Sunday, April 10, 2011

Political Digest for April 11, 2011

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.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

Posts while I was traveling: Libya and Oil

Random Thoughts

WOLF: Big government crushes American standard of living
From Obama's cousin, it is claimed. ~Bob. Excerpt: I am happy that Smith-Corona went bankrupt and that Western Union was forced to abandon its old business practices. If the government had bailed out these companies, we’d still be banging out papers on manual typewriters and communicating by telegram. Instead, the typewriter has been relegated to museums (and perhaps a few Birkenstock-wearing, hipster screenwriters’ offices somewhere) and messaging is done over phones that are smarter than the people who keep bailing out failing companies.

Jimmy Carter does Havana
Excerpt: Jimmy Carter earned all this warmth, esteem and joviality from Cuba’s Stalinist rulers by doing everything within his power to dismantle the so-called embargo against them. “The embargo of Cuba is the stupidest law ever passed in the U.S.”, he said in 2002. And yet, as president, Mr. Carter imposed more economic sanctions against more nations than any other American president in modern history. These sanctions were against Chile, Iran, Rhodesia, Nicaragua, South Africa, Paraguay and Uruguay. Mr. Carter was extremely selective in imposing his sanctions - let’s give him that. He was careful to punish only U.S. allies.

The Silence of the Jews by James Lewis
Excerpt: We live in an age of public cowardice. That goes for millions of Americans and Europeans, even in the face of simple PC witch-hunts that don't end up burning or jailing people, but only try to destroy reputations and careers. Human beings have stood up to a lot worse than Political Correctness. But we can't seem to rouse ourselves to oppose it. The liberal bullies keep winning, because most of us just look the other way. Decent people constantly get bashed and bullied by those coneheads at CNN, truly ignorant show-biz airheads, who take it upon themselves to dictate what we, a free people, are allowed to do and say in public. But our constitutional rights of free speech and assembly mean nothing if we do not exercise them. Silence means consent. This is hugely embarrassing. Where is our self-respect? When did we lose our guts? Why did we cede the moral high ground to bullies and moral throwbacks from the ancient desert? Who made up those rules? I didn't. Did you?

Excellent article: What I’ve Learned.
Excerpt: On the last afternoon of my active duty service I met my old man for a drink. We sat in deep couches in a familiar bar and ordered the old fashioned. We first toasted the great naval service of which we had both served, and next the adventure that I had just lived. We sat in that bar for hours and told stories of the great men we knew back then and how I wish the VA would cover the Propecia prescription for my hair loss and finally did what it is a father and a son do after one has come back from war and the other had already been, which is change the subject and talk about mom. And at some point that afternoon, I can’t be sure exactly at which time, I looked at my dad, who had flown three tours in Vietnam and whose one Marine son had fought in Afghanistan and whose other in Iraq, and asked him what he was thinking about just then. He told me he was thinking about life’s chapters and how important it is to recognize when they start and when they finish. He told me to enjoy this moment. And that was all he said.

61% Say Enforcing Immigration Laws Would Cut Poverty
Excerpt: Americans feel more strongly than ever that the lack of immigration law enforcement directly effects poverty in the country. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of Adults say if immigration laws were enforced, there would be less poverty in America. Only 19% disagree with that assessment, while 20% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.) The number of adults who feel there would be less poverty is up 16 points from early July 2007 when only 45% of Americans felt that way. At that time, 32% disagreed.

Misleading Language
Excerpt: It is often assumed that misuse of a concept can change its meaning quite easily, by simple repetition. There are two ways of looking at this. Lenin is quoted as saying “a lie told often enough becomes the truth”, whereas Franklin Roosevelt took a different view when he said “repetition does not transform a lie into a truth”. Although apparently incompatible, each is equally valid in its own way. The Bolshevik view, unfortunately, tends to reflect real human behaviour: if people only hear a single view they tend – at least superficially – to accept it as the truth. But Roosevelt’s more idealistic interpretation is equally well-founded because, although there may be general acceptance of an officially-sanctioned version of the truth, the fundamental reality does not change. Anyone who wants to look at the evidence rather than accept seemingly authoritative statements can discover the underlying truth for themselves. (The problem with the “Roosevelt” view is that not too many people will bother to go looking for the evidence unless they are prompted to do so by some outside force. Everyone tells me the distance from Earth to Sol is about 93,000,000 miles; do I need to research it myself to refine it by a decimal place or two, and would it matter? With Climate Change, the differences being fought over are in the tiny decimal range, parts per million, analogous to a difference in the distance to the Sun of 100 miles or so. How many of us are competent to make sufficiently accurate readings and interpret the results on our own? Most of us end up having little choice but to believe the “experts.” While a few thousand miles nearer or farther from the Sun may not matter much, we’re told the difference of a few tens or hundreds of these parts per million will create disaster; we’re further told the only way to avoid the disaster is to accept political, societal, and financial changes that stagger the imagination. So, tell me what happens if the “experts” start lying or just exaggerating for their own political or financial gain? Ron P. )

Climate models go cold
Excerpt: The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools out of our politicians. Let’s set a few things straight. The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant. (...) In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory — that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters. (From the Australian Financial Post: David Evans consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modelling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. --Ron P.)
Israeli diplomat injured in Ivory Coast during evacuation
Excerpt: An Israeli diplomat was injured while being rescued from the conflict-torn capital of the Ivory Coast over the weekend. A United Nations force, which included Jordanian soldiers with armored personnel carriers, evacuated the Israelis under heavy crossfire. Four Israeli diplomats were in the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan when the already-bloody conflict between backers of president-elect Alassane Ouattara and supporters of incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo exploded.

The Week That Was: 2011-04-09 (April 9, 2011)
Excerpt: In spite of the budget battles, Congress voted on bills to strip from the EPA the questionable power to regulate greenhouse gases to address climate change. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 255 to 172. Two years ago, the House voted to impose regulations on greenhouses gases in the form of cap-and-trade. Clearly, this House is very different than the past one. A similar bill failed in the Senate by a vote of 50-50. Sixty votes would have been necessary to break any filibuster. No doubt similar bills will come back, perhaps in a slightly different form or attached to other legislation. Many advocates of the orthodoxy, including legislative commentators in the press, stated opposition to the bill by falsely claiming it would severely limit the EPA to regulate harmful emissions under the Clean Air Act. Actually, the bill clearly addressed regulation of greenhouse gases (naming them) for climate change only. If the gases are poisonous, they can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Government Shutdown: Who Was to Blame?
Excerpt: The GOP may have been “extreme” for holding Planned Parenthood and the EPA as ideological hostages in the budget negotiation process, but Democratic leaders have not behaved like the civil adults President Obama hoped they would. (Daily Beast is drifting closer to becoming centrist. If they aren’t careful, they’ll find themselves condemned at Huffington Post. Ron P.)

Sarah Palin and the Battle for Feminism
Excerpt: The ex-governor and her Mama Grizzlies argue that the real women’s issue is our country’s fiscal future. Palin has emerged as a favorite of the Tea Partiers, a majority of whom are women. When Sarah Palin took the podium in St. Paul to accept her nomination for the vice presidency in September 2008, calm and collected feminists might have recalled the old saw: Be careful what you wish for. Here she was, an ambitious political woman with the sort of egalitarian marriage that would put the Swedes to shame. Here she was, a charismatic, working-class heroine who oozed folksy provincialism with the naturalness of Lyndon Johnson in the same breath as she cheered her Hillary Clintonesque assault on the “glass ceiling.” Yes, here she was—clinging to her guns, her religion, and her babies, and saying, and apparently believing, all the wrong things.

Grassley says emails suggest ATF blocking Senate gun probe
Excerpt: The Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican, who has questioned whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed suspected gun smugglers to purchase assault rifles that later may have been used in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, wants to know if ATF has ordered its agents not to cooperate in his investigation of the shooting. In a letter Friday to ATF Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson, Sen. Charles E. Grassley said emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act "appear to contain proposed guidance" on how to respond to questions from the senator's office, including instructions that agents were "in no way obligated to respond" and should refer inquiries in the matter to ATF's office of congressional affairs. The Iowa Republican described the emails as "further attempts to prevent direct communications with my office" by telling agents they were "not authorized to disclose non-public information.

Maher: Islam Only Religion That "Kills You When You Disagree With Them"
Excerpt: "There is one religion in the world that kills you when you disagree with them and they say 'look, we are a religion of peace and if you disagree we'll fucking cut your head off,'" Maher said. "And nobody calls them on it -- there are very few people that will call them on it." "It's like if Dad is a violent drunk and beats his kids, you don't blame the kid because he set Dad off. You blame Dad because he's a violent drunk," Maher concluded.

Three Churches Attacked, Egyptian Military Sides With Radical Muslims
Excerpt: In the last two weeks three attacks on churches were undertaken by Salafis or Islamic Fundamentalists in Egypt. The Salafis demanded churches move to locations outside communities and be forbidden from making repairs, "even if they are so dilapidated that the roofs will collapse over the heads of the congregation," says Father Estephanos Shehata of Samalut Coptic Diocese.

Prominent imam killed in Russia's Dagestan
Are you wondering why moderate Muslims don't speak out more often? ~Bob. Excerpt: A prominent imam who discouraged youth from joining Islamic militants has been shot dead in his home in the strife-torn southern Russian republic of Dagestan, news reports said Saturday. Magomed Saiputdinov was slain by automatic gunfire in a nighttime attack near the Chechen-border town of Kizlyar, agencies quoted a spokesman for the local interior ministry as saying. "He was widely known for his uncompromising stand against any forms of violence, condemning the murder of innocent people and other atrocities of the Chechen underground," Interfax quoted a police statement as saying.

The Camelot Cover-up Continues
Excerpt: Unceremoniously cancelled earlier this year by The History Channel as not a good “fit” for “the History brand,” the project was controversial almost from its inception. This had to do completely with the hypersensitivity of a vast array of myth-guardians who stand perpetual watch over the Kennedy family, as well as the career and legacy of America’s 35th President. And these members of the Camelot cabal pretty much wrote the book on branding. I have long been a student of the Kennedy era and I wrote a Master’s thesis on it many years ago while working on my political science degree. And frankly, I have yet to see a scenario or fact presented in the broadcast that has not appeared in the history available at any public library or bookstore. I find myself wondering why the fuss?

The Imperial President at War
Excerpt: Today, we know Obama's idea of "meaningful consultation" with Congress on such matters: First, he goes to war, and then he makes a rude gesture in the direction of Capitol Hill. Consult this, Boehner! In this hypocrisy, I should note, he is indistinguishable from most of his former colleagues in Congress. When their party occupies the White House, they defend the president's absolute right to invade, bomb or strafe any country on Earth. When the other party is in power, they whine and grouse, while doing nothing to impede him.

Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie and Their Pimps
Excerpt: Too much Fed credit encouraged too much building, so prices ballooned past their economic values on the effluvium of degenerating derivatives. Now, we have foreclosures, upside-down homeowners, devalued and disappeared mortgage-makers, failed and failing banks, and a cesspool of phony investment values camouflaged by a carpet of Federal fun dollars now owed by the taxpayers. How come? Because Congress pimped out the home mortgage industry and the Fed financed the business. First, Congress; we'll leave Fed credit faucet Greenspan's enabling for another time. Go back to 1977 and see passage of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) by compassionate legislators using other people's money to help poor folks who couldn't afford to buy homes. Go way back in 1950, and people thought lenders were entitled to repayment and shouldn't lend to folks who couldn't repay. Mortgage lenders demanded good credit for loans in slums where credit was risky and property wasn't worth foreclosing; they outlined those areas on their maps, calling it redlining an area.

Excerpt: Having a blog often provides information and views from readers that can lead to new hypotheses through inductive reasoning. You may remember the Muslim who contacted me the other day and, alluding to the much publicized Koran burning at a Florida church, practically demanded that I support the creation of a US law prohibiting offending the Prophet Mohammed. I went toe to toe with Mahmoud and eventually backed him down, but the entire exchange led me to predict that at some point there would be a major push in our government to prohibit speech “offensive to Muslims.” Here was my evidence:

Key figure in ATF's Gunrunner operation cooperating in congressional inquiry
Excerpt: A key leader in the federal law enforcement operation suspected of allowing high-powered assault weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels is now cooperating with congressional investigators, providing a crucial new window into the controversial operation known as Project Gunrunner. George Gillett Jr., assistant special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' field office in Phoenix, has met with congressional investigators and is expected to provide crucial information about how dozens of U.S. guns may have been transported with the ATF's knowledge into Mexico. Agents say Gillett provided much of the day-to-day oversight of the Gunrunner operation. Two guns involved in the operation were found at the scene of a shootout in southern Arizona in December in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Brian Terry was killed, prompting at least three inquiries on Capitol Hill.

House approves legislation to repeal FCC net neutrality regulations
Excerpt: The House of Representatives voted Friday afternoon to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations. The Republican-supported legislation passed by a vote of 240-179, with six Democrats and two Republicans bucking their parties. (It should be absurd to have to "repeal" regulations that have no legal basis for existing in the first place, but that's what we've come to, even though Congress specifically exempted the Internet from the FCC's authority. Beancounters continuously push the envelope of their delegated authority because they get away with it so often. When will we Americans simply realize we're all just beans awaiting counting? Or maybe they think we're mushrooms to be kept in the dark and fed manure. Ron P.)

James Delingpole beats a Press Complaint from UEA
Excerpt: James Delingpole (The Telegraph, Spectator) is one of only a few MSM journalists to persistently criticise the science and politics of man-made global warming in the UK not just after the climategate emails (he was the first in the UK – 20th November 2009) but for a long time prior to the leak from CRU at the University of East Anglia. His blog post on the Press Complaints appears here I imagine that UEA may now be regretting making these complaints to the Press Complaints Commission, as it is now officially upheld in James Delingpole’s and the Telegraphs favour, with the reasons visible to any other journalist that may take an interest (my bold). (...) The threat of, or taking legal action against critics of ‘climate science’ does appear to be on the rise, this is a concern as few bloggers have any means to defend themselves legally. (James Delingpole’s columns are often abrasive and outspoken. They are also usually accurate. Our MSM here in the USA needs someone like him, but wouldn’t dare. Ron P.)

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear saga – 2 to 9 April overview
Excerpt: The nuclear crisis at Fukushima Daiichi has, alas, now evolved into more of a saga. The last seven days of events has been acted out in slow motion compared to the first dramatic week (dating back to almost a month ago), but there continues to be plenty of headaches for TEPCO — and no clear sign of things being locked down any time soon. The economic cost of the earthquake and tsunami has now been put at ~$300 billion, and will probably rise further in the coming months.

Debt and Shutdown Threats Are Not All that Ails the Dollar
Excerpt: Yet however this works out, the principal cause of the declining dollar is not a threatened government shutdown and the debt worries behind it. It’s the excess money creation of the Fed, which is falling further and further behind the international curve of currency stability. While Bernanke & Co. have increased the adjusted monetary base by about $500 billion since late December, other central banks have been tightening policy in order to stabilize their currencies and fight inflation.

Budget Wars: The Sequel (UPDATED)
Excerpt: …I began to wonder if there might not be a better way for the GOP to package their proposals in a manner more palatable to America as a whole and the Democrats in Congress in particular. Of the various arguments I’d heard, particularly from more libertarian leaning friends, one was rather compelling. “Where,” they asked, “were the corresponding cuts to programs near and dear to the hearts of conservatives? Doesn’t this approach paint the Republicans as unserious on the matter of fiscal restraint? Are they only using the budget crisis as a ploy to promote their insidious social conservative agenda?” (…) When my chance came to ask, Senator Thune didn’t miss a beat. Rather than offering a list of “conservative” spending items facing the ax or an explanation of why we shouldn’t do that, he pointed to an entirely different reason. The vast majority of discretionary spending items such as these are only allotted to programs which are part of the liberal agenda. There wasn’t much to cut by way of conservative programs, he said, because conservatives simply don’t like spending money that way.

Excerpt: In Wisconsin government, there seems to be a problem with pro-union politics interfering with job responsibilities as public servants. First it was police union members urging protesters to defy the Governor and legislature when it came to the takeover of the State Capitol. Then it was the Dane County Sheriff declaring that his officers would not act as "palace guards" at the Capitol. Now it turns out that an Assistant Attorney General in the Wisconsin Department of Justice, who was considered an expert on the Open Meetings Law which is at issue in the lawsuit challenging the budget repair bill, secretly was offering legal advice to the 14 Democratic Senators who fled the state. As reported at Wisconsin Politics: State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) released an e-mail from Assistant Attorney General Thomas Bellavia that raises serious ethical and legal doubt on the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s ability to defend the enactment of the Budget Repair Bill and the Open Meetings Law Case in Dane County. The e-mail from a senior member of the Wisconsin Department Justice shared sensitive legal advice with fleeing Senate Democrats that he may have obtained as a part of his duties for the department.

Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive / 'Hezbollah expected to launch 100 missiles a day at Tel Aviv'
Excerpt: Israel expects the next war against Hezbollah will last two months, during which 24,000 to 36,000 rockets and missiles are expected to be launched at Israel − about 6,000 of them aimed at Tel Aviv, Wikileaks documents reveal. Telegrams sent from the U.S. Embassy summing up talks between American and Israeli officials in November 2009 cite a Mossad official as saying Hezbollah is expected to launch 400-600 missiles at Israel a day − 100 of which will be aimed at Tel Aviv, over the course of two months.

U.K.: Authorities cover up "Asian" targeting of underage girls for sexual exploitation for fear of appearing "racist"
Excerpt: Where are Britain's feminists? Of course, as we know, multiculturalism and above all, the fear of "racism" and "Islamophobia" trump feminism in the odd "rock-paper-scissors" game of fashionable left-wing causes. Buried in this story is the statistic that "out of 56 men convicted of multiple offences of grooming girls for sex, 50 were Muslim, mostly of Pakistani heritage." That points to two factors that must not be named in the mainstream press. One Islam's treatment of women as possessions: Qur'an 4:34 says "Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other. Good women are obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded..." The last sentence above partially sets up the second factor. These predators seem inclined to believe that since the girls are not cooped up at home, they are "asking for it." Lastly, there is the treatment of infidels as lesser, as disposable trash on account of being unbelievers -- the "vilest of creatures," according to Qur'an 98:6. How many of the victims are Muslim girls? How many are non-Muslim?

How TV Islamic extremist who hates Britain enjoys £1,250-a-month benefits and rent-free luxury flat
Excerpt: A middle-class security guard who converted to Islam to preach hate towards Britain lives in a £1,000 tax-payer-funded luxury flat, it emerged today. Rich Dart, 28, worked for the BBC before he became a Muslim and changed his name to Salahuddin to brand British troops 'murderers' and peddle Muslim extremism. But he has been branded a 'hypocrite' after it emerged that he takes benefits off the same state he claims to despise

First, Do No Harm in the Middle East
Excerpt: At some point, the Obama administration is going to recognize a simple paradox that has been apparent to almost everyone but them: In theory, those pro-American autocratic regimes that are tottering or gone (the Gulf States, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, etc.) should have been more amenable to gradual progressive change. They did not exercise so savage a degree of control as was the norm elsewhere in the Middle East. In matters of religious fundamentalism and intolerance, they were sometimes more reasonable than their own populaces. They were less likely to foment unrest in the region at large, seek to acquire WMD, or harbor terrorists. In contrast, totalitarian autocratic regimes that are anti-American (Libya, Syria, Iran, etc.) are far crueler — and far less likely to fall, given their readiness to use unlimited violence against their own. They were often more rabid in their ideologies than their own populations, and far more likely to foment unrest in the region at large, etc. Given that paradox, it seems like it would have been a viable policy for the U.S. to gently urge change in the former nations while avoiding calls for their abrupt collapse, and openly support dissidents in the latter nations while communicating a clear, though private caveat that, with a $1.6 trillion deficit and two large commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq, we could not readily provide direct military support and so rebels should not be misled into attempting revolutions that could only succeed with our sizable intervention.

Group Says Spies Have Found Secret Iranian Nuclear Facility
Excerpt: Though Fox News cannot independently confirm the facility or Iran’s intention for it, Jafarzadeh and his group are leading sources on the Islamic state’s activities. “This site is one of the secret centers affiliated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and plays a significant role in producing centrifuge parts and advancing the secret portions of the Iranian regime's nuclear program,” the report says. “Over the course of the past four-and-a-half years, parts for tens of thousands of centrifuges have been manufactured at this site and secretly relocated....” (Most reports put the number of centrifuges needed to support a civilian nuclear program at between 300 and 600 per operating reactor. Iran has been running at least 3000 centrifuges for the past four years, has ordered at least 6000 more, and has yet to begin operating any reactors at all (God bless Stuxnet!). The Iranian scientists have been working like Saruman’s Orcs to build missiles capable of throwing a large payload distances greater than 400 miles, and claim to have achieved launching at least one orbital object (keep in mind that an object in orbit can be returned to Earth virtually anywhere on the planet’s surface). We further know they are seeking to buy a reliable system of detonating a warhead at an altitude of 600 meters (a little under 2000 feet). Can you think of any explosives that would be effective against a military target at that distance? I can only think of one. Isn’t that about the height of the explosions of Little Boy and Fat Man? The Iranians are a clear and present danger to us, our allies, their neighbors, and the stability of the entire world. And, we just wring our hands and cry “Oh, woe is us.” We aren’t even supporting the Greens. While financial problems may destroy the USA in the long run, if the Iranians get their way, there won’t BE a long run. Ron P.)

Dem Congressman To Veteran At Town Hall: "Time To Sit Down"

Most Illegal Immigrant Families Collect Welfare
Excerpt: Surprise, surprise; Census Bureau data reveals that most U.S. families headed by illegal immigrants use taxpayer-funded welfare programs on behalf of their American-born anchor babies. Even before the recession, immigrant households with children used welfare programs at consistently higher rates than natives, according to the extensive census data collected and analyzed by a nonpartisan Washington D.C. group dedicated to researching legal and illegal immigration in the U.S. The results, published this month in a lengthy report, are hardly surprising. Basically, the majority of households across the country benefitting from publicly-funded welfare programs are headed by immigrants, both legal and illegal. States where immigrant households with children have the highest welfare use rates are Arizona (62%), Texas, California and New York with 61% each and Pennsylvania (59%).

Lessons about nuclear energy from the Japanese quake and tsunami
Excerpt: Early media concentration on the nuclear plant at Fukushima Daiichi created a great sense of fear in people around the world. Reporting was distorted by both exaggeration and omission, focusing more on the reactors than on the quake and tsunami that killed over 20,000 people according to recent Japanese government estimates. Media reports still contain phrases like “222 times higher than the legal limit,” “higher than normal,” “radiation found in the water,” all of which are meaningless without comparisons that permit us to evaluate their significance. The patchwork of “experts” who were interviewed to explain the events, each with her/his own particular knowledge and set of interests, added to the confusion instead of replacing it with a sense of proportion. An example of omission is the absence of follow-up on the oil refinery fire at Chiba, about 20-30 miles east of Tokyo and over 100 miles south of Fukushima. In fact, it killed 12 workers and required 10 days to put out the fire, which spewed toxic smoke and chemicals far and wide, as well as CO2 into the atmosphere that adds to global warming, and resulted in unknown numbers of latent cancers, heart attacks, asthma, and deaths. Yet once TV images of the flames, falsely linked through association with the nuclear reactors, lost their usefulness, they disappeared from sight. (About two weeks ago, Ann Coulter took a lot of heat for mentioning the possibility that low doses of radiation might, just possibly, be beneficial to humans. See sections #3 and #4 of this article. Once again, keep in mind these folks are true believers in AGW, and not entirely thrilled with capitalism, either. While their politics may be questionable, their science seems sound. Ron P.)

The illegal immigrant dilemma
Excerpt: It was quite a scene on Saturday at Lawrence High School as a group of Marlborough area residents traveled north to attend a public hearing hosted by the governor’s office. The subject was a proposed federal public safety initiative called Secure Communities (S-Com). The program is intended to improve communication between local and federal law enforcement to assure that illegal aliens who have committed serious crimes are deported. Much can be said about the tone of the meeting, the behavior of those in attendance and the logic and morality of the positions expressed. (This article by the publisher starts as straight news, then morphs into a very good editorial that asks some tough questions of all sides. Ron P.)

The Democrats' Friends 'n Fat Cats Protection Plan
Excerpt: In a little-noticed report released late last week, FHFA Inspector General Steve Linick wrote: "F.H.F.A. has a responsibility to Congress and taxpayers to efficiently, consistently and reliably ensure that the compensation paid to Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's senior executives is reasonable. This is especially true when you realize that the U.S. Treasury has invested close to $154 billion to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." The "U.S. Treasury" equals taxpayers, of course. And the "investment" has been a futile bailout that may reach nearly $400 billion if the plug isn't pulled. Linick found an appalling "lack of standardized evaluation criteria, documentation of management procedures and internal controls" over the Fannie/Freddie fat cats' salaries.

Obama’s New Energy Policy: A Lesson in Stealth Socialism
Excerpt: One might initially be tempted to see this as… the adoption of new, rational policies to lower energy prices for Americans, but it is no such thing. In Clintonian fashion, it depends on what the meaning of “boost” is, but this is primarily one of the oldest cons in the book: bait-and-switch. Mr. Obama, as I’ve previously argued in these pages, is provably a socialist, but a particularly American kind: a stealth socialist. Stealth socialism is a matter of tactics. Stealth socialists, recognizing that an open Marxist agenda will never fly with the American people, adopt a patient, long-term strategy whereby they attain the same goals but through misrepresentation, misdirection, lies, and bait-and-switch. These are, coincidentally, the tactics of the con man. Having been a community organizer, Mr. Obama is particularly adept at these tactics and with the use of the primary vehicle for their implementation: rhetoric.

Excerpt: On Sunday, Malta released the last of five Iranian ships it had seized on a tip from the German police. Maltese authorities said the vessels were carrying "unauthorized cargo," a euphemism for weapons, in violation of four UN Security Council resolutions.

Libyan Rebel Commander: ‘Cut Gaddafi’s Throat, Then Establish an Islamic State’
Excerpt: “The Jihadists Go to the Front.” This is the title of French journalist Julien Fouchet’s report from eastern Libya that appears in the latest edition of the French Sunday paper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD). Whereas American officials have been straining to make out “flickers” of intelligence suggesting a jihadist influence in the eastern Libyan rebellion against the rule of Muammar al-Gaddafi, Fouchet encountered a flagrant jihadist presence and met with participants who talked openly about their dedication to jihad and/or their desire to establish an Islamic state.

Diversity Perversity
Excerpt: Part of looking like America means if blacks are 13 percent of the population, they should be 13 percent of college students and professors, corporate managers and government employees. Behind this vision of justice is the silly notion that but for the fact of discrimination, we'd be distributed equally by race across incomes, education, occupations and other outcomes. There is absolutely no evidence that statistical proportionality is the norm anywhere on Earth; however, much of our thinking, laws and public policy is based upon proportionality being the norm. Let's look at some racial differences whilst thinking about their causes and possible remedies.

Lampedusa Church Burned by North African Migrants
Excerpt: The Voice of Russia reports that 36 so-called North African ‘refugees’ (i.e. Muslim economic migrants) on the island of Lampedusa repaid a parish priest for his kindness by setting light to his church. Prior to this ungracious act of arson, they had been accommodated in it. Why are any of these people allowed into European nations? Shouldn’t our armed forces be protecting us from them, instead of helping them to land in EU member states?
Puerto Rico’s miracle man
Excerpt: Former member, U.S. House of Representatives; currently governor; holder of a law degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s from Georgetown; Reagan Republican; 50 years old. With credentials like these, one might conclude quickly I am referring to one of America’s higher-profile 2012 Republican presidential contenders. No; at least not yet. The man described by the above resume is the energetic and telegenic Luis Fortuño, currently in the middle of his first four-year term as Puerto Rico’s chief executive. Although Fortuño is still largely unknown outside Puerto Rico, the phenomenal successes he already has achieved to bring the island’s previously sour economy back to life, is certain to raise his reputation and his image nationally – as well it should. Government leaders from President Obama and Speaker John Boehner on down would serve themselves — and the people they represent — well to study and learn from what Fortuño has done in just his first biennium in office. 

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