said. (This article is very interesting speculation that might even be true. I added emphasis as this is an area of industrial security we Americans routinely ignore. Ron P.)

Investigation closes in on German weapons company
Excerpt: Police recently searched the offices of German arms company Heckler & Koch in connection with allegedly illegal weapon exports to Mexico used in the drugs war. One manager involved in the deal has already resigned.

Unequivocal Equivocation – an open letter to Dr. Trenberth
Excerpt: This essay from Willis appeared on WUWT overnight Saturday while I slept. After reading it this morning, I decided to make it a sticky at the top of WUWT (I also added the open letter reference) because it says everything that needs to be said about the current state of affairs in climate science and the skeptic position. I ask readers not only to read it, but to disseminate it widely at other websites and forums. Hopefully, the right people will read this. Thanks for your consideration, and thank you, Willis. UPDATE: I’ve made this essay available as a PDF here: Willis_Trenberth_WUWT_Essay suitable for printing and emailing.- Anthony. (This post is creating a fire-storm in the climate-related blogosphere. So far, there are 387 responses, and will likely be more if you go back to look again. Mine was 79th. –Ron P.)

Where the media leads, we don't follow
Excerpt: Well, that was a week we could have all done without. As President Obama declared in his legitimately moving speech to what seemed to be the homecoming rally of the Arizona Wildcats, now is a time to re-embrace civility. To that end, now might be a good time to examine the media’s role in this mess. There’s no disputing — nor any surprise — that left-wing activists didn’t need to wait for accurate reporting to jump to conclusions about the “real” culprits in the Tucson massacre. For instance, within minutes of the news hitting the wires, commentator Markos Moulitsas wrote on Twitter, “Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin.” David Brock, the head of a left-wing activist outfit called Media Matters for America, wrote a laughably self-important “open letter” gloating how he had “warned” Fox News about its dangerous rhetoric. Sounding a bit like Dwight Schrute on NBC’s “The Office” penning an urgent letter to the head of the FBI, Brock wrote: “My previous warnings were laughed off and ignored. For the country’s sake, I hope you take them more seriously now.” Of course, activists and pundits play a different role than allegedly straight reporters. And yet, the “mainstream media” seemed to be suffering from the same groupthink. Even as evidence mounted that Jared Lee Loughner was no Tea Partier, was not a Sarah Palin disciple, and didn’t even listen to talk radio or watch cable news, media outlets seemed to tighten their grip on the story they wanted rather than the story they had. At the end of the week MSNBC was still using a graphic for its news coverage showing Loughner’s deranged mug shot along with the text “The Power of Words.” Confirmation bias is a problem for all people and institutions of all ideological stripes, but in this instance it is synonymous with liberal media bias.

Melanie Phillips on Israeli TV
This lady is a true journalist whose investigations and writings have brought down all the ire of the Left and the anti-Israel groups on herself. But she appears to be fearless, and appears here in an interview in Israel, talking in very plain terms about real history, real truth, and the major mistake Israel has made in the decades of conflict with her mortal enemies. Too bad the West is so very, very short of such smart, capable, brave, and professional journalists. –Del

Feds threaten to sue states over union laws
Excerpt: The National Labor Relations Board on Friday threatened to sue Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah over constitutional amendments guaranteeing workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections. The agency's acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the amendments conflict with federal law, which gives employers the option of recognizing a union if a majority of workers sign cards that support unionizing. The amendments, approved Nov. 2, have taken effect in South Dakota and Utah, and will do so soon in Arizona and South Carolina. Business and anti-union groups sought the amendments, arguing that such secrecy is necessary to protect workers against union intimidation. They are concerned that Congress might enact legislation requiring employers to allow the "card check" process for forming unions instead of secret ballot elections. In letters to the attorney general of each state, Solomon says the amendments are pre-empted by the supremacy clause of the Constitution because they conflict with employee rights laid out in the National Labor Relations Act. That clause says that when state and federal laws are at odds, federal law prevails.

"Together We Writhe": Obama Making His Bones on the Bones of the Dead
Excerpt: "Together we writhe" would have been a more appropriate "sloganeering." In what could only be called a new debased low even for the left, the Obama pep rally for the dead seems to have been orchestrated by his community organizing machine, OFA (Organizaing for America).

EU sends out £4.4m diaries to schools which list Muslim, Chinese and Hindu holidays... but miss out Christmas and Easter
Excerpt: The European Union has sent millions of diaries to schools which list the dates of Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Chinese festivals - but omit any mention of Christian celebrations. In an extraordinary move, three million 2011 notebooks were printed at a cost of £4.4million to the taxpayer. Around 350,000 of the diaries have already been shipped to schools in the UK alone. There is no record for Christmas, Easter or Lent - despite bureaucrats carefully listing the EU’s self-styled ‘Europe Day’ on May 9.

Somali women say Islamists becoming more draconian
They’ll just have to suck it up—Islam is now more PC then feminism. They’ll get no support from the US. ~Bob. Excerpt: Women living in areas controlled by Somalia's Islamists say they are increasingly the target of more draconian rules meted out by the rebels bent on enforcing their ideologies. In the latest decree by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group that governs most of southern Somalia, women in the seaside town of Kismayu have been banned from carrying out barter trade with the male crews of ships calling at the port. The women have also been told they cannot shake any male's hands in public, travel on their own, sell anything or work in an office.

Quebec immigration consultant arrested in fraud ring
Big Government invites Big Fraud. ~Bob. Excerpt: The RCMP has arrested a Quebec immigration consultant accused of providing Canadian citizenship documents to hundreds of people in the Middle East so they could collect benefits and tax refunds from Ottawa. Ahmad El-Akhal, 62, was arrested Thursday morning following a 2-1/2-year investigation by the RCMP’s Immigration and Passport and Commercial Crimes sections. His wife was also arrested as well as a suspected accomplice in Mississauga. The alleged fraud ring is accused of securing immigrant status and citizenship for more than 300 residents of Lebanon and other Middle East countries and then helping them bilk the Canadian government of hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Once they received documents this guy would fill out the tax returns and documents to get benefits back in the names of these people,” said RCMP Sgt. Marc LaPorte. “They were getting tax refunds, Goods and Services Tax rebates, child credit tax benefits, so the whole gamut.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad applaud uprising in Tunisia
Excerpt: Because they know that pro-Sharia Islamic supremacists enjoy broad popular support in the Islamic world -- contrary to the Western assumption that they constitute a Tiny Minority of Extremists. "Hamas, Islamic Jihad applaud popular uprising in Tunisia," from Ma'an, January 15: GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Saturday expressed their respect for the Tunisian people, whose uprising led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ban Ali.

U.N. tribunal expected to link Iranian supreme leader Khamenei to Hariri assassination
Excerpt: Look for a reasoned, mature, statesman-like response of hurling conspiratorial allegations about Zionists and the Great Satan, and making threats directly or through proxies like Hizballah, which already attempted to retaliate preemptively and create a diversion by causing the collapse of Lebanon's government. We might also see the end of whatever remaining, token cooperation Iran has maintained with the U.N. over its nuclear program. They will find a way to do less.

Gaza; Hamas Witch Hunt, 150 Arrested In 2010
Excerpt: Hamas leaders are committed to a systematic ''witch hunt'' and 150 women were arrested in 2010 in Gaza for having made recourse to witchcraft of some sort. During a symposium held in recent days in Gaza, it was stated that in the eyes of Hamas, the activities of these women represent a real social danger, also because they risk ''breaking up families,'' causing divorce and frittering away of money. Sometimes their activities also have criminal repercussions. One awareness campaign against ''the witches'' was launched using large posters in mosques, universities and public offices frequented by women. The issue emerged again in August last year when a 62-year-old woman, Jabryieh Abu Ghanas, considered to be active in the field of ''witchcraft'' and the production of ''voodoo dolls'', was shot dead in a street in the centre of Gaza. (How do you negotiate with people who still believe in witches? Send Cotton Mather? ~Bob.)

Ghost of Thanksgiving yet to come
Excerpt: "Winston, come into the dining room, it's time to eat," Julia yelled to her husband. "In a minute, honey, it's a tie score," he answered. Actually Winston wasn't very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington. Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its "unseemly violence" and the "bad example it sets for the rest of the world," Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn't nearly as exciting. Yet wasn't the game that Winston was uninterested in. It was more the thought of eating another TofuTurkey. Even though it was the best type of VeggieMeat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mince-meat pie), it wasn't anything like real turkey. And ever since the government officially changed the name of "Thanksgiving Day" to "A National Day of Atonement" in 2020 to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims' historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Sheep thefts in Britain likely connected to rising global food prices
Excerpt: IN WINDERMERE, ENGLAND The rolling hills of the English Lake District, home to the stories of Peter Rabbit and endless acres of misty farms, seem the last place on Earth for a crime wave. But farmer, beware: Thieves are stalking the puffy white gold of the British countryside…. The culprit? Globalization. The ovine crime wave began, insurance company and farm union officials say, after global food prices started jumping again. With bouts of bad weather in major producers such as Russia, Argentina and Australia and increasing demand in Asia, the price for many grains is now busting through the record highs they set in 2008. But meat prices have also surged, particularly for lamb. (One of the big drivers in food prices is the diversion of corn top taxpayer-subsidized, energy-inefficient ethanol, making Big Green rich and you poor. ~Bob.)

Star Parker: Fighting to restore a culture of life
Excerpt: A campaign that started in Los Angeles this week seeks to raise awareness to what is becoming known as "black genocide" -- the devastation occurring in black America as result of abortion. It's modeled after a highly successful similar campaign conducted in Atlanta earlier this year by Georgia Right to Life and the Radiance Foundation. According to just released data from the Guttmacher Institute, 1.21 million abortions were performed in the United States in 2008. Some 30 percent of these abortions were performed on black women. With blacks accounting for about 12 percent of the U.S. population, the tragic disproportionate rate of abortion in this community is clear. (Suppose the KKK started a fund-raising drive to provide free abortions to poor black women? That would be interesting. ~Bob.)

An ex-Weather Underground radical on the Tucson shootings and political violence
Excerpt: In 1970, when I was 22 years old - the same age as Jared Loughner - I was a founder of the Weather Underground, an offshoot of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society. That spring, a small contingent of the Weathermen, as we were known, planned to plant three pipe bombs at a noncommissioned officers' dance at Fort Dix, N.J. Our intention was to remind our fellow Americans that our country was dropping napalm and other explosives on Vietnam, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. I wasn't among the bombmakers, but I knew what was in the offing, and to my eternal shame, I didn't try to stop it…. At his age, I had thought myself into a similar corner. My willingness to endorse and engage in violence had something to do with an exaggerated sense of my own importance. I wanted to prove myself as a man - a motive exploited by all armies and terrorist groups. I wanted to be a true revolutionary like my guerrilla hero, Ernesto "Che" Guevara. I wanted the chant we used at demonstrations defending the Black Panthers to be more than just words: "The revolution has come/Time to pick up the gun!"

A Congress that reasserts its power
Excerpt: Unlike most of the 111 that preceded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the national regime and civic culture the Founders bequeathed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism. Many congressional Republicans, and surely some Democrats with institutional pride, think Congress is being derogated and marginalized by two developments. One is the apotheosis of the presidency as the mainspring of the government and the custodian of the nation's soul. The second is the growing autonomy of the regulatory state, an apparatus responsive to presidents. The eclipse of Congress by the executive branch and other agencies is Congress's fault. It is the result of lazy legislating and lax oversight. Too many "laws" actually are little more than pious sentiments endorsing social goals - environmental, educational, etc. - the meanings of which are later defined by executive-branch rule-making.

Excerpt: On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that they were surprised by the applause at the memorial pep rally on Wednesday for the victims of the Tucson shootings.
I will say that I read the speech several times and thought that there wouldn’t be a lot of applause if any. I think many of us thought that. But I think there was a celebration, again, of the lives of those who had been impacted. Not just at that grocery store but throughout the country. And I think that, if that is part of the healing process, then that’s a good thing. Oh really? hen why was it printed on the  Jumbotron?

Wow!… Even the Dye Jobs Are Staged

Excerpt: And what’s the first thing you notice — the difference between today and the speech he gave at the memorial? Right. Different color hair. Gray for the memorial, signifying the wise elder, the father figure. Back to dark hair to signify the vigorous young man, ready to forge ahead, solving problems, and restoring his party’s electoral fortunes.

Report: Women should be allowed in combat units
Excerpt: Women should finally be allowed to serve fully in combat, a military advisory panel said Friday in a report seeking to dismantle the last major area of discrimination in the armed forces. he call by a commission of current and retired military officers to let women be front-line fighters could set in motion another sea change in military culture as the armed forces, generations after racial barriers fell, grapples with the phasing out of the ban on gays serving openly. he newest move is being recommended by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, established by Congress two years ago. The panel was to send its proposals to Congress and President Obama. (OK, it's another whack at having effective infantry units. First, even smaller men have trouble with the massive amount of gear they're required to carry in the field today, the women will be definitely worse off. Secondly, the distraction of gender complications is the last thing anyone needs in a front line outfit. The only two forces in WW2 with women in front line units were the Chinese Maoists and the Yugoslav Partisans, and in both cases the women served in all-female companies. Fraternization in the field between men and women was discouraged by an automatic death sentence for both of them. all me a dinosaur, but I think this is another one of the ideology things where the proponents refuse to see any possible complications of what they recommend, it'll all "just work out". Sure, as it did with women on that carrier during the Gulf War, where every rating got pregnant and had to be taken off the ship and replaced by some guy who was back on the beach after his own tour was over. I wonder how long it will take before incidents on submarines and in combat units get into the news. Probably a long time, since nobody is going to want to let such stories get told publicly. –Del. I’m okay with this as long as all members of the “Military Diversity Commission have to serve a 6-month frontline tour in an integrated infantry outfit to prove it works. If they are willing to put other folks butts on the line to prove their theories, why not theirs. That said, I’d take a female Marine next to me any day as opposed to a bed-wetting liberal. ~Bob.)

Is Tunisia the first domino to fall?
Excerpt: If it were only Tunisia, the outside world might be excused for being slow to wake up to the potential consequences of the protests that led to last Friday's sudden ousting of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from the presidency. The convulsion is now being described in terms of a "scenario" to be avoided elsewhere in the Arab world, with commentators looking around the region, notably to Tunisia's eastern neighbour Algeria, where riots over food prices have only just subsided, and towards Egypt, where recent attacks on the Christian Copts raised the spectre of deepening sectarian violence. What is afoot in North Africa, and will it really infect the internal dynamics of other Arab states? On the face of it, the main spark for the Tunisian unrest was high unemployment, particularly among graduates, whereas in Algeria, it was the spike in the prices of cooking oil and sugar. Having reduced the taxes on both, the Algerian government has defused the tension for now, without addressing the underlying pressures of youth unemployment, underinvestment in poorer regions, and its own unaccountability to its citizens.

Early Contenders for Barack Obama's 2012 Campaign
Excerpt: Word broke last month that President Obama will try to be the first candidate to raise $1 billion for his 2012 reelection bid. It may not be quite as easy this time, however, after all of the attacks on "millionaires and billionaires" as well as a long list of once-vibrant industries reduced to begging for scraps from regulators. In the bi-partisan spirit of civility, I figured we could save the president several hundred thousand dollars by coming up with his '12 campaign slogan before he had to pay some public relations agency to do so. Without further ado, here are my suggestions -- and I'm looking for your contributions in the comments!

Don Surber: I do not want civil discourse
Excerpt: For a decade, from the election of Bush 43 forward, the Left has lied and cheated as it tried to return to power. Al Gore made a mockery out of the American electoral system by being a spoilsport over Florida, which Bush indeed won by 537 votes. Dan Rather forged a document to try to derail Bush’s re-election. Twice Democrats stole U.S. senators from the Republicans. After voting to support the war to get by the 2002 election, many Democrats quickly soured on the war. The profane protests were cheered by liberals who misattributed “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” to Thomas Jefferson; the words belong to the late historian Howard Zinn. Once in power, liberals were the opposite of gracious. For two years now, I have been called ignorant, racist, angry and violent by the left. The very foul-mouthed protesters of Bush dare to now label my words as “hate speech.”

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